Betty Lugo was hunched over her Philosophy of Law textbook, and kept reading the same line over and over. She looked up and noticed that her study partner, Carmen Pacheco, had put down her book and was doodling in her notebook. The students were in Pacheco’s mother’s kitchen.
“I asker Carmen what she was doing,” says Lugo, recalling that fateful afternoon in 1980. “She told me, ‘I’m drawing our building. One day we’re going to have our own law firm. It will have a beautiful atrium, and we’ll have all these clients. You’ll see.’ I smiled and told her, ‘Yes, Carmen, but right now, we have to study!'”
Pacheco was right. The young women grew up to become two high-powered Wall Street attorneys, and later the founders of the first Hispanic-women owned lay firm in New York, Pacheco & Lugo PPLC.
Thought Lugo comes before Pacheco alphabetically, they name the firm Pacheco & Lugo so that the firm acronym spells PAL. Friendship has been a strong foundation for their partnership.
Celebrating their 20-year anniversary in 2012, Pacheco & Lugo has a longstanding legacy of providing quality and cost-efficient legal services to a variety of companies, governmental entities and individuals.
The partners’ first office was a 2,300-square-foot corner office with a view of the East River in the World Trade Center. In fact, the attorneys were in the building during the 1993 terrorist attack. The partners recall climbing staircase after staircase, saving many lives. “In a life and death situation, you really learn about a person,” Lugo reflects. “I know that my business partner and I both have a level of integrity. We are dedicated and will not abandon our commitments or relationships.”
Finding elusive work life balance is a challenge for many business owners, and this was certainly true for Pacheco and Lugo. When the partners first started, they would work 48 hours straight even if they had to sleep at the office.
The partners have blended the worlds of family life and business. Pacheco’s mother, a retired professor with two masters’ degrees, comes to the office on a daily basis to volunteer. Pacheco’s niece also works in the office.
It’s a beautiful feeling to be able to come to work and get a hug and kiss from my mother every single day,” Pacheco says.
Like Pacheco and Lugo, Maria Zendejas knew that she wanted to include family in her business. Originally from Michoacan, Mexico, the successful real estate expert opened Realty World Golden Era in Ventura County, Calif. in 2006.
Today, both of her daughters work with her at the company. Lupe is the broker for the office, and Belen is a realtor.
Ashley Cisneros is a co-founder of Chatter Buzz Media, an Orlando Internet marketing firm that helps companies and organizations engage with their target markets through inbound marketing via the Internet. Chatter Buzz Media, which won the Social Madness competition for the Orlando small business market, is a full-service digital marketing firm specializing in website design, search engine optimization (SEO), social media marketing and content creation. Prior to founding Chatter Buzz, Ashley worked as a newspaper reporter, magazine editor, technical writer, marketing manager, public relations practitioner and freelance journalist. To see Ashley’s content writing, visit www.ashleycisneros.com. You can also reach Ashley on her Google profile.