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A Better Way of Lawyering

In the midst of our immigration cases, many of us compare our pasts to the various eligibility requirements for immigration benefits and think, "If I had only known then, I would have done things differently." The quote is one I have heard many times from family members, friends, and clients alike. Still, it serves little purpose to dwell on the past when we can act now to remedy the situations barring immigration relief.

In recent months, I have been working on a complicated case for a detained client. His lifelong partner came to us in desperation after he was arrested by immigration authorities. Although his partner was a Legal Permanent Resident, she could not petition for him because they never legally married. They lived together for over ten years and had a young son, but the client's name did not appear on his son's birth certificate, so the relationship was hard to prove. These were two crucial mistakes of the past: no marriage and no recognition as a father on the child's birth certificate.

At a consultation, the all too familiar quote was mentioned several times. However, I offered a different perspective: instead of going to court with a weak case and deeming other reliefs as unfitting, let's fix those mistakes and make the case stronger. Only after doing this should we proceed to court with multiple and much stronger forms of relief.

It was quite the undertaking. Finding a way to make sure that the couple could legally marry while the client was still in detention was very difficult. From petitioning for permission from ICE to perform the marriage, to soliciting a marriage license, and finally to arranging a ceremony in an immigration detention center, it was never an easy task. Nonetheless, we managed the task with a client-centric approach and succeeded.

The experience goes to show two lessons. The first is that in immigration cases, mistakes of the past can be fixed if we do not dwell on them too much and instead focus on constructive action to address the problems in their current form.

The second and perhaps most important lesson is that an immigration attorney's task is more than just applying the law to the client's unique case and executing a basic legal strategy. Rather, it is to think creatively to find relief or to make the existing case stronger.

At Fayad Law, P.C., we do not think of a client's situation as a Cancellation of Removal case or an Asylum case that should be addressed by simply following a basic filing procedure based on the determined form of relief. Instead, we think about the individual people involved in each situation, and whenever the law allows it, we render results that that go beyond filing and arguing for a particular application. We advise our clients on the law, execute legal arguments, and often desire to change a fact or two in our clients' pasts. Sometimes, as the case above shows, the law even allows us to do this. When the law allows it we take advantage of the opportunity by thinking creatively.

At Fayad Law, we think outside the boundaries of immigration law (e.g. family law, criminal law, corporate law, etc.) to bring about the best results for our immigration clients. Our clients know that we are not just immigration attorneys filing asylum applications on their behalf.

We are counselors of law and executors of creative strategies who seek to bring about the results that our clients need. This is how we build strong relationships with clients and the communities they come from. This is how we break through preconceived notions of what attorneys are and what they do. This is why we have established a reputation for providing loyal service to individual clients, rather treating them like nothing more than a legal docket of cases.

Raul Garcia is an associate attorney who serves clients from Fayad Law's Fairfax office. If you need help with any sort of immigration matter, contact the firm to talk to an experienced and effective lawyer.

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