Giving a Voice to Your Community With Keren Barrios

Keren Barrios Keren Barrios is a Managing Partner of I&I Law, specializing in immigration and injury law. She founded the firm in 2014 with her husband, Jorge Virgüez, and they have averaged 100% growth each year since then. With offices in Duluth and Augusta, Georgia, Keren and Jorge are on a mission to help vulnerable individuals and provide guidance through some of the most complex areas of law.

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Here’s a glimpse of what you’ll learn:

  • Keren Barrios discusses the traumatic experience that inspired her to become a lawyer
  • How Keren began her legal career and started I&I Law
  • What factors play into I&I Law’s growth each year?
  • Keren shares the lessons she learned from Luis Scott and her favorite stories from her career

In this episode…

How can a law firm see growth and success year after year? For Keren Barrios’ firm, it’s all about using passion to serve your community.

After enduring a traumatic event in her childhood and taking the stand in court, Keren decided that she wanted to begin a career in the legal field. Her mission was to give a voice to the voiceless and fight for the rights of her fellow community members, just as her prosecuting attorney did for her. Currently, Keren is growing her firm by almost 100% each year and providing much-deserved wins for clients. How does she do it? According to Keren, it’s due to her passion behind the work and her ability to foster deep connections with clients.

In this episode of The Guts and Glory Show, Chad Franzen talks with Keren Barrios, Managing Partner at I&I Law, about building an impactful firm. Keren shares the story that fuels her passion for law, her favorite client success cases, and why a strong support system is vital for a growing business.

Resources mentioned in this episode:

Sponsor for this episode…

This episode is brought to you by 8 Figure Firm.

Co-founded by Luis Scott and Seth Bader of Bader Scott Injury Lawyers, 8 Figure Firm helps transform your law firm into a 7-figure or even 8-figure firm.

After their own law firm scaled from $3.5 million in revenues to $30 million per year in revenues in just two years, Luis and Seth started the 8 Figure Firm to share their strategies and help other law firms achieve exponential growth.

Visit www.8figurefirm.com to receive a consult call and start scaling your business today.

Episode Transcript

Luis Scott  0:00  

I’m Luis Scott, Managing Partner of Bader Scott Injury Lawyers, one of the fastest growing law firms in the country. And I’m also the co founder of 8 Figure Firm Consulting. I’ve successfully built multiple companies by focusing on leadership, operations and culture. Using these principles, my companies have generated close to $100 million in revenue. But before any of this success, I started my legal career as a receptionist, and I worked my way up to becoming managing partner. And each episode of this podcast I sit down with leaders and entrepreneurs who have had the guts to step out on their own and the courage to face adversity. They share with us their tips for achievement, the challenges they have faced and the glory of success. I welcome you to The Guts and Glory Show.

Chad Franzen  0:46  

Chad Franzen here, one of the hosts of The Guts and Glory Show. We feature top leaders who share challenges in leadership, the guts it takes to succeed, and the glory of success. This episode is brought to you by 8 Figure Firm Consulting. At 8 Figure Firm they help law firms grow to eight figures. Luis Scott was telling me when he started his career he was working over 80 hours a week to make partner after that he finally started his own firm and wished he had someone walking him through all the steps to growth. At 8 Figure Firm. They show you how to develop a business that works for you instead of you working for it. Go to 8figurefirm.com to learn more. That’s at the number 8figurefirm.com. Today we have Keren Barrios, managing partner and Attorney at I&I Law specializing in immigration and injury. She founded the firm with her husband Jorge Virgüez in 2014. And they have averaged 100% growth each year ever since. They have two offices in Georgia, which include four attorneys and 22 employees. Keren, thank you so much for joining me today.

Keren Barrios  1:43

How are you? Good. How are you? Thanks for having me, Chad.

Chad Franzen  1:47  

Great. Thank you. Hey, so tell me a little bit more about I&I Law, and what you guys do and the types of clients that you serve.

Keren Barrios  1:55  

So like you said, We founded it with my husband. So we do work together, and we’re happily doing so. And we serve our immigration, you know, community. So a lot of our Latino people that come here want to make the United States their home. So we serve those and we also are growing rapidly in the injury side of things. So we you know, we help people after a car accident, unfortunately, we do get involved in wrongful deaths. And it’s very sad to do so. But we are happy to help them through the process. So you know, that’s kind of who we are serving currently. And, yeah, we’re excited to do so.

Chad Franzen  2:37  

At what point in your life did you know that you wanted to become a lawyer.

Keren Barrios  2:43  

Very early on Chad. So it’s around 11 years old. And I do have a unique story. So I’m from Guatemala, and I was kidnapped at the age of 10 years old for 13 days, I was rescued by the cops. So it’s like a movie. And they were able to apprehend some of the people involved in my kidnapping. So at the age of 11, a year later, after being rescued, I had to go to trial. And I had to, you know, in our countries, they don’t treat you like children, they treat you like adults. So I had to take the stand, I had to do the whole thing. And the prosecutor makes such a huge impact in my life. Like he changed the way I view life. And how he took care of my case and gave me a voice that to me that day, as a day decided to become a lawyer.

Chad Franzen  3:34  

Wow, that is that is a very unique story. What was it about the front of the prosecutor, I mean, obviously, that you can remember as a 10 year old that made such an impact on you.

Keren Barrios  3:44  

I think the power he had to fight for my rights. Um, you know, I can be my voice and really fighting for my best interest that really impacted me and I. And I think he took on the case and knowing that he was very emotionally involved, because he had a daughter exactly my age. And he told me, he’s like, I will fight like you’re my daughter. And that connection to me the fact that now I can be a voice to those that don’t know, some of them don’t even know they have a voice right? And the passion that I do it with, I really get connected to that one like that 11 year old girl every time I take on a case that I have to fight for right? And it has really changed my life.

Chad Franzen  4:28  

So so at that age, you decided you wanted to become a lawyer. How did how did you start your kind of journey in the legal industry?

Keren Barrios  4:36  

Okay, so I also have a unique story. So I graduated at the age of 16 from high school. And right away I went to undergrad so I did criminal justice, my undergrad and I went straight to law school so they just 24 hours already a lawyer. So I started pretty early on I did work in some law firms for a while. Were in law school and my undergrad. So very quickly, I guess you could say I started my legal career.

Chad Franzen  5:07  

And then how did I&I Law come about or what was once known as Barrios and Virgüez. How did you get out of that kind of kind of come about?

Keren Barrios  5:14  

Yeah. So I met my husband Jorge in law school, second year law school. And you know, we both hustled, we were both going to law school and work in in different law firms. So, you know, we, we had a very good understanding about immigration and how it worked. Obviously, our families went through it, right. So we kind of really understood, so when we graduated law school, we, you know, have those horrible three months that you don’t know whether you pass the bar or not. So we worked, you know, during this time, and we ended up both passing the bar, we’re like, oh, my gosh, we did it, you know, and we went to a few interviews, to be honest with you chat, and it was just weird. They were like, hey, we want you to open the immigration branch of the firm. And we’re like, okay, you know, and they’re like, but you know, you only get a cut of it, you only get like, I think 30% of it or 25% of what you’re bringing in and I had a hustle on Earth. And then Jorge, and I were like, you know, what, why don’t we do it for ourselves? Why don’t we open our own law firm? It was. thing I didn’t work out chat, because we were dating, when we opened the law firm. And But quickly, we got engaged. And like you said, you know, it’s been great. We’ve grown at almost 100% each year. And since then we’ve we’ve been opened. So it’s been a blessing.

Chad Franzen  6:34  

Is there something business wise, that you would say has been maybe the key to your 100% growth each year?

Keren Barrios  6:43  

I, it’s a lot of factors. Chad. I mean, I think when businesses grow, you can’t just say this was it, it was like a mix of things. And how it saved for Jorge and I, we really take this on as a passion, right? Like, especially, you know, with my background and our background of both immigrants, uh, we really serve people with a passion. So our connection to people is very deep. And we ended up getting referrals. But also, I do believe having people who have done it guide you along the way, it’s a great, it’s a must, I think, if you want to grow faster, because they’re teaching you what they’ve been through, right, and you kind of get there faster. And so I think having people around you that are that have done it that are doing it, it’s great.

Chad Franzen  7:34  

We’ll talk about that a little bit more coming up. But first, can you tell me a favorite story that you can think of? During your time there?

Keren Barrios  7:41  

Yeah, I mean, um, so, you know, there was early on in our careers. A lady came for a consultation, and she was freaking out because she had a, a no driver’s license charge, you know, and she was like, immigrations, gonna come get me. And, you know, she was there for the consultation. And, you know, talking to her to her, we started noticing that she she was limping greatly. She She limp. And we were like, what happened? And she starts saying, Well, I was in a car accident, but I’m very afraid. immigrations gonna come get me. Right. She had two little girls in the room with her. And I said, Okay, hold on, you know, we’re here to help you. We’re here to take care of you. So we figured out, hey, yes, you know, we’re gonna go to court with you, nothing’s gonna happen, you’ll be fine. But then as we started talking, we realized that she had an injury case, like a Pei case, and she didn’t even know existed, because in our countries, that doesn’t exist, you take care of your bills. And that’s it, right. And she was like, really an SSDI you have a case. And, you know, she ended up having a fracture, a hip, the Gen and taking care of for two weeks, and we took care of her whole bills. And then at the end, she walked with almost a check with six figures and she it changed her life completely. This woman didn’t even have to eat some time. So those moments are amazing when you were the one that guided somebody to have an amazing end result was just great.

Chad Franzen  9:05  

Sure, absolutely. So how did you I’d love to talk about more about the lessons learned and your practice journey. Can you tell me how you discovered 8 Figure Firm and Luis Scott.

Keren Barrios  9:16  

So Luis, so I know Luis Scott since before I think he became a lawyer. So I met him in law school. And you know, one day we had graduated both of us, I mean, him and I already have the firm. He said, Hey, I love to to eat lunch with you guys. You know, we’re all lawyers like it. Let’s get together. So we just started having kind of like a friendship. Or had him click, they both play baseball in college. So you know, it was great. And you know, we got closer closer and once he decided to do a figure firm with joint

Chad Franzen  9:53  

are there some lessons that you’ve learned from Luis?

Keren Barrios  9:57  

Oh, yeah, I mean, He’s just amazing and operations. And I think, you know, you were asking me what makes a business, bro? It’s a lot of things, but one of them is how you really run the business operational, right. And as as lawyers, sometimes we don’t have that background, a lot of times we don’t have that background, right. So I think he’s just his knowledge of the operational side of a law firm is just great.

Chad Franzen  10:27  

So what kinds of things did he teach you? I know, you said, You guys had both graduated law school years kind of starting your careers as attorneys, you, you interviewed with firms, then you’re like, well, we don’t need to start a new thing for their firm, we could just start our own firm. But then, you know, so you’re both skilled attorneys, you’re ready to go as far as lawyers? What are some things that Luis kind of helped you with to to allow you to run the business? Beyond just lawyers?

Keren Barrios  10:52  

Yeah, I mean, I think like I said, it’s the whole operational background understanding that everything has, you know, way of going about it, like your numbers, like your marketing, I think he’s such an aggressive person for growth, right. And he teaches you to be that way. Like, don’t be afraid, just just market invest, and you’ll see the return. And I think as as, you know, business owners, and also lawyers, we are always trying to avoid risk. That’s what we were taught in law school. Right. So I think having someone and seeing someone that’s done it, right. And I think that’s, that’s why I respect them a lot in the sense of like, they’ve done it, and it’s easier to follow it away. You’re like, okay, you know, if they’re doing it, I can do it, too. So it’s good.

Chad Franzen  11:42  

Sure. And you’ve used him ever since you guys opened? No. So

Keren Barrios  11:47  

um, I believe 8 Figure Firm was established last year. So we just joined last year.

Chad Franzen  11:53  

So is there anything that he’s done for you? That’s kind of changed things prior to last year?

Keren Barrios  11:59  

Yeah, like, knowing your numbers like crazy, especially for the injury side, he just knows, like, how to run the whole game in the sense. And then the marketing, the aggressive marketing point of view, for sure.

Chad Franzen  12:15  

Since this is The Guts and Glory Show, what is one gut story where you kind of had to overcome something and a glorious story that we should share?

Keren Barrios  12:23  

Yeah, so like I previously said, I’m from Guatemala City. So I ended up working with the Waterman consulate as a legal representative. And one day, I got a phone call, I’m notifying the person have passed away, and we had to notify the family. So, you know, it was a horrible moment when I had to call wife and, you know, to tell her Hey, your husband passed away, right? Um, but as I kept digging into the, the situation, I noticed that she had a, a claim against this company, right. And so I called her back a few weeks later, and I said, Hey, you know, I believe you have a case and who have something to go against this, this company. So she said, Oh, you know, very uneducated, she’s like, whatever you say, I’ll follow I trust you. And to make story short, I mean, it took about a year, but the Lady nups, a millionaire in her country, and we changed her life and her child’s life, because she, he he had a nine year old. And that to me, I mean, made so much worth like me taking this career on the day that I called her and I said, You, we just changed your life. And she didn’t even know she didn’t even know she had a claim. So those are amazing stories for me.

Chad Franzen  13:42  

Yeah, absolutely. You said it took about a year. Can you kind of take me through maybe some ups and downs that during the course of that year, where you maybe thought like, Oh, we’re screwed or, or this?

Keren Barrios  13:53  

Yeah. So they first started completely denying the claim saying no, like, he didn’t even work here. I mean, it was like a lot of obstacles that we had to fight. So they completely denied the claim. Then we had to fight and fight and fight. So they accepted the claim. And then later on, obviously negotiated they want to lowball a whole bunch, because they know the ladies here, right? So you know, but no, we fight for the maximum and we got the maximum and the lady. I mean, that phone call was amazing. She said are screaming crying. She didn’t even have like a place to live. Right. She didn’t have a bad and yeah, we changed her life. So that’s amazing.

Chad Franzen  14:35  

Yeah, that is that’s that is absolutely amazing. Well, hey, thank you so much for your time today. Keren. It’s been a real treat having you on we’ve been talking with Keren Barrios managing partner and attorney at I&I Where can people find out more about you?

Keren Barrios  14:48  

Yeah, you can go to immigrationinjurylaw.com or look us up and Facebook or Instagram as I&I Law.

Chad Franzen  14:56  

Okay, last question for you. What do you think are some actions stuff that people who are looking to kind of start their own firm should take right away.

Keren Barrios  15:04  

Yeah, I mean, like I said, really find people around you or you know coaching. Because you need it. You’ll your encounter things they we don’t know sometimes how to deal with it and the more you grow, the more you you learn. So obviously find people around you that can guide you. And good luck.

Chad Franzen  15:27  

Perfect. Perfect. Thank you so much, Keren. It’s been a real pleasure to speak with you.

Keren Barrios  15:31  

Thank you, Chad. Appreciate it.

Chad Franzen  15:33  

So long, everybody.

Outro  15:36  

You’ve been listening to The Guts and Glory Show with Luis Scott. If you enjoyed the show, be sure to share. For more information on this episode, please see the show notes at www.GutsandGloryshow.com And join us next time as we talk to another leader in business that had the guts to overcome all odds for the glory of success.