Most people have a specific image in mind when I say I’m a lawyer. Suited up, arguing in court. Stacks of files on my desk with a shelf full of leatherbound law books behind me. Constant IV coffee drip to keep it all going. This isn’t totally inaccurate but we’re finding more balance in 2024!
I’ve been a practicing attorney since 2018, and I work exclusively in immigration law. I’ve been with McEntee Law Group for almost three years. As a Chicago native, I’m grateful to be working in the city I love most but my clients are actually from all over. Every workday is truly different but here’s a snapshot of a typical day in my life as an immigration attorney.
A Typical Day for an Immigration Attorney
6:00 am – Wake up
I’ve had to become a morning person out of necessity. I have a 3-year-old and like to squeeze in a workout (usually barre), a coffee (usually black), and a bit of work before I bring him to school.
8:30 am – Arrive at office
Our team has a flexible work from home policy but I prefer to be in office to review any cases that need to be filed. I usually start by answering emails and setting my priorities for the day. Clearing my inbox is a big undertaking so I cap myself at an hour or so until the afternoon. In immigration, the law hasn’t changed for a long time but the policies (the way laws are implemented) are constantly in flux. This is usually when I familiarize myself with any recent changes.
10:00 am – Meetings
Every Monday our team meets to celebrate our wins, review goals for the week ahead, and address any questions or concerns. We reserve time at the end of the meeting to go over pop culture updates and any hot goss. It’s great for the soul. We also meet by practice group to go over the status of any active cases.
11:00 am – Consultations
I meet with potential clients to understand their unique situation, assess their immigration options, and discuss a plan moving forward. Sometimes that means deciding to work together, sometimes referring them to other resources they might need, and other times helping the person understand there just isn’t a good option for them at the moment. That’s always a hard conversation but I’m glad to bring some clarity about our complicated immigration system.
12:00 pm – Lunch
As my mom often said growing up, we have food at home! So while I have lofty ambitions to pack a lunch, our team often orders in together. It’s Chicago! We’re spoiled with endless, delicious options around the neighborhood. Middle eastern and Mexican are some of our favorite go-to’s.
1:00 pm – Case review
My team and I prepare and file immigration applications, which usually involve a lot of paperwork. We work with clients to gather the required information and documents, complete the applicable forms, and ensure all deadlines are met.
2:00 pm – Government interviews
Some days I may go with a client to their green card or citizenship interview at USCIS (the agency that administers immigration benefits). This involves going to the local field office where an immigration officer decides whether my client is eligible for the benefit they are requesting. We come prepared with any evidence to support the client’s case. It’s always a great day when we walk out with the approval and can celebrate a bright new chapter in their life.
On most days, I communicate with various government agencies who are involved in the immigration process including USCIS, Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE), the state department, or an embassy.
3:00 pm – EOD Mash up
Afternoons are a mix of emails, calls, and casework. I’ll wrap up any current projects and try really really hard not to start brand new ones. My kiddo has occupational therapy a couple of times a week so I will leave to do that and come back to any unfinished items afterwards. Sometimes I will work on recording some videos for our firm’s Tik Tok, Instagram and YouTube too. I have a lot of fun with these!
6:00 pm – Rest and reset
I try my best to reserve evenings for myself and family, but sometimes work does make its way through. These days, I cook and Netflix to decompress. I’m currently in my Korean stew era and re-watching The OC.
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