We had the good fortune of connecting with Noreen Barcena and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Noreen, what was your thought process behind starting your own business?
When I first started practicing law, my plan was to work for the Los Angeles County District Attorney’s office. I thought the idea of becoming a prosecutor was so interesting, and I wanted to be able to help people. Unfortunately, there was a hiring freeze when I first started practicing, so my dad encouraged me to start my own business. I had my own office in Monterey Park for a year and a half before I decided to merge with my father, and work under his wing until I gained more experience as an attorney. My father is also an attorney. Finally, in 2018, I felt it was time to spread my wings and leave the next. I opened my practice in Pasadena, California with the idea that I would be the type of attorney that makes sure the client understands their case, and the process behind what we are trying to achieve for them. I also wanted the ability to control my schedule and provide my staff with a friendly environment, that is also productive. We incorporated October 2020, and are now Barcena Law Offices, A Professional Law Corporation.
Alright, so for those in our community who might not be familiar with your business, can you tell us more?
One of the difficult parts about actually becoming a lawyer is that law school does not teach you how to actually practice law. When I first started, I wasn’t sure how to organize my practice. I had an idea and through trial and error, I definitely learned a lot. Throughout the years, I realized that people often do not understand the process, do not know the steps in their case and would not understand or be told basic information about how to manage their cases. I made it a goal of mine to make sure that the client understands what we are doing in their case, and guiding them towards a (hopefully) positive outcome in their case, or at least having an understanding of the law that applies to them. I’ve learned that technology is your friend, and it is important to utilize software that is available. Don’t reinvent the wheel – if there is a product that can help you in your business, use it. One of the main things I learned was to value my work, and to learn how to create invoices so that my clients could easily make payments to the office. I have noticed that people just want to know what is going on in their cases – whether or not you are able to help them, you have to fight for them. The most difficult part of being an attorney is that you can’t win every case. I’ve had to learn not to take things to heart. All you can do is your best, and to be prepared in your client’s case. The remainder is the Judge’s decision, or the hearing officer’s discretion. What sets us apart from other offices is that we do our best to provide our clients with information along the way, and have an open communication to provide them access to view their files online, or text us when they have questions. I also try to make sure my staff is prepared and we do monthly seminars, and trainings to keep updated on current procedures and laws.
Any places to eat or things to do that you can share with our readers? If they have a friend visiting town, what are some spots they could take them to?
In the morning, I would probably spend time at Poppy + Rose in the Flower district of Los Angeles. Maybe spend some time walking through all the shops. Thereafter, I would visit Olvera Street. One of my favorite places to visit is the vendors at Olvera Street because of the vast history that it provides. Walking through the tents is like taking a walk in the past, and they have a really cute museum. I also like to buy egg shells with confetti inside. After Olvera Street, I might check out the Broad to see all the artwork. The Bradbury Building is also a great spot. One of my favorite places to have drinks is Las Perlas because they have a drink called the “Spicy Daisy.” It’s definitely one of my favorite drinks. Another place that I love is Casa 0101 theatre. When they have productions, it’s really fun to watch a play, and support the theatre. My absolute favorite museum are the La Brea Tar Pits, and you can’t miss the Los Angeles Zoo.
Who else deserves some credit and recognition?
I am so thankful to my parents for being so supportive of my success. Without them, I would not be where I am today. My mother has always taught me to be kind to others, and to work hard. My father has always taught me to strive to be the best, and to work smart. I’m also very thankful to my staff because an attorney is only as good as their staff. I’ve had several paralegals along the way, but I am especially thankful to those that have stuck with me through thick and thin. Each of my staff has helped me build my business, learn and grow. I am thankful to the Webb Schools, Pitzer College and the University of La Verne College of Law for providing me with a wonderful education. I also feel so blessed to be able to give back to my alma maters.