The desire to become an attorney was planted early in Omar Ochoa. When he tried to convince his first-grade teacher that the class should have more recess, the teacher saw his potential and told him he would make a great attorney someday.
“I had no idea what that word meant,” said Ochoa. “But I went home and told my folks, ‘Hey, I want to be an attorney.’ The look of pride that came across on their faces, it sank into my heart. Had the opportunity in high school to actually work for a lawyer and discovered that I loved the day-to-day of it.”
Ochoa was born and raised in Edinburg. His parents, who earned professional degrees after being raised as migrant laborers, taught him to value education and hard work. After graduation from Edinburg North High School, he left the Valley to attend the University of Texas in Austin. While earning undergrad degrees in business administration, accounting, and economics, he served as student body president. Accomplishing this goal was a yearlong process of building coalitions with all sectors of the student population: Greek fraternities and sororities, athletes, professional students in the business school, and engineering students.
“I was the first Latino to serve as the student body president of that campus,” said Ochoa. “Fast forward, while I was in law school, I was the first Latino to serve as the Editor-in-Chief of the Texas Law Review. Two things that I’m very proud of accomplishing.”
Continuing his education, Ochoa stayed at UT for his master’s in professional accounting before moving to Detroit to work as a senior financial analyst for General Motors. He returned to UT to attend law school to pursue his childhood dream of becoming a lawyer.
After law school, Ochoa worked for federal judges in Kentucky and Michigan before returning to Texas to work for one of the top trial law firms in the nation. Working out of the Dallas and Houston offices, he knew that his true home was in the Rio Grande Valley. In Jan. 2018, he opened Omar Ochoa Law Firm in McAllen.
For the last four and a half years, Ochoa has served as the city attorney for Edinburg. Growth within Edinburg and the Rio Grande Valley excites Ochoa as he sees the region’s potential. As the area’s population continues to grow, so does the need for services.
“This area has been underserved for many years, in a lot of ways,” said Ochoa. “As the population increases, there is still a lot of catching up to do. Whether it’s healthcare, financial services, legal services. Across the board. Seeing that need, seeing that opportunity, I felt like it was the right time for me to come home.”
One thing that Ochoa has noticed about the Rio Grande Valley is the shift from a small-city mindset to a big-city mindset, from single-city approaches to regional approaches. Two examples of this are combining the Pan-Am and Brownsville campuses into UTRGV and the mergers of the Metropolitan Planning Organizations. Both allow for more public money to be available by working together.
“I think this mindset shifting toward bigger city values, bigger city goals, is really helping us out. We don’t have a big skyline, but don’t let that fool you. We are a big city,” Ochoa said.
Omar Ochoa Law Firm has its main office in McAllen but also has offices in Edinburg, Houston, and San Antonio. They specialize in civil cases of all kinds: insurance litigation, construction law, trade secrets, securities, employment, breach of contract, oil and gas, and the Fair Credit Reporting Act.
Ochoa views being a lawyer as a public service, an agent operating in an arena to preserve the rights afforded by the law to individuals and companies.
“As an attorney, I feel that sense of responsibility and to me it feels like public service. I really enjoy talking about the law, discussing the law with other people,” said Ochoa.
Omar Ochoa Law Firm can be found on social media and omarochoalaw.com.