Partners Homero Tristan and Pedro Cervantes avoided the obvious road for Latino lawyers.

Their detour into business law and government relations, via their namesake firm, allows them to serve Hispanic-owned midsize businesses with their own personal touch.

Born and bred in Chicago, partners Homero Tristan (left) and Pedro Cervantes (right) are among the “very small percentage of practicing Hispanic lawyers in Illinois” specializing in business legal matters, says Tristan.

Working at a practice that covers an array of legal services for midsize businesses—a large portion of which are Hispanic owned—Homero Tristan takes pride in walking the road less traveled for a Hispanic lawyer. Rather than taking what some of his peers consider to be the normal route for a Hispanic lawyer—immigration, divorce, and criminal law—he has remained focused throughout his career on ensuring that his firm, Tristan & Cervantes Attorneys at Law, concentrates on business law and government relations. “Before, when I was prosecuting violations of the National Labor Relations Act, my clients were faceless,” Tristan recalls. “Now, I connect with the hearts and souls of my clients, often litigating issues for clients that own companies that their families built. We make a direct impact, and we can see our footprints.”

Tristan began his early legal career working for the National Labor Relations Board and then a national employment law firm, before venturing out and starting up his private legal practice in 2002. In 2006, Pedro Cervantes joined the firm as an associate attorney, and quickly advanced to managing partner in 2009. Since then, Tristan & Cervantes Attorneys at Law has evolved to include seven full-time attorneys and one of counsel attorney. The pair were both born and raised in Chicago where their law practice is headquartered. Both attorneys credit their Hispanic background for helping them emerge as innovative thinkers in their industry. “Being Hispanic business lawyers is an innovation in itself,” Tristan says. “Hispanic lawyers comprise a small percentage of practicing attorneys in Illinois, and Hispanic lawyers specializing in business legal matters comprise a very small percentage of practicing Hispanic lawyers.”

Tristan & Cervantes provides legal services in commercial litigation, labor and employment law, corporate and business law, commercial and residential real estate, zoning and land use, landlord rights and obligations, government relations and advising, and commercial lending. “It’s important that we emerge as innovators in a wide array of law, rather than be pigeonholed into one practice area,” Tristan says. “Our commitment to diversity is reflected in our staff, and we have crossover in our firm. We use a collaborative approach that includes discussing each case with a team of lawyers within our firm.”

The law firm’s clientele generally consists of midsize businesses and tax-exempt organizations that operate with budgets from $5 to $30 million per year. “A large portion of our clients are Hispanic owned and serve the Hispanic market,” Cervantes says. “We understand our client’s niche, goals, and business needs,” Tristan adds. “We see a huge need and demand for legal services for Hispanic-owned businesses, which deserve quality legal counsel.” Providing legal services that assist a Hispanic-operated business to increase profits from $1 million per year to $20 million per year is exceptionally rewarding. “In my opinion, the Hispanic-business market is underserved in the area of legal representation,” Cervantes explains. “That business market is growing and will continue to grow.”

A successful legal strategy that Tristan & Cervantes applies to each case is intellectual agility. “We take great pride in combining blue-collar experience with the application of the legal system’s technical procedures,” explains Cervantes. “Intellectual agility is thinking critically from a legal standpoint while simultaneously applying real-world circumstances.”