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Regarding Mr. Rinzler’s Open Letter

by Kristina Rost

Reading Mr. Rinzler's open letter in yesterday's edition of disappointed me on many levels. I wonder why the author felt that the information he was referring to was difficult to obtain ("like pulling teeth") - as it is readily obtainable through a number of web resources, and my first year associate was able to get this and related data within an hour of working on the task.

Mr. Rinzler questions the "high" salaries of AILA executives - why not, then, for objectivity's sake, bring statistics to demonstrate the salaries of similarly situated executives in other non-profit organizations of AILA's caliber? For instance, here are few numbers to compare:

  • American Intellectual Property Law Association: with 2009 income of $6,570, 668 the salaries of five executives were $366,844, $306, 231, $240,588, $194,130 and $163, 137;
  • American Health Lawyers Association: with 2009 income of $7,607,022 the salaries of six executives were $571, 517, $240,525, $186, 139, $168,503, $162,739 and $172,739;
  • National Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers: with 2008 income of $4,243,125, the executives' salaries varied between $278,611 to $197,211
  • National Institute for Trial Advocacy: with 2009 income of $7,405,617, the executive salary was $400,628
I have been a member of AILA for over 10 years and I - just as majority of my colleagues - cannot imagine practicing immigration law without it. AILA's network, educational opportunities and its combined force and values, especially in the current economic and political climate are invaluable. Running an organization such as AILA requires talent, dedication and expertise of a caliber that could not be attracted with $40K annual salaries. Imagine the swarm of complaints about how things were being run would be if that were the case!

One of my favorite lawyers, a distinguished Boston medical malpractice attorney once said: "I am an eternal student of the human condition" - and transference to us, practicing immigration lawyers, is unquestionable. We experience so many human personalities and traits not only from our clients but from our fellow practitioners. The task of leading an organization the size of AILA is difficult, and it is inevitable that there will be disagreements among members. However, one can voice disagreement in a respectful and collegial manner avoiding creation of a controversy. It would have been refreshing to read a conclusion in Mr. Rinzler's letter where he offered energetic and constructive suggestions, solutions on how to improve the organization.

Disclaimer: This letter represents a personal opinion. It does not represent the view of AILA or its leadership.

About The Author

Kristina Rost is a partner at Maged & Rost, PC. Kristina's skillful handling of immigration matters has earned her widespread respect among clients and colleagues. Kristina provides immigration counsel to U.S. and international companies in various industries as well as to IRC 501 (c)(3) Nonprofit Organizations. Kristina is the current Chair of the American Immigration Lawyers Association (AILA) Ethics and Professionalism Committee and Ethics Committee both nationally and for the AILA New England Chapter. Before her appointment, Kristina served on the Committee for a number of years and is a frequent speaker on ethical and practice management issues essential to any immigration law practice.

The opinions expressed in this article do not necessarily reflect the opinion of ILW.COM.