Lawyer Monthly - March 2022

EXPERT INSIGHT 52 WWW.LAWYER-MONTHLY.COM | MAR 2022 is an arduous, long, thorough and multistep process. It is layered with competing laws and changes in administrations and policy, now compounded by pandemic-related slowdowns. A uniform US immigration policy is difficult to discern. The Biden Administration has focused on streamlining the system to combat these issues and allow the system to work as it should. There is a long road ahead and there is a deep hole to dig out from, but I am cautiously optimistic about the future. However, ultimately, this does not change the way I handle clients’ needs. I must always be attuned to changing law and policy to avoid roadblocks while proactively educating and communicating with clients about what to expect. Do you foresee any significant trends in immigration law in the near future? I look forward to the continued modernisation of the US immigration system that incorporates technology with humanity. Automation must include a human component, or any efficiency gained will be diminished by the lives ruined. Checking or filling in boxes cannot possibly capture an applicant’s story or accurately demonstrate eligibility; the world is not so black and white. Potential clients must understand this, and that they should, at a minimum, get a consultation from an experienced attorney before they seek any immigration benefit alone or through the use of an online service. It is much more difficult, and expensive, to undo a mistake than it is to just do it right the first time. The US immigration system quite literally makes life and death decisions every day. Tempered technological growth with the continued training of adjudicating officers is the only way the system can serve its purpose. USCIS recently updated their agency mission statement to state: “USCIS upholds America’s promise as a nation of welcome and possibility with fairness, integrity, and respect for all we serve.” This statement reflects the current administration’s focus on empowering the people of USCIS to restore the integrity of our immigration system through their interactions. In your opinion, how effective is law school in preparing students for the realities of handling immigration law? Law school is only as effective as the student’s pursuit of the knowledge they offer. I took advantage of different classes and varied opportunities to discover not only the field of law I wanted to pursue, but also my attorney temperament. I worked for an eviction avoidance program, a hotline that connected middle income earners with lower cost legal assistance, a refugee rights organisation, a county judge, an immigrants’ rights nonprofit and a private immigration firm. Through all of these experiences I learned more about what kind of an attorney I should be. Of course, entering the practice of law had a steep learning curve, but having a strong foundation in both the field and who I am gave me the scaffolding needed to jump right into serving my clients. What do you feel are the qualities that make for a good immigration lawyer? An immigration attorney must know the law to ask the right questions, but they equally must listen. Your client’s story is the most important part of their case. You need to understand who they are, what they have been through, and where they want to go. Sometimes, the client needs to make tough choices about the level of risk they are comfortable with to achieve their goal. The best attorneys will

RkJQdWJsaXNoZXIy Mjk3Mzkz