Attorney Veronica Vallelonga is the Co-Founder of Devichy Law ; a private practice based in Quebec that touches all legal fields. A company she founded just three years ago, and five years out of school yet which remains one of the top law firms in Quebec. Ever-growing with 36 lawyers and counting, her brand excels in providing top quality to clients in a mobile friendly environment. ” We concentrate on offering a virtual experience for our clients and lawyers.” she states. The concept of Davichy is to create a one stop shop where clients legal needs are met all under one roof.
An entrepreneur at heart, who credits her husband for helping her hone her skillsets, an outstanding negotiator, a workaholic, she makes every effort to restore peace of mind to her clients facing a family crisis. Veronica’s expertise in the law, matched with her leadership skills are unmatched in her field. Here is her story of grit, resilience and excellence in all that she does. Mrs.Veronica Vallelonga.
Tell us about yourself. Did you always see yourself in the law?
I studied in political science and international development where I got my bachelor’s degree. I initially wanted to work with the UN as a lawyer. My background is very linear, I went to university of Montréal and then moved to Québec city to attend University of Laval. I moved there for law school because I was completely anglophone. I decided to go there to really take in the culture. Civil law is in French, bar school is in French and 90 % of the work is in French, so Québec city really helped me get to the level I needed to excel. I did my last year of law school in University of Laval, in Quebec and I did my bar school exam there after which I moved back to Montreal to study.
I was always exposed to law from a very young age. My parents owned residential buildings and I was always exposed to the tenant/landlord issues. I would prepare leases with my father when I was six years old and go to the Regie du Logement with him. It was like a field trip for me, and he would be there like once a month. I would follow him around a lot and it turns out he was the one that suggested that I apply to law school. I thought his suggestion was a great idea and from there I never looked back.
Did you have any mentors in the industry?
Yes. So, my mentor is my business partner Xavier Cormier. I truly believe everything happens for a reason. I had a stage lined up in a business law firm, I was supposed to start my stage in two weeks and one day I was home, and I was doing some research and googled criminal law and Xavier popped up online.
I called him an asked if he was looking for interns and he asked how fast I can get downtown for an interview. I ended up going, 30 minutes after that call we met, everything just clicked from there. I ended up doing my stage with him and he showed me the tricks of the trade. He made me run the department in criminal law. Once I finished my stage with him, I asked him to let me pursue family law, a field I always had a peculiar interest in. The funny thing is family law and criminal law go hand in hand. So, I just started on my own, I had no mentor in family law. I would sit in court, read the civil code along with the code of procedure, and started developing the family law practice with Xavier.
When did you start Devichy Law?
In 2018, we opened the Davichy law firm together. We were kind of always working in parallel, so we decided why not merge into one and grow from there. This is my biggest success to date. We are currently 34 lawyers in almost every field of law. Our concept is for our clients to have a one stop shop where we can meet all their legal needs under one roof. We currently opened a Notary department to further that concept and offer a complete legal service.
What is your biggest challenge since you started on your own?
To be frank, there were a lot of challenges. During the start of Davichy I also gave birth to two children, so my entire life is expanding. I have two little munchkins, one of 18 months, and the other three and a half years old. I was managing and expanding the firm as I was on maternity leave.
I think the biggest challenge for me was the managing side of the business. I’m a lawyer, I love being in court but the managing aspect such as accounting and all the things that come with it were foreign to me. I really must thank my husband for that I couldn’t have done it without him. He works in commercial real estate, so he brought me the business side of it and helped me work with numbers and make balance sheets. I’m not a number cruncher but we made it work.
Looking back at all your success, what advice would you give your younger self?
That everything and anything is possible. I never thought I could be a full-time mom, businesswoman and lawyer. I just feel like it all happened so fast. Today this is my biggest accomplishment, but there were weeks where it was very stressful. I had the kids to take care of, I had problems at the firm, and it seemed to come all at once. But it’s all a process, as they say, after every storm comes sunshine.
Looking back, another great advice I would give myself is you can’t do it all on your own, you must learn to delegate. It is only by learning how to delegate that you can truly start growing. Once again, I must thank my husband for that. The team is my family now, we are not just lawyers. To have a great team working with you is one of the greatest advantages you can have.
What is your gaol with Davichy in the next 5 to 10 years?
Our goal is to have the perfect work/ life balance. We concentrate on offering a virtual experience for our clients and lawyers. Before the pandemic, all our lawyers were working from home already and can go into the office at any point.
My plan in the next years to come is to grow the firm and double the firm by taking it from 34 lawyers to 60 lawyers in the next two years. We are the biggest family law firm in Quebec in numbers of lawyers and we have a lot of projects in the works. The goal is to grow and offer the same values and work ethic we always do. We are on a very personal terms with our lawyers so if they have personal or family obligations, we are all for it. We truly value life outside of work and we believe that it makes for better lawyers and for happier clients. As a woman it’s very hard to have kids and be at the office and always rushing from place to place, so considering this we treat our lawyers as we treat ourselves.
How do you stay balanced whilst handling being a mom and a managing partner?
I’m a huge workaholic so I like having this kind of life. The days that I do have of I get bored very quickly. What I started doing, is because I work with a schedule where I follow it to the letter, so I make sure to put in this schedule family time, me time and very other thing that I want to get done. What happens is that the days become longer, but at the same time when I’m a mom, I’m a full mom and when I’m at work its 100% work. I’m always present in whatever I do and that is part of what makes me so fulfilled.
Photo Credits – Peter Mac Photography
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