At St. Thomas University, we are committed to our students’ success inside and outside of the classroom. Our Law School to Career series will feature and celebrate STU Law alumni and job experiences. Get to know STU Law alumnus, Jonathan Perazzo, and about his job experience as a founder of his own personal injury law firm, The Perazzo Law Firm, P.A.
- Name: Jonathan Perazzo, Esq.
- J.D./ LL.M/ Concentration/ Certificates: J.D.
- Graduation Year: 2011
- Where do your work, and what is your title? I own my own business: The Perazzo Law Firm, P.A.
- Did you always know you would be pursuing this line of work? I always knew I would be a lawyer. I did not think I would be a personal injury lawyer. I’ve always wanted to help people, and I initially believed I would practice criminal defense and help the innocent fight against the government. However, I was approached by a heart-wrenching story of a little girl involved in an accident. After helping her and her family, I received so much more satisfaction that I decided I would dedicate my practice and life to helping accident victims.
- What does a day at work look like? Things have shaken up quite a bit due to the COVID-19 outbreak, and my employees now work remotely for the most part. While we take shifts going to the 5,000 square foot office in order to meet with client and file documents, I have decided to mitigate the spread of the disease by teleconferencing. We hop on a 9 am video conference every morning and watch each other work all day; not as exciting as one would imagine the life of a lawyer to be, but it is very efficient and benefits our clients tremendously.
- What’s your favorite part about your job? Helping people through the toughest times of their lives, and knowing that they depend on me fills me with pride.
- What challenges have you faced, and how have you overcome them? I could probably write a novel on this topic, but I will keep it brief. I came from an immigrant family who had nothing. My mother came to the United States with nothing, and my father was homeless for a time. They both escaped poverty and communism from their respective countries and struggled hard to get here and earn a living. They met at a glass manufacturing factory, and the rest was history. I learned the value of hard work, dedication, and doing the right thing from them. Sadly, as I was achieving my dreams of becoming an attorney, my father passed away before my eyes due to a painful battle with cancer. My mother, who had been dealing with a rare disease, followed him not too long after. As you can imagine, losing them both in such a short time, while trying to start a practice was extremely challenging not only emotionally but also financially. That said, I took the lessons that I learned from them and pushed forward for them, and within six months of their passing, I was on local and national television as a guest speaker.
- How does your job connect back to your coursework and extracurricular activities at STU? STU Law really pushes you to think. In my career, I have landed an untold number of cases that seemed like evil law school exam questions from STU. Thankfully, the professors prepared me for that challenge. I studied at U.M. for undergrad, and I never felt that there.
- What advice do you have for Bobcats that are interested in following in your career footsteps? It is a long road; the seeds you plant today will give fruit, later on, don’t get frustrated! If you don’t have connections, you will be competing with everyone else who is graduating. The best advice I can give is to work for free. Go to a law firm and give your time, the experience and connections you will get in return cannot be quantified. When I graduated, I had a choice, either get a job in my field which paid the bills and taught me very little, or donate my time and learn every aspect of a practice directly from an owner. I chose the ladder, and I could not have gotten to where I am otherwise.
- Describe your job in a GIF?
- Anything you would like to add that we did not cover? I want to thank you for doing this story on me and would like to take the opportunity to let your readers know that if they would like to reach out to me for advice, they can look me up at www.perazzolaw.com. I am always happy to help St. Thomas alumni!
Learn more about how STU Law’s Career Development can help you find the right internship or job for you! If you’re interested in sharing your internship or job experience with STU News? Reach out to Yamile Rodriguez at firstname.lastname@example.org.