Indian-born lawyer makes his mark in the US legal industry

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At 40, Benson Varghese has amassed an impressive collection of accomplishments. The Indian-born attorney is the founder and managing partner of Varghese Summersett, one of North Texas’ largest and fastest growing criminal defense and family law firms.


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Benson Varghese

It is also launching new case management software for law firms called Lawft, which is expected to transform the way lawyers conduct their legal business.

Varghese credits his success and entrepreneurship, in part, to growing up on a hard rubber plantation in a small village in southern India.

“Hard times, closed doors and a lot of rejection helped me get to where I am today,” Varghese said. “Instead of letting setbacks define me, they pushed me to work harder. Circumstances forced me to find my own path and develop a unique perspective, which allows me to see possibilities where others sometimes see obstacles.”

Varghese was born in Kerala, in a beautiful but small village in southern India. He was the second of three children and the only son of Varghese Mathai and Rachel Varghese.

When Varghese was a toddler, his family moved to the United States after his mother took a job as a nurse in Dallas, Texas.

“At the time, America needed nurses, and that paved the way for us,” he said. “And, of course, my parents wanted us to have better opportunities than what was available in Kerala.”

But by the time Varghese was in middle school, his parents realized he had to go back to India.

“Let’s just say I was a bit of a temperamental youngster,” Varghese said. “I started to deal with dust in the schoolyard and fights. My parents decided that it was better for me to go back to India. The plan, initially, was for me to go to a boarding school Luckily for me, that plan quickly changed to living and working on a rubber plantation my father had purchased years earlier.”

So, in 6th grade, Varghese found himself on a plane bound for India.

“It was only my second time back to India,” Varghese said. “I had been there once before for my uncle’s wedding, when I was 6 or 7, but it was a relatively short trip. And, of course, I didn’t speak the language.”

“I was literally thrown into the depths of a new country, a new culture, a new language and a new way of life.”

Exploitation of the plantation in India

Kerala, which means “country of coconuts”, is a beautiful place. They call it God’s country. It is a tropical state full of hills, rivers, waterfalls and lush vegetation. The land is rich and perfect for coconut trees, banana trees and rubber trees. Rubber production was the mainstay of the economy at the time.

A few years earlier, Varghese’s father had purchased a rubber plantation, which his grandfather ran while the family lived and worked in the United States.

“It was my dad’s dream house,” Varghese said. “He drove past on his way to school as a kid, so once he could afford it, he bought it. He was planning to retire there one day.”

Sending Varghese back to India was, in part, an effort to give the young man some much-needed discipline. But it was also an opportunity for him to get to know his extended family and, above all, to understand the culture from which he came.

It was also a way for Varghese’s father to keep tabs on his investment: that is, if Varghese didn’t sink him into the ground first.

“I learned how to manage rubber plantation the hard way, making every possible mistake,” Varghese said with a laugh. “You name it, I screwed it up.”

Varghese was ultimately responsible for all aspects of the plantation – from hiring seasonal workers, to managing finances, to ensuring the trees were properly harvested and pressed into usable material.

“That sounds like a lot of responsibility for a teenager and it was,” Varghese said. “And while being in a small village meant that I was living in a somewhat bygone era, it also meant that everyone knew each other and you really couldn’t get in too much trouble.”

Despite the abundance of natural resources – or perhaps because of it – Kerala seemed to be largely untouched by the progress of the rest of the world. The power went out daily. Water was drawn from a well. Hot meals meant chopping firewood. There were no computers in the village and the Internet was unknown.

“I remember sometimes being able to tune into BBC World Radio on the FM band,” Varghese said.

And then there were the monsoons.

For three months of the year, dark clouds covered the sky as torrential rains fell and never seemed to stop.

“The rain was relentless,” Varghese said. “Over time, of course, I’ve come to understand and appreciate that those downpours have brought the parched land to life and prepared it for the seeds that farmers sow in the spring.”

Varghese describes his time in India as the monsoon season of his life.

“In this remote corner of the world, I was forced to grow up and become a man,” Varghese said. “Although it seems alien and sometimes even gloomy, it has prepared me for my future – a future that would not have been possible without the time I spent on this rubber plantation in a small village in the south of India.”

“I was ready for bigger things.”

Return to the United States to achieve the American Dream

Once Varghese turned 18, he applied for American citizenship and returned to Dallas to pursue higher education. He quickly earned his GED and was accepted into the Cox School of Business at Southern Methodist University.

During this time, his father asked him about his long-term plans. He hoped his son would become a lawyer, a dream that the elder Varghese had not been able to realize himself.

“I asked him if he was going to continue his studies in law, and he did not answer,” said Varghese Mathai. “He wanted to be a businessman.”

Varghese graduated from SMU with honors with a business degree and set his sights on earning a master’s degree in business. Much to his father’s chagrin, it didn’t look like Varghese had any intention of going to law school.

And then Varghese changed course – a decision that also changed the trajectory of his life.

Varghese was admitted to Texas Tech University School of Law in Lubbock, where he graduated in 2009 with a Juris Doctor.

With a law degree in hand, Varghese set out to leave his mark on the world. He got a job as a prosecutor with the Tarrant County District Attorney’s Office – a career he said would carry him the rest of his life.

“I really enjoyed the job and thought I would always wear the white hat,” he said.

As a young lawyer, Varghese prosecuted many crimes, such as shoplifting, fighting, and drunk driving. He looked forward to the day when he would be assigned larger and more serious cases.

But at the time, there was very little room for advancement, as Varghese was one of the youngest prosecutors in the office and no one was retiring or leaving.

“I decided to leave and go into private practice, where I could have more control over my career and tap into my entrepreneurial spirit.”

Varghese Summersett was born

In 2014, Varghese quit his job as a prosecutor to start a criminal defense company in Fort Worth. He hung his shingle in a 10 x 15 office using $9,000 in start-up capital he borrowed from his uncle.

Shortly after, Anna Summersett – her legal partner in the Tarrant County District Attorney’s Office and future wife – joins him.

Varghese Summerest was born.

Within three years of the firm’s founding, Varghese Summersett attracted the best and brightest lawyers in North Texas and grew exponentially. The company moved into a beautiful 8,500 square foot space overlooking downtown Fort Worth.

The following year, the company was recognized as the 782nd fastest growing company in the United States by Charger Inc. 5000. The following year, Varghese Summersestt was named the sixth fastest growing company in Fort Worth.

Other awards and accolades followed. Today, Varghese Summersett has more 5-star Google reviews than any other defense firm in Texas – an accolade of which Varghese is most proud.

“Our growth and success is a direct result of our commitment to excellence,” said Varghese. “I’m so proud of what we’ve built and the team we’ve assembled.”

With the rise of criminal cases, the firm has now diversified into family law. Varghese Summersett Family Law Group handles divorces, child custody disputes, division of assets and other emotionally charged family law matters.

And last month, the Criminal Division opened another office in nearby Dallas.

Today, the firm employs approximately 20 team members, including attorneys, paralegals and support staff. And they’re just getting started.

“I’m excited to see what the future holds for Varghese Summersett,” Varghese said. “We are poised for continued growth and success.”

And new adventures.

Varghese has spent the last year designing and developing a new case management software system called Lawft, which will give law firms tools to communicate more effectively with clients, manage caseloads and grow their practices.

“We hope to launch later this year,” Varghese said. “It’s going to be a game-changer for the legal industry. There’s so much technology can do – and we as a profession have been behind almost every other industry. We’re going to change that. I expect that Lawft has two key impacts.The first is the unprecedented growth of law firms.The second is improved access to justice.

He is also working on a book which he hopes to have published in 2023.

“It’s about seeing every closed door as an opportunity,” he said. “It also explains how to build and grow a successful law firm.”

Varghese attributes his success to many values ​​he learned as a teenager while living on the plantation. His accomplishments are a testament to his hard work, courage, generosity and unwavering determination.

“I learned as much about business on this plantation as I did in one of the best business schools in the country,” he said, referring to his undergraduate degree from SMU.

He plans to bring his three sons back to the plantation when they are a bit older. His parents retired there and he wants his boys to see what his formative years were like.

“I want them to see where I’m coming from,” Varghese said. “Those years shaped me who I am today. And I want them to know that anything is possible if you work hard, focus on yourself, and never give up on what’s important to you.”

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