Article by Tori Maidenberg
Development and Communications Intern
There remains an unfortunate paradox of the law: we all have a right to the law, but the law is often unaffordable and consequently inaccessible. We all have heard, even joked about, the archetypal lawyer who is only in it for the money, but Tiombe Jones debunks this stereotype. Tiombe went into law to “help the masses by making the law affordable,” she says. Through Tiombe’s efforts, we can all sleep better at night knowing that those who cannot usually afford to access their basic rights under the law, are finally able.
In October, 2009 Tiombe faced her own inner paradox: to get a job at a bigger firm meant more money, but to get a job at a bigger firm also meant less time at home with her two special needs children. “Living at the office,” was not a viable option for a mother with special needs children, and she decided instead to open her own firm with the idea that she could decide when it was time to go home, secondly decide which clients to serve, and lastly decide how to expand her firm into a successful, prosperous business. However, her focus to help make the law more affordable for low-income individuals often left her with financial hardships. As they say though, good things happen to good people and Tiombe is of no exception.
Tiombe found out about PeopleFund at a Capital One getting down to business class. Tiombe says that, “PeopleFund means to me access; it means having a little slice of the American pie and having the ability to leave something for my children.” PeopleFund gave Tiombe the loans necessary to start her own firm. She recalls that, “PeopleFund gave me the capital at exactly the time I needed it…The coupling of the Capital One business classes with PeopleFund’s loan allowed me to maximize my profits and grow my business.” Tiombe is proud of the fact that she can still say she is following the dream her and her friends had back in law school; the dream of “yeah let’s help the masses!” Many of Tiombe’s friends took that job at the big law firm, giving up on the reality of this dream, but Tiombe stayed tenacious.
What contributes to Tiombe’s business success is that she knows when to say “no.” She explains that “at times you have to make a decision not to pursue a particular case, or deal with a certain client, or practice in a certain county. Knowing what is necessary and what is not allows that that is necessary to receive the attention it demands.” Today, business is great she says, and she already has big plans for the future. By 2025, Tiombe hopes to retire so she can be a full-time mother. To do so, she plans to hire 1 attorney by 2015 so she can stay on track with her goal to have 5-6 attorneys working for her by the time she retires.
Tiombe says that the most rewarding aspect of having her own business is her ability to be more involved in her children’s lives. Tiombe’s advice for entrepreneurs wanting to start their own businesses is to not be afraid of being a dreamer, to be foolish in the sense that you should not be afraid of taking risks, but in addition to dreaming also come with a plan; it’s not necessarily great ideas that become great businesses, but good practices too.
To learn more about the Law Offices of Tiombe Jones please visit their website.