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South Valley Riverton Journal

Riverton attorney helps minorities navigate the legal system

Feb 09, 2024 02:26PM ● By Peri Kinder

Riverton resident Yvette Donosso is dedicated to helping the Hispanic community by providing competent legal services for issues from immigration to family law. (Photo courtesy of April DeLaMare)

For more than 25 years, attorney Yvette Donosso has practiced law in federal and state courts. Starting as a civil litigator and serving as a prosecutor for Bountiful City, she now works as senior associate at Trujillo Acosta Law. 

With a law degree from the J. Reuben Clark Law School at Brigham Young University, Donosso has served in a variety of organizations including the Utah State Bar, the Utah Minority Bar Association and the Utah State History Board. 

The Riverton resident also served in Gov. Jon M. Huntsman’s cabinet as the executive director of the Department of Community and Culture, and she received the Raymond Uno Award for Advancement of Minorities in the Law from the Utah State Bar in 2019. 

It’s important to Donosso that minorities have access to competent legal representation when it comes to civil cases. That’s one reason she joined the law firm in South Jordan. Trujillo Acosta Law has been recognized as a firm that offers exceptional service in handling diverse immigration cases. 

“At Trujillo Acosta Law, all of us are fully bilingual,” Donosso said. “We all speak English and Spanish, six of us are Hispanic. We’re probably the law firm with the highest number of women and minorities in the state.”

While people charged in a criminal case can ask for a public defender if they qualify, many people are left without counsel for cases like divorce or custody cases, bankruptcy or housing disputes and immigration issues.

It becomes more difficult when someone isn’t familiar with the laws, rules or regulations of a country that isn’t their own, navigating a legal system in a language that isn’t their native tongue. 

“When you’re representing yourself in a civil case, I think that can be daunting,” she said. “Most of the time I have clients that are Hispanic, or wherever they’re from, and litigation is just stressful. They’re in a crisis.”

Donosso said anyone looking for help with a civil issue should conduct due diligence in finding representation. She suggests calling different law firms, especially those that offer free consultations. The Utah State Bar also offers the Modest Means Lawyer Referral Program to help Utah residents find a more affordable attorney.

The Bar also incorporated the Licensed Paralegal Practitioners Program that permits paralegals to help clients in specific family law matters or other legal issues. But Donosso emphasizes caution when using the paralegal program because she spends a lot of her time correcting mistakes made by people who aren’t attorneys.

“Paralegals cannot go to court,” she said. “Even if they fill out some form for you, they can’t argue that in front of the commissioner or the judge. And if you don’t even understand what that form says, then you’ve just spent [a lot of money] having forms filled out by someone who can’t even practice law.”

Having the case done correctly the first time saves clients frustration, expense and time. Trujillo Acosta Law (1258 W. South Jordan Pkwy, Ste. 303) was honored as a Top 10 Immigration Law Firm by Attorney and Practice Magazine. Donosso said the firm works within the Modest Means Program, providing reduced rate or flat rate fees for low-income clients. Each attorney also takes on a few pro bono cases each year. 

“It’s just the philosophy of our firm that we think people should have access to competent representation,” she said. λ