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Salma Benkabbou is not your average business attorney. This millennial lawyer takes an unconventional approach, providing business, intellectual property and immigration law expertise to clients in the Tampa Bay area. Alongside her passion for business, Benkabbou, an immigrant to the United States herself, saw a moral responsibility to be the lawyer her family needed when pursuing their own American Dream. Her firm, Benkabbou Law Firm, PLLC, practices in downtown Tampa.

Years in Tampa Bay

Moved to Tampa when I was 11 and grew up here, left Tampa for grad school and worked in DC for a couple of years thereafter, and have been back in Tampa as an adult since 2016.

Hustle (job)

Founder and Managing Attorney of the Benkabbou Law Firm, PLLC

What do you do?  

I am a business and immigration lawyer

Why do you do it?

As an immigrant with my own journey to the American Dream and becoming a US Citizen, practicing immigration law is my moral obligation and my way of giving back to an underserved community. I remember as an illegal immigrant, it was hard for my family and I to find a trusted immigration lawyer that we could depend on. As such, as a young girl, I vowed to become the lawyer my family needed in our time of need. Now, I am able to assist many families avoid the struggles we underwent. I also handle business immigration and assist investors in investing in the US economy and provide jobs to many Americans.

What was your Catalyst? (How did you get started?)

I have always had a keen interest in business and I love the behind the scenes transactions of business, so I naturally decided to pursue it as a career. I have become invaluable to my clients for my ability to strategize from a business perspective while keeping in mind the legal protections required to assist my clients to grow and maintain their competitive edge in the market.

What’s a common misconception or unknown aspect of what you do?

A common misconception that many transactional business lawyers face is that we are only to be hired when there is a dispute. In fact, the best time to hire a business attorney is right when an entrepreneur has completed their business plan and before they start executing it. It is vital to their business’ success that they invest in the legal foundation required to sustain a successful business.

What’s the most challenging part of your Hustle?

The most challenging part about my hustle has been finding the right team members to join my firm. Although, I am hopeful that it’s only a matter of time before I have my dream team.

What’s the most valuable piece of business advice/insight that’s helped you?

The most valuable piece of advice that has always helped me is to follow my heart and to operate from a place of compassion in any capacity. In business, no matter what industry you are in, you cannot thrive and succeed if you do not have empathy. Empathy is what allows you to have understanding and compassion for those you serve. If you are not able to understand your target audience’s needs, you cannot successfully serve them as you will not know what type of solution to provide for their problems. Being compassionate and empathic has a false stigma that it is a weakness, but it takes a lot of courage to be vulnerable enough to have empathy. Following my heart hasn’t been easy, but it has lead me to a successful and fulfilling life and I wouldn’t trade my journey for anything in the world.

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