As a young girl, Irma Dominguez overcame many challenges to become an esteemed member of her community who has given years of service and dedication. She emigrated with her family from Ecuador to the U.S. in 1972. As a child, Irma had to undergo numerous surgeries to correct a cleft palate malformation and spent many years going to speech therapy. During this time, Irma developed sensitivity for those in need and decided to become a doctor.
Living on Long Island with few Spanish speaking neighbors, her family faced the struggles all immigrants face against discrimination and adaptation to their new country. Irma worked her way through college as she helped her parents endure economic hardship.
“A degree for better or worse is what makes people listen and take notice,” Said Irma. “Without a degree it is much harder to be heard and hence an education is necessary.”
Irma was ready to begin preparing for medical school in 1998. Unfortunately, she became unwell due to Rheumatoid Arthritis and tasks taken for granted such as walking and doing common chores became painful and nearly impossible to perform. Irma was originally misdiagnosed which resulted in a prolonged recovery period. Upon realizing that health care legislation laws were not nearly as helpful as they should be, Irma redirected her career choice toward law.
While working toward her Juris Doctorate at the City University of New York School of Law, Irma was a very involved student. She was a teaching assistant for a real estate property class, she co-founded and wrote for the International Quarterly Newsletter, was the founder and Vice President of the International Law Organization, and also did freelance writing for La Tribuna Hispana and HOY (Newsday), El Diario. In 2004, Irma received her J.D. and was ready to begin her career.
Today, Irma has many roles in her professional career. She works at Circulo de la Hispanidad, Inc. and concurrently holds the positions of attorney, Justice Project Director and Immigration Program Director. Irma has two legal segments on Channel 20 and Channel 40 Univision, and has also participated in a radio station law segment on Radio Formula 1580a.m. She provides information to the community about the law and answers immigration questions on bi-weekly basis on Al Despertar, a morning news program. Irma gives back to the community through her work with CAMINOS, a non-profit organization that assists victims of domestic violence and the immigrant community. Irma has been awarded the prestigious Empire State Award two years in a row from the NYS Bar Association.
What makes Irma stand out from other attorneys is her passion for helping Latinos in areas where they are underrepresented. She is known to cry with joy in celebration of a client’s triumph over deportation in an immigration case. She has been described as “a lady with limitless potential dedicated to helping her community, making a difference in the lives of others one case at a time.”
Irma was awarded the Hispanic Scholarship Fund (HSF) scholarship in 1990. She earned her B.A. in Hispanic Language and Literature from the State University of New York at Stony Brook in 1994. She advises young Latinos should possess perseverance, determination and a sense of civic duty to turn their success into the success of the community. “A person who truly succeeds does so by succeeding in al facets of his or her life; not forgetting to give back as we take along the way.”