Client spotlight: UnLocal
As a company that helps businesses with their website needs, we’re in the lucky position of meeting and learning from some of the most creative business owners and entrepreneurs. In this interview series, we ask companies we love working with to give us insight in how they got started and how they manage their busy days.
This week, we spoke with Michele Lampach, Executive Director, at UnLocal Inc, a non-profit organization helping New York City’s undocumented immigrant communities.
Hi Michele! It’s great to chat with you. Tell us more about UnLocal.
UnLocal is a non-profit organization that provides direct immigration legal representation, legal consultations, and community education to New York City’s undocumented immigrant communities. UnLocal recognizes the needs of all immigrants, and tailors its programming to identify specific gaps in services that are not sufficiently provided elsewhere.
Our work centers around representing immigrant families and youth facing seeking asylum and defense against deportation, as well as supporting DACA recipients and communities with education around immigration legal updates.
Your team is doing great work. What was your motivation to start UnLocal?
When I graduated from law school in 2010, there were a dearth of community-centered immigration legal organizations focused on representing immigrant youth and families. UnLocal attorneys are community lawyers that go into communities and connect with organizations, community leaders and individuals to reach immigrants that are traditionally underserved by the larger immigration legal services network.
UnLocal was formed as part of an incubator at the CUNY School of Law and was officially launched in 2012 after a private donor found out about our work and gave us our first $50,000 to hire two part-time attorneys. Now we have a team of 8 full-time staff, many part-time interns and 100+ volunteers and serve thousands of immigrants each year.
We can imagine that given all of the work you’re doing everyday that you rely on a few tools to keep you organized. What are some of your favorites?
I love Sign Now, which is an app that lets me sign documents without having to scan them.
The other is Innovation Law Lab, which is our client management system. It’s a system specifically for immigration lawyers so all of the thinking that goes behind building it out, is for our work. Also, they are a non-profit as well and I love that our monthly fees help support immigration legal representation for detained immigrants.
Those sound like great time savers. And, what brought you to Lorem?
Lorem made it a lot easier to find a web developer, so I didn’t have to crowdsource it on my own. I know that the experts they work with are already vetted and I love that the payment all happens through Lorem–the system of accepting quotes and paying is much more straightforward that way. Finally, I think Lorem is *very* reasonable, which helps since we are a non-profit.
Great! We love helping non-profits 🙂 Finally, what advice do you have for others looking to grow their business?
Oh goodness, I have received a lot of good advice, but two things come to mind at the moment: I’m an idea person, so I have a million ideas per day and that is something I take a lot of pride in. I got bent out of shape once when someone took my idea and made something happen with it. I told someone on my board of advisors who deals with tons of businesses and he said, “Ideas are a dime a dozen, it’s the people that actually execute the idea that have an impact.”
The second is one that I read few days ago from a runner named Eliud Kipchoge, and while I also run, I think it’s super relevant here (and for everyone): “Only the disciplined ones in life are free. If you are undisciplined, you are a slave to your moods and your passions”.
Thanks Michele! What can we tell readers who are interested in helping your mission?
If you are interested in learning more about us, visit our website and please consider making a donation to support our work or become a volunteer: www.unlocal.org/donate.