Voice

January-February 2012

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SPOTLIGHT by Matthew Porter How to Market Oneself in Changing Times I am a fan of the American poet laureate, Bob Dylan. He wrote songs that relay axiomatic con- ditions of the human experience. When Dylan sang, "You better start swimmin' or you'll sink like a stone, for the times they are a-changin'," he cap- tured the spirit of social and political upheaval that characterized the 1960s. Like a teacher using a met- aphor as a tool for enlightenment, Dylan's anthem for change dared people to go outside their comfort zones and overcome the obstacles that stood in the way of change. This idea can inspire today's young business immigration lawyer to embrace the change that governs the practice of immigration law and market oneself in a new and unique way. The Changing H-1B Visa Case in point: On January 8, 2010, Donald Neufeld, U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) Associate Director, Service Center Opera- tions, issued a memorandum that immediately sent shock waves through the legal and business commu- nity. USCIS's stated purpose for issuing the "Neufeld memo" was to strengthen the integrity of the H-1B program by making USCIS's requests for evidence (RFE) more consistent and reliable, which the agency believed would level the playing field for those seek- ing H-1B benefits. The memo, however, caused a shiſt away from approving H-1B visas for beneficia- ries working as third-party worksite consultants. It, therefore, became less cost-effective for companies to sponsor and employ foreign workers under the H-1B program because of the additional work necessary and the higher likelihood that an application would receive an RFE. Business immigration lawyers need- ed to build the attorney-client relationship during a tumultuous period with the intent of assuring clients that the H-1B visa was still viable. Here is where the skills of marketing come into play. The Four "Ps" of Immigration Marketing In the quest to find answers to problems caused by 14 VOICE immigration policy changes, the business immigration lawyer may discover that building a successful practice and marketing oneself in a fickle environment lies in the ability to use change to his or her advantage. The young immigration lawyer—whether recently admit- ted to the bar or having just hung his or her shingle— can use the Neufeld memo, or any other changing rule or agency guidelines, as a marketing tool. In every industry, there are four major elements of a business's marketing mix: (1) product, (2) price, (3) promotion, and (4) place. These are commonly known as the "four Ps" of marketing. In the immigra- tion context, the four Ps have a slight variation. They are (1) product, (2) promotion, (3) partnership, and (4) providing a path. Each change in the law pres- ents a new opportunity to provide better services to the client (product), establish oneself as the expert on that subject (promotion), and create an ongoing relationship through collaboration with the client (partnership) to provide new processes or procedures (providing the path) to achieve a client's goals. How to Use the Neufeld Memo The Neufeld memo, for example, sets forth chang- es in immigration policy that provide an immigra- tion lawyer the perfect opportunity to put the four Ps of immigration marketing into practice. The memo sets forth 11 factors that must be addressed in preparing any third-party placement H-1B visa—whether for a request for extension, transfer, or new petition. It effectively requires employers to fundamentally change the way they hire and man- age their employees. The business immigration lawyer can strengthen client relationships by clearly explain- ing what new evidence is necessary under the changing policy, and, more importantly, why it is now necessary. For an H-1B visa in the post–Neufeld memo era, a new employee's duties should

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