The name ‘Jagan’ is synonymous with a long legacy of politics in Guyana and even though the epithet opened doors for Vrinda S. Jagan, Esq., a general practitioner, she is confident that clients now seek her services because of the trust she has built up in the Guyanese and Caribbean community.
“I am lucky and very honored to be named Jagan, while trying to fill those big shoes, my way. In the beginning clients came into my office because of the name. But I have proven myself and I know clients are satisfied when they leave my practice,” said the granddaughter of former President of the Guyana, the late Dr. Cheddi Jagan, and daughter of politician Dr. Cheddi “Joey” Jagan Jr.
“The name certainly open doors for me because not everyone could run a private practice alone, and at the same time be accepted by a very kind and trusting community,” said 30-year old Jagan, whose late grandmother, American-born Janet Jagan was also, Guyana’s former president.
Named after the Hindu Goddess, Vrinda, the former Brooklyn resident who was “priced” out of the borough, but never regretted opening her law firm in Queens, said when her sign went up in September 2013, she did not know what to expect.
“Even though I practice general law, I found myself representing clients on mostly immigration matters, more so than criminal, matrimony, family law, or divorce cases,” said Jagan.
“I have heard of horrible stories of people living in basements, struggling to send remittances back home, and who were left at the mercy of unscrupulous immigration lawyers. This is why I am a strong advocate for people who have found themselves in such situations,” said the attorney who is inspired by her late grandfather and practice what he would have wanted — fairness and truth.
Images of the former politician hang proudly of Vrinda’s office wall as a great reminder.
“My weakness is making people’s problems my own, and becoming friends with my clients. When they face hardship, I feel like I have to face it with them,” said the barrister who has become an adviser and mentor to youth in the community.
Pro-bono work has been very satisfying for the articulate lawyer, who recalled, saving a youth from an abusive relationship. She helped the student to return to school, and stays in touch with her.
Jagan wishes she could offer a free service to the community that she said is in great need of the service.
“Many citizens travel all the way from the Bronx for legal guidance. I am happy that I get to help my own Guyanese people, especially. My father who is a dentist encouraged me to either become a lawyer, or a dentist,” she added.
“Today I love helping people, and since every case is different from the other, I am very particular with the cases I take on. Such as personal injury, which I refered to another law firm that is more experienced in this area of law,” said Jagan, a wife and mother of a two-year old son.
The Brooklyn College graduate, and Thomas Jefferson School of Law, alum, who is also licensed to practice in New Jersey, would love to hang a ‘shingle’ in her parents’ birthplace of Guyana where she lived during her younger years.
However, she must attend Hugh Wooding Law School in Trinidad for five-month tutorial, a requirement called disappointing time-wasting by Jagan, who passed the bar in the United States, and has been practicing for more than two years.
This is a dream deferred for the attorney, who is committed to giving back. As such, she plans to continue her passion to serve, and take on the challenges she sometimes face. One such is convincing the community that Caribbean-born lawyers and lawyers in general are trustworthy.
“I have to calm clients and work with them to gain their trust, especially when dealing with immigration cases, whereby citizens who are misrepresented. I try to assure them that not all lawyers are the same. Many of us truly want to help,” said the legal eagle.
“We Can Help Put the Pieces Together” is the slogan by which the Jagan Law Firm, PLLC at 115-12 Liberty Ave., Richmond Hill, prides itself.
The firm offers free consultation, as well as services in real estate, wills, trusts and probate litigation, while collaborating with other attorneys.
The American-born litigator praised her parents Nadia and Cheddi Jr. for the great values they instilled in her siblings, and her. She did not confirm, or deny that her dad will take up the post as the new Guyana Consul General to New York, sometime soon as reported.
However, she noted that her dad, Joey, is a very smart man who speaks his mind, and have always been popular with the Guyanese people. As such, she does not have any words of wisdom for him, but wishes him well if he becomes a member of the diplomatic corps.