Tisha Dodge believes an entrepreneur can make a profit AND serve a greater good. Her law firm, Dodge Legal Group, SPC, is the first and presumed only Texas Social Purpose Corporate Law Firm in Texas and provides legal services to social enterprises, start-ups, established businesses, and non-profits, empowering you with legal knowledge to maximize business growth.

Tisha is able to assist you with legal advice as a lawyer and with practical advice as a fellow business owner. In the first six months of opening her own business, she doubled her previous annual income. She now provides services to help other business owners to achieve the same success and to give back to the community that helped her. 

Tisha has been selected to assist in national conference training for Small Business Development Professionals (sponsored by the U.S. Small Business Administration) from across the U.S., Canada, and Latin America in 2012-2022. She also serves as an Adjunct Law Professor at Texas A&M University School of Law in its Community Development & Entrepreneurship Law Clinic, providing entrepreneurial services to underserved communities while simultaneously training law students, lecturing on Business Entities and Creating & Operating Nonprofits.

Practice areas include: business formations, contract law, employment law, intellectual property, and Internet law known as cybersquatting (domain name disputes).

What inspired you to start your business? 

I had no intention of starting my own business. At the time, I was the first woman and the first minority law partner in the law firm I was working in. The law firm wanted me to start a new niche area of law practice, so we targeted startup businesses.  To meet entrepreneurs, I enrolled in a startup business course where I wrote a business plan for a fake law firm as an exercise. Then a client offered to send me more work if I started my own law firm. My business plan was ready, and I took a leap of faith. I decided to try it as an “experiment” with the intention to return to my employer within a year. In the first six months of starting my business, my revenues were double my previous annual salary. It’s been roughly 20 years now of “experimenting.”

What has the journey to entrepreneurship looked like for you?

As a lawyer, I represent many startup businesses. Like most entrepreneurs, my business had its ups and downs. The internet sells entrepreneurs on the idea that starting a business is smooth incline of perpetual, upwards, financial growth. My experience as a business owner, and the experience of my entrepreneurial clients, is that businesses can have great years of financial success, and not so great years. And revenues are not the only measure of success.

A few years into my business, I decided to make my law firm into a social enterprise, which is a hybrid company that has a dual mandate to make a social impact and make a profit. I had always given back to my community and this legal structure reflected what I was already doing and who I am. My law firm became the first, and presumptively only, Social Purpose corporate law firm in the State of Texas. We are dedicated to helping entrepreneurs create a life that they love while making the world a better place. It is a measurable metric of success that personally brings me great joy in this journey of entrepreneurship. 

This move also made me visible to Texas A&M University Law School. I now serve as an Adjunct Professor of Law at A&M, running their Entrepreneurship Law Clinic, where we simultaneously train law students while providing low-income entrepreneurs with free legal services.

What advice would you give to female founders just starting their business?

Let your business be what it wants to be. When you first start your company, everything can feel theoretical. You're taking your best guess as to what products/services your target market wants. As your business grows, it may not go 100% according to your original plan. If this happens, roll with it and adapt. My original plans for my business had to pivot during the pandemic. Then, my law firm was selected to be a grant provider under the CARES Act to provide educational seminars and legal advice at no cost to small business owners for Covid-19 recovery. It was some of the most rewarding work in my career to help business owners who would not have been able to afford legal help when they were in such dire need, and the grant supported my business financially. Be open to unexpected opportunities that align with your values.