Attorney Spotlight: Destiny M. Verdugo

In medical malpractice and elder abuse cases, the details can be difficult and painful for the victim and/or family to revisit. Your attorney is someone you can confide in, communicate with, receive advice from, and rely on to advocate for your best interest. Establishing that trust starts by getting to know the person you are hiring to represent your case.

In this attorney spotlight, meet Destiny M. Verdugo, a social worker turned attorney who has traveled the world.

What made you decide to get into law?

Becoming an attorney was something I’d thought about since I was young, however, I took a bit of a different path than most. I decided to pursue my Master of Social Work degree first. After I finished grad school and was working in the field, I found that I was so limited as an advocate. I kept telling my clients they should get a lawyer or they needed to seek legal advice. As I continued to see person after person with needs I couldn’t meet as a social worker alone, I decided that had to change. I need to be the one giving legal advice and doing everything I can to advocate on their behalf. That’s when I decided to go to law school. My parents knew all along I’d end up practicing law.

What is your most vivid memory of law school?

It rained on graduation day, but only as we were waiting to walk in. No one thought to give us our ponchos beforehand so there we were in our caps and gowns, drenched. It cleared up right as the ceremony began so we all had to sit there soaking wet waiting to receive our diplomas.

What practice areas do you specialize in?

Medical malpractice and elder abuse are the areas I specialize in. For me, being able to seek justice for our clients who’ve been seriously harmed and so taken advantage of is what makes the long hours and hard-fought victories rewarding—especially for the victims of elder abuse. They’re so vulnerable, which is why it’s all the more important to prosecute these bad actors. I also enjoy the constant challenge medical malpractice poses. To do the best job we can, you have to understand the medicine behind each issue. It keeps me on my toes.

What is the single most helpful piece of advice you can give to a client?

Tell the truth. Being open and honest is the best way to help us help you.

One fun fact that clients might not know about you:

Most of my clients don’t realize I am a Licensed Clinical Social Worker. Before getting into law, I worked as a mental health therapist for a number of years with children and families. I like learning about people and connecting with them and my background helps me do that with my clients.

Quick, a restaurant recommendation in the area:

You can’t go wrong with Max’s Mexican Cuisine in Azusa. I usually order the beef taco and cheese enchilada combo with red sauce. Not the green. That’s very important. Truly, everything is good there.

Favorite place to vacation?

I vacationed in Cuba in 2018 and fell in love. Everyone I met was incredibly friendly and it was so beautiful, but Cuba actually wasn’t as I had envisioned. You hear it’s like stepping into a time machine and that is kind of true. The revolution is still a big part of the country culturally. Everyone talks about it and you see reminders everywhere you go. But it was still exactly what you want a leisure vacation to be and I never felt safer than I did there.

Hobbies and pastimes?

Anything involving my Siberian Husky, Nala, is what I like to fill my free time with. She’s five years old and still very much a puppy. Nala is everything you could hope for in a pet and companion. She’s so cute and funny, and friendly with everybody. If a robber gave her a treat, she’d do a trick for him while he ransacked the place. She’s changed my life and brings so much joy to anyone who meets her.

What are you most passionate about?

Traveling is my passion. I am fortunate enough to have seen much of the world; China, Peru, Ireland, Spain, Italy, Canada, Mexico, all over the U.S., the list goes on and on. I’m grateful to my mother, who is fluent in Spanish, for raising me to speak both English and Spanish. Being bilingual, I can immediately immerse myself in the culture of many different countries.

Learn more about Destiny and the rest of the team at the Law Offices of Belgum, Fry & Van Allen here.