Meet Jennifer Gomez Hardy, the Latina attorney behind Gomez Law Group
MÁS EN ESTA SECCIÓN
To truly appreciate Jennifer Gomez Hardy and the work she has done throughout her career, one has to start at the very beginning.
A native of Allentown, Pennsylvania, Gomez Hardy was born to a Dominican mother and a Puerto Rican father.
While her father wasn’t in the picture very much growing up, both sides of her heritage serve as sources of pride and inspiration for her.
While spending most of her formative years in Allentown, after graduating high school, Gomez Hardy traveled west to California.
Her stepfather’s family had relatives there, and Gomez Hardy lived with them for over a year before eventually returning to her hometown.
Upon returning to Allentown, Gomez Hardy started thinking about what she wanted to do with her life.
For her, “I’ve always been a huge advocate for grassroot efforts to activate change,” Gomez Hardy said during an interview with AL DÍA.
She decided she wanted to move out of Allentown and into a bigger city, with New York and Philadelphia at the top of the list. She chose Philadelphia and has remained in the nearby area, for the most part, ever since.
A Clear Professional Eye
Gomez Hardy attended and graduated with Honors from Cheyney University, where she earned a degree in Communications.
Shortly after she graduated, she received a call from someone asking about her interest in joining Congressman Chaka Fattah’s exploratory committee.
Fattah, then a member of the United States House of Representatives, was running for Mayor at the time.
While part of the exploratory committee, Gomez Hardy met future Municipal Court Judge Charles Hayden, who would end up becoming an avid mentor for her.
Gomez Hardy later went on to spend time as the Finance Director to Pennsylvania State Senator Vincent Hughes, helping him raise money for his campaign.
Despite cutting her teeth in the political realm early on, Gomez Hardy knew exactly what career path she wanted to pursue.
“I always wanted to be an attorney,” she said.
“I realized that attorneys make decisions: they’re in the boardroom, they’re changing legislation, and they’re helping people in their most vulnerable times.”
Ultimately, Gomez Hardy had internalized that lawyers can positively impact people’s lives.
That’s exactly what she wanted to do.
Working on political campaigns helped further magnify her own goals to pursue a legal career.
“I worked relentlessly trying to make their dreams a reality, it was then time to put the same effort into my dream of becoming an attorney,’” said Gomez Hardy.
Having already connected with Judge Hayden, he helped pave the way for Gomez Hardy to enroll into law school.
Navigating Law School, Early Career
Gomez Hardy, an honors student, received a Bond Hill Scholarship which helped pay her way into Dickinson Law School in Carlisle, Pennsylvania.
In two words, she describes her law school experience as “very revealing.”
Growing up in Allentown and later settling in Philadelphia, she had grown used to being in relatively diverse settings.
However, her experience at Dickinson Law School, was much less diverse.
“Because of the lack of diversity, the conversation was not as rich as it would have been if there were more people involved in the conversation with various backgrounds and experiences,” Gomez Hardy noted.
It was an eye-opening experience and motivated her even further to tackle a legal career and open doors for others.
“It just shows the need for all of us to be at the table,” she added.
Her experience as a law student also included a summer working as a law clerk for Judge Hayden.
As Gomez Hardy contemplated her expertise within the legal profession, she harkens back to her grassroots background.
“I was involved in a lot of nonprofit organizations dealing with different issues,” she said. “Specifically targeting domestic violence, equal access to education, and voter registration.”
From there, Gomez Hardy has always looked further ahead.
“I always felt like, ‘we have these meetings, we have these rallies, we have these petitions, we have these great ideas, but how do we get to that next step? How do we push our agenda forward and get in front of people who make decisions?’” she questioned.
For her, grassroots work partnered with legal expertise is the key to taking that next step.
Starting Out and Taking a Leap of Faith
After graduating from law school in 2013, Gomez Hardy worked as an independent contractor for a law office before working as an associate attorney at two different Philadelphia-area law firms.
Over those years, she shaped herself as a fearless litigator with a deep passion for helping victims of various injuries.
However, after a handful of years of honing her craft, Gomez Hardy eventually made the decision to go out on her own within the legal profession.
“The main reason was to change the dynamic of compensation and the clients I served,” said Gomez Hardy about her decision.
She wanted to be compensated equally for what she was worth and not have to continuously get into conversations with her bosses that made her feel she was asking for a gift.
“I wasn’t asking for a gift, it was based on what I earned,” she added.
She’d often work six or seven days a week, always putting 100% into each client and each case. However, she didn’t always feel the same appreciation reciprocated toward her.
In July 2018, Gomez Hardy officially launched Gomez Law Group.
The boutique law firm helps clients during their most challenging and vulnerable times. As a personal injury lawyer, Gomez Hardy leads the charge in helping clients get compensated for injuries ranging from motor vehicle accidents, to workplace injuries, medical malpractice, and more.
If there was a single word that could encapsulate her decision to start her own law firm, it would be freedom.
“That’s what I wanted,” she underscored.
In February 2020, she officially moved the law firm to its current location in Rittenhouse. Just a month later, the pandemic happened.
Like all, the pandemic proved to be a very difficult and uncertain time for Gomez Hardy. However, it helped her learn to pivot.
“The good thing was that I was still able to settle cases and push cases through,” she said.
Clients were still bringing cases to her attention, and the goal remained the same, more critically so.
This all drives home the most fulfilling component of her work.
“Building relationships,” said Gomez Hardy.
As an attorney, Gomez Hardy hones in on the human aspect of each case she works on.
“Being there for people in their most vulnerable times, when they have so many questions and so much anxiety, and helping them navigate through … I love that aspect of it,” she added.
The Future and the Next Generation
Gomez Hardy is a former President of the Hispanic Bar Association of Pennsylvania (HBAPA).
The organization has been a critical piece of the puzzle for Gomez Hardy.
As a law student, the HBAPA helped her connect with the select few other Latinx students pursuing a career in law.
Since beginning her own legal career, the HBAPA has helped Gomez Hardy build her network and meet other legal professionals who have already ingratiated themselves into the field.
When it comes down to mentorship, its value is quite evident.
“I saw what an impact it had on my life, and having opportunities and relationships are so important,” Gomez Hardy said.
Her involvement with the HBAPA also helped Gomez Hardy connect with Sanjuanita González, who provided Gomez Hardy her first office space upon launching Gomez Law Group.
According to statistics gathered by the Pennsylvania Interbranch Commission for Gender, Racial and Ethnic Fairness, the Pennsylvania Bar Association, and other groups of the legal community, Hispanic/Latino attorneys make up less than 2% of attorneys in Pennsylvania.
Of the nearly 2%, however, Hispanic women slightly outnumber Hispanic men in the legal profession in the state.
Gomez Hardy has been in situations where she has been discriminated against by potential clients for being a Latina woman in a white-male-dominated profession.
However, she hasn’t let that deter her from the job in front of her.
Pointedly, she has reached a point in her career where she now has an avenue to be a mentor for today’s law students and aspiring attorneys.
As key pieces of advice for those coming up, Gomez Hardy stresses the importance of always having multiple plans in place, being creative in getting to your goals, and challenging yourself to find solutions.
She had to do that herself, navigating her undergraduate studies and law school while also raising a young child.
“I didn’t have a conventional situation,” said Gomez Hardy. “But I had to be creative in how I was going to make this work.”
That’s exactly what she did, and now is able to look back and be proud of what she has accomplished to this point.
“It doesn’t matter your circumstance, it doesn’t matter where you come from… your own passion and your own fire will take you to whatever level you want to be, as long as you put that work ethic behind it,” she added.
Gomez Law Group: 5 Years and Beyond
July 2023 marked the five-year anniversary of Gomez Law Group.
As Gomez Hardy reflects on the past five years, she is amazed at how the firm has grown from a one-woman show with a laptop and a few cases, to a firm of three paralegals with opportunities to bring on more in the near future.
“To see where we’re at now in such a short amount of time is amazing,” she said.
For her, the work is never finished.
Each day, Gomez Hardy wakes up and strives to continue getting things done and making a positive impact, which ties into the very reason she wanted to become an attorney in the first place.