For several months, I've looked into the immigration tea leaves and seen the need to make a major career change. Immigration law has reached game-changing inflection points in the past: The 1986 Immigration Reform and Control Act of 1986; the Immigration Act of 1990; The Illegal Immigration Reform and Immigrant Responsibility Act of 1996.
Each time, developments swept over me, and (luckily) I surfed the waves without a fall into the sea, traversing from solo practice to large, full-service firm, to immigration boutique. While I don't claim the power of clairvoyance, I sensed that my past approach of largely reactive behavior might not work out so well this time. My tea leaf reading told me that:
- The Labor Department, ICE, CPB, State and USCIS (and its FDNS investigators) would continue to focus aggressively on immigration compliance and enforcement, thereby creating a growing demand for lawyers with a depth of bench and broad-ranging expertise in the allied areas of immigration and labor & employment law.
- These conjoined practice areas would also see opportunities for client representation involving immigration-related employment discrimination and government audits to enforce an enhanced array of worker protections.
- The likelihood in the near term of dramatic changes to the legal immigration system and statutory reforms to solve the problems of illegal immigration.
- The demands of globally dispersed enterprises for (i) the worldwide positioning of lawyers through alliances of name-brand immigration experts organized in project teams, (ii) the scalability of service levels based on rising or falling need for immigration legal services; and (iii) use of technology and insourced and outsourced LPO (legal process outsourcing) solutions in ways that promote cost efficacy and innovative value-added services.
- Blue Ocean strategies for devising 21st Century solutions to the changing demands of enterprises for global mobility management, and of individuals and families pursuing the American Dream, however defined (whether in the U.S. or in another country that likewise stands as a land of opportunity and freedom).
With these likely trends in mind, and jazzed for new challenges, I'm winding up my 11-year immigration boutique, Paparelli & Partners LLP, and have happily taken my entire team with me to a very innovative immigration group (with whom we are molto simpatico on culture and values) at the 750+ lawyer firm, Seyfarth Shaw LLP. Wish us well. The future is an exciting prospect.