Global immigration law firm BAL, which helps businesses and individuals navigate complex immigration issues, has appointed Frieda Garcia as the first woman and Latina to serve in the role of managing partner in the firm’s 43-year history.
It’s a significant achievement for Garcia and BAL, as the National Association for Law Placement reports Black and Hispanic women are the most underrepresented in partner ranks, and in 2022, Latina women accounted for less than 1% of all law partners.
BAL, which is based in Dallas and San Francisco, said Garcia oversees all aspects of its legal operations and ensures that teams across the firm’s 12 offices are working together seamlessly to deliver best-in-class immigration services while building on the firm’s oneBAL culture.
“For over two decades, Frieda has been a distinguished leader and mentor at BAL, and she has truly exemplified our commitment to pursue the exceptional,” BAL Chief Executive Officer Jeremy Fudge said in a statement. “Frieda’s strong character, incredible legal acumen, steady presence and grace will enable BAL to continue to make a positive difference in people’s lives.”
Contributing to the firm’s growth and culture
BAL said Garcia continues to lead efforts to attract new clients and deliver exceptional service to the firm’s clients.
Now in her new role, Garcia eyes the horizon with hopes of inspiring others, aiming to carry forward BAL’s longstanding legacy.
“This achievement is a significant personal and professional milestone for me. I knew early on that the foundation of the open-door policy set by BAL’s s founding partners would allow me to grow and shine as long as I kept asking questions, raising my hand to help manage complex issues, and finding creative ways to enhance our firm’s culture,” Garcia said in a statement.
The new managing director says her journey to the position was defined by “cultivating meaningful relationships, hard work and sacrifice, as well as unique challenges that working mothers face while building their careers.
“With my position, I hope to inspire and pave the way for others like me to continue BAL’s legacy of powering human achievement,” she said.
In celebration of Hispanic Heritage Month, BAL is putting a spotlight on Garcia’s 22-year career at the firm.
The firm said her integrity and energy became vital to the firm’s growth and culture, and she has been instrumental in spearheading its most prominent immigration programs in the technology, finance, and travel service industries.
Since Garcia started at the firm in 2001, BAL has grown from two offices to 12, a testament to her contributions to the firm’s growth and success.
A career shaped by her family’s immigration journey
BAL said that Garcia’s life and career have been shaped by her family’s own immigration journey.
Born in the United States, Garcia moved back to El Salvador at a very young age with her parents. After losing her mother to cancer at the age of 4 and spending several years in a war-torn country, Garcia’s father obtained a work visa and moved the family back to the U.S. when she was 8.
Driven by her experiences, Garcia pursued higher education at the University of California, Davis, and the University of San Francisco School of Law. During that time, she discovered her passion for immigration law, and she began her career assisting asylum applicants and defending deportation cases, BAL said.
Garcia has been recognized by Best Lawyers every year since 2016. Last year, she won a Corporate Counsel’s 2022 Women, Influence & Power in Law Award for Thought Leadership.
Garcia and her two daughters are members of the National Charity League, a group of mothers and daughters committed to community service, leadership development and cultural experiences.
Their hands-on philanthropic work spans 200 hours per year, and in recognition of their dedication and time, her daughters have both earned The President’s Volunteer Service Award.
The firm said that Garcia’s appointment is a significant achievement for Latinas in the legal field, showcasing BAL’s deep commitment to fostering diversity, equity, and inclusion within the industry.
BAL is recognized as a diverse law firm, with people of color at BAL representing 63% of employees and 54% of attorneys. Notably, 62% of BAL’s equity partners are people of color.
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