Erika Jurado-Graham was born in El Paso, Texas, and raised in Monterrey, Mexico by a Mexican single mother. Following the 1994 economic crisis in Mexico, Erika’s mother and close relatives came to the United States in search of better economic opportunities. Erika was attending law school at the time her family moved to the U.S., and she stayed behind to complete her studies. Erika graduated from law school in Mexico, and came to the United States to reunite with her family. She later obtained her J.D. in the U.S. at Washburn University in Topeka, KS. She began practicing immigration law in Kansas City shortly thereafter.
Ruby Powers (RP): Where do you think you gained the skills to become a great rainmaker?
Erika Jurado-Graham (EG): I worked for an attorney as a legal assistant for eight years. I had a law license in Mexico but did not have a JD to be able to practice in Kansas. I could not practice for about eight years, so I worked as a paralegal/legal assistant. My boss was a great attorney, but he did not have a lot of marketing skills, so I started suggesting a few marketing ideas to him, ways of reaching and having a deeper connection with the Hispanic community. That was back in 1998. Marketing was basically TV, printed media, and radio, so that’s how I got started. I started doing his marketing, and I really, really, enjoyed that part of my job. Once I became an attorney in the U.S. myself, I began marketing through social media. I started just doing videos and preparing entertaining posts about immigration-related topics for Facebook users to educate them about their options.
I consider myself an attorney, an educator, an entertainer, and a communicator. My mom was a theater actress back in the 70s and 80s, so in a way, I’m also comfortable with the spotlight. I try informing people about immigration law in an entertaining way.
When I started practicing back in 2007, we just had TV, radio, and printed media. People were just getting started delivering information on websites and blogging. My audience was watching TV and listening to the radio—those were the platforms to be on before the social media boom.