Voice

April 2014

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Lifestyle 9 What's Trending 9 Inter Alia 9 Get Connected 9 Member Advantage 9 Contact Us u unsolicited advice w the I-9 blog w on the docket w business immigration sponsor: about us: 3 Practice Pointers For the Newbies: How to Hit the Ground Running by Cletus M. Weber S tarting your first job as an immigration lawyer, paralegal, or legal assistant is exciting. Immigration law is a life of never-ending mystery and discovery. e work you do can profoundly improve the lives of your clients, and the vast majority will be deeply grateful for your help. Here are a few tips for geing off to a great start: Learn by Doing, Not by Milking Work is not school. Yes, you need to learn, but you also need to get something done. You learn most by doing more cases, not by trying to milk each cow to death. (An example: my partner gave an assistant a simple marriage petition to photocopy one morning and when asked later that aernoon where it was, the assistant said, "I'm not done reading it. It's just so fascinating.") Take the Ethical Route You have an ethical responsibility to help your clients as much as you reasonably can. But that doesn't give you the legal right to lie, cheat, and steal to protect their interests. Fight like hell, but fight fair. Accuracy Is Speed In immigration law, you are always one signature, one checkbox, one deadline, one critical (and recurring) government-address-change away from severely harming your client's interests—and geing sued for malpractice. Any speed you might have gained by skipping a step or not double-checking can easily become a ten-fold increase in time and effort to resolve. Never Hope At least don't blindly hope. In law, you either know or you don't know. ere is no middle ground. Of course, you cannot predict outcomes in every case, but going in, you have to know exactly what the law and facts are. What you don't know can hurt you … and your client. Each Case Is a New Day No maer how carefully or how long you have been practicing, you inevitably will make a mistake. Always strive to avoid them, especially the big ones. But if you do make one, never hide it from your boss. Ever! See Something, Say Something Your boss and your clients worry a lot, so strive to keep them informed always. By the way, one of the most irritating things for a supervisor is to review a petition, brief, etc., from a subordinate, suggest a different strategy or ask what about XYZ, and then have the subordinate say something like, "Oh yeah, I thought about that, too." Take ownership of your case from the beginning and resolve these issues ahead of time—unless your supervisor tells you otherwise. Live You are embarking on a fascinating, wonderful career. Enjoy it. Always know that happiness is possible, then do what it takes to make it happen. Seek out colleagues or get professional guidance—whatever it takes to get back on track. Best of luck! CLETUS M. WEBER is co-founder of Peng & Weber, PLLC, based in Mercer Island, WA. He is editor-in-chief of AILA's Guide to PERM Labor Certification. The author's views do not necessarily represent the views of AILA nor do they constitute legal advice or representation. Immigration Practice Toolbox + LOCKER TOOLBOX ese tips will add traction to your first steps into immigration law.

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