Harnessing the Talents of the Extended Family to Create a Business and Build Generational Wealth


Mixing family and business is a delicate balance that can be tricky to navigate. But Antiguan-born attorney Marcus Jarvis and his sister Delacy Jarvis-Thomas, two of four sibling attorneys in the family, have demonstrated that family can work together despite challenging circumstances.

Law partners, Marcus and Delacy, were guests on a recent episode of LIKKLE BYTE IDEAS, aweekly show hosted by SamuelFields Consulting Group that addresses Financial Wellness.  As partners of Jarvis-Fleming Law, a Minnesota based firm specializing in immigration law and criminal defense, these siblings currently employ 10 family members in various aspects of the business. Using technology such as ABACUS, a robust case management system, family members throughout the United States contribute their diverse skill sets to support the rapid growth and expansion of the firm. These sibling law partners expressed commitment to nurturing and developing their firm as a successful family enterprise.

“Despite our reliance on technology and innovation, good communication and mutual respect are vital. Each person must make their requirements and expectations clear. At the same time, we must all understand and commit to each other’s needs,”Marcus said.

A former aviator who began his career as a mechanic at LIAT (1974) Ltd, Marcus Jarvis migrated to the US and attended Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University, Daytona Beach, FL. He worked with Northwest Airlines until the organization merged with Delta in 2005 and he was laid off. Jarvis had begun attending Law School and embarked on a new career path.

After Marcus opened his Minnesota firm, his sister Delacy, a former Chemist with 3M, also qualified as a lawyer and joined him as a partner.  As his business grew Jarvis began to explore how his extended family could contribute to growing the business, build wealth and collectively invest in the future.

Jarvis acknowledges that the meaningful relationships that make up a family do not just emerge, but must be cultivated. Moreover, among the younger generation differences in culture, values, traditions, and skills must be considered.

Delacy Jarvis-Thomas believes that families must protect and care for each other and they have a responsibility to help raise a new generation of adults capable of surviving in a challenging world. She describes family as an emotional entity that must use its resources to not only sustain its financial goals, but also nonfinancial goals.

“Our family is tied together not just by blood, but by shared ownership of assets and a commitment to deliver superior service to our clients. As we grow the business and build wealth we must continuously invest in family development. This will create a virtuous circle which supports the continual success of the family enterprise, “ Jarvis-Thomas said.

The eldest of 8 children, Jarvis-Fleming Law employs siblings, nieces and nephews, in-laws and cousins. Although employees hail from different households, Jarvis posits that the family is united by shared values, mutual goals, and a focus on empowering future generations. Although they are dispersed across the USA, they maintain strong family ties, identity and culture, through frequent contact and organized meetings.

“Two of my sisters are very involved in the strategic planning of the firm. Other family members complete immigration forms, do research, and other tasks. We are trying to get the grandchildren and great grandchildren of Edward Jarvis and Inger Fleming-Jarvis more involved. It would be nice for a few of them to become attorneys to take over from us. If any blood relative is interested in becoming an attorney, an opportunity exists for you to be involved,” said Marcus Jarvis.

He believes that building a family business has many benefits for future generations and the community. One of the imperatives of the firm is to ensure that his parents, who are both octogenarians, are provided for financially.  There is also a retirement plan for family members.

“Family enterprises cannot sustain their connection without personal relationships among the widespread family members. If the relationships do not exist, enterprises may operate as a business, but not necessarily a family,” Jarvis said.

He believes that one of the key things  in creating a great family is balancing the past and the present with the future. Relatives must create relationships within their generation and also across generations. Older family members must mentor and teach younger ones.

As immigrants pursuing the American dream the Jarvis-Fleming family shares a special legacy of perseverance and a set of goals that are rare to experience with non-family members. This mindset of determination also applies to the extended family and Marcus works with cousins and others in the community, to transmit the family heritage and create economic opportunities.

As the Jarvis’ prepare to travel to Antigua for their aunt’s 90th Birthday celebration, They look forward to seeing their mother, Inger Fleming-Jarvis bond with her siblings and others in her generation. Elders in the family are revered as “wisdom keepers” and their stories of determination and survival  are valued.

“My elders share many similar stories that define their legacy that includes many triumphs and successes. Families perpetuate themselves by sharing their history, celebrating milestones, and remembering past achievements. These stories can be a source of inspiration for the next generation to work together and recognize that we can achieve more together,” said Delacy Jarvis-Thomas.

Click on to listen to the show: https://www.youtube.com/live/AzjpdX53GXE?si=477BGFL4v3DI6_Bf

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  1. A good read about commitment, not only to self, but to family and the wider community as well.

    Jumbee_Picknee aka Ras Smood
    De’ole Dutty Peg🦶🏿Garrat_Bastard

    Vere C. Edwards

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