Practicing Immigration Law With A Conscience
I read two pretty powerful articles this week that dealt with leading a conscious-driven life in business. It’s possible and may be easier than you think. Some of you may think this is all new-age stuff. Others may just be wondering if I spelled the word “conscience” correctly. (Yes and yes.)
Topping the Twitter charts and leading on LinkedIn posts yesterday was Greg Smith’s resignation letter from Goldman Sachs turned Op-Ed piece on New York Times, which generated a few hundred comments already. Mr. Smith details his disillusionment at the company culture where (allegedly) profit reigned supreme rather than advising based on the client’s needs. It’s a stinging letter but in no way is this article meant to compare the likes of Goldman Sachs’ alleged behaviors with that of my immigration colleagues. (You can read Goldmans Sachs’ response here.)
The second article by David Jones deals with The Three Ages of Socially Responsible Business. Mr. Jones chronicles the developments of each stage: 1) Age of Image 2) Age of Advantage and 3) Age of Damage. He then analyzes and concludes that we as a nation are entering the Age of Damage, whereby businesses that create an image of social conscience and deliver on that image will ultimately thrive and surpass its competitors.
Both authors presume that business should have a conscience – or the pyschic ability to create a culture that attracts good to beget good (and in the process, make some money). Is this too good to be true? The field of immigration practice is fairly unique and I believe it’s actually quite possible.
First, our common goal as immigration service providers is to ensure our clients obtain the immigration benefits they desire. Rather pitting out clients against each other, we’re in the enviable position of pitting our clients against “The Man.” No matter how frustrated, practicing courtesy with our opposing party (The Man) is always in fashion. This applies to all of our written RFE responses, Motions and Appeals. (It also applies to my blog articles, where I try to be fair yet still opinionated.)
Second, ensuring our practice is an ethics-driven one will give us cause for celebration. Most of our state bar associations will have ethics hotlines where we can call to discuss conflicts of interest and other ethical issues. Use it often if you need. Consult with trusted colleagues to benchmark on issues. Develop written policies to address in advance ethical issues so you and your staff will know how to respond. A roadmap is priceless in the event of an actual crisis (and in the event of any legal action against you.)
Third, treat colleagues and staff with respect and compassion. This is the golden rule. I’ll even venture to include our clients, but I assumed that was a given!
Do you already practice all of the above? Please send me your comments.