Today we’d like to introduce you to a young and dynamic lawyer Kweku Darfoor.
Kweku, let’s start with your story. We’d love to hear how you got started and how the journey has been so far.
I always wanted to study law, but I never knew I’d practice as a lawyer. However, my story can’t begin without mentioning my parents. It was during the beginning of the period of military rule in our home country Ghana that they decided to venture to America. At the time, my father was the high commissioner (ambassador equivalent) from Ghana to Sierra Leone. However, instead of choosing to live in constant uncertainty under that regime, he immigrated to this country in the early ’80s with my mother and older sister. My younger sister and I joined them in 1987. My entire journey parallels the risk my parents decided to take in the ’80s by leaving a prestigious career to chase the American dream. I’d like to say my sisters and I were the beneficiaries of the great sacrifices that my parents made. While they never were able to give me much financially, they instilled in me some core traits that I’ve carried with me till this day. Notably a tenacious work ethic, trustworthiness, and empathy. I credit my mother with the latter.
Even though I faced some dire circumstances along the way to eventually starting my own law firm after passing the Florida bar and getting admitted to the bar, these core traits never left me. In fact, I know those circumstances helped shaped the resiliency that I possess today. You’re probably wondering what kind of dire circumstances I could have faced. Well, in my first year of college, I almost died after being rushed to the emergency room for alcohol poisoning. I had to get my stomach pumped. Later in college, a violent and brutal assault left me clinically depressed which caused me to seek professional help. After sitting out a semester, I transferred to a school near my parents home called Florida Atlantic University. At FAU, I rediscovered a lot of the things that I’d lost that made me who I was before. My confidence and self-esteem started to soar in this environment as I became involved in many organizations and even re-established the NAACP chapter at FAU along with a few other students. I went on to receive a bachelors in economics from FAU in 2005.
At FAU, I had some amazing professors that took a personal interest in my success. I also formed some bonds with some special people that remain very close to me today. After FAU, I started a string of sales roles including e-commerce, finance/annuity, private mortgage notes, and recruiting and earned my Masters in International Business (MIBA) from Nova Southeastern University in 2008. Another thing happened in 2008; the economy was in the midst of the worst recession in decades and I lost my job. I decided the time had come for me to go to law school. So in 2008, I started my first year of law school at Florida A&M University College of Law. I studied very hard there and placed well enough in my class, which allowed me to transfer to Florida State University College of Law for my final two years of law school.
Darfoor Law Firm was established in 2014 out of the kitchen of one of my best friends home. It’s what you call a true bootstrap business! So, while working a document review gig in Miami during the day, I started working on cases for my firm at night. Initially, only one or two cases would trickle in at a time so I spent most of my time marketing and advertising. After nearly nine months of juggling running my firm and working document review, I made the tough decision to solely focus on building my firm. The reason I say tough is that I went from getting a consistent check every two weeks to a situation of no guarantee of income. It sounded crazy then, but it’s also the best decision I’ve made. To make it even more challenging, my now ex-wife had just relocated from Ghana to join me in South Florida and she wasn’t working either. Imagine that!
My firm practices in two primary areas, notably personal injury, including catastrophic injuries, premises liability, vehicular accidents, and wrongful death and business litigation. Together with my co-counsel, including attorneys Benjamin Crump, Daryl Parks, and Skinner Louis, I currently represent the family of Corey Jones in the civil case against the city of Palm Beach Gardens and Nouman Raja (ex-cop recently convicted of Corey’s killing and sentenced to 25 years in prison). You can never really prepare yourself for having this magnitude of a case this early in your career which gains national and international attention. This pivotal case will forever have a profound effect on me because Corey also happened to be a friend of mine. Corey, his brother C.J., his cousins and I played football together in high school in Palm Beach County. We continue to fight to obtain full justice for his family.
Outside of running the law firm, I enjoy staying engaged in the community by serving on the board of directors of Florida Atlantic University Alumni Association, serving on the board of directors of Urban Philanthropies, and serving on the board of directors of Corey Jones Scholarship Foundation. My firm also annually sponsors a team for the Zo’s Hoop Law Madness Tournament benefiting the Overtown Youth Center in Miami.
My main office is located in downtown Ft. Lauderdale but I handle cases statewide.
Overall, has it been relatively smooth? If not, what were some of the struggles along the way?
Definitely not been a smooth road. I spoke earlier about two separate incidents involving a violent attack I experienced and almost dying from alcohol poisoning. I didn’t speak on the fact that I nearly flunked out of college my first two years. After the violent attack, I suffered severe PTSD and was clinically depressed. I also had many unfortunate encounters with law enforcement in my teens and early-mid twenties. As recent as the time of starting my law firm in 2014, I was sleeping on an air mattress in my friend’s house and didn’t have a car. It’s not been easy along the way, but I also knew what doesn’t break me makes me stronger. With God, nothing is insurmountable.
Darfoor Law Firm – what should we know? What do you guys do best? What sets you apart from the competition?
My firm focuses on catastrophic personal injury cases and business litigation. I’ve always been known as a fierce competitor and that serves me very well as a litigator. I’ve never met a challenge I didn’t like. I’m most proud that my small firm can go into any arena against lawyers from the largest firms with endless resources and still be able to get great results for my clients. I think that also delves into what sets me apart; the understanding that I can always figure out a way to solve a complex situation given enough time because my brain never stops thinking. Professionally, I think about and plan for stuff five years out as if it’s happening next month. However, I’m the most spontaneous person socially.
Has luck played a meaningful role in your life and business?
I don’t leave much to chance (luck). I believe luck is what happens to you when preparation meets opportunity.