Some of you may know that I write a column on marketing for the American Bar Association magazine Law Practice. This month, my column is on a subject that’s pretty important to me as an immigration lawyer – legislative and policy advocacy. I don’t call it “lobbying” because the term implies working in that profession. I’m not paid to lobby and the issues I work on are of my own choosing rather than at the request of a particular client or industry group.
Most lawyers are already advocates, but for the most part our advocacy is reserved for the courtroom or making the case for a client seeking a benefit from a government agency. But a lot of the best lawyers I know go a step further. They make the case to government agencies and to legislators on what isn’t working in the law. As lawyers, we’re in a better position than most to see the faults in the system and what changes are needed. That’s certainly been the case when it comes to immigration law and I’ve been happy to play a small role in this effort. That includes helping to draft bill language, testifying in front of a congressional committee, commenting on government regulations, speaking at public forums on immigration reform and working through bar organizations like the American Immigration Lawyers Association and the IMG Taskforce to promote positive change. And, of course, legislative advocacy is one of my most important goals in writing this blog.
The tie in with marketing is fairly obvious. Some of the lawyers most successful in the courtroom are those with passion who really demonstrate they care about their clients’ fates. The best courtroom lawyers also are successful because they love what they’re doing. And that’s true as well for legislative and policy advocacy. I’m a true believer in the benefits of immigration and being able to engage in advocacy to improve the law gives me great satisfaction. I know that’s the case for many of my colleagues around the country and if that happens to help our practices, even better.