I get a lot of questions about immigration–every day. Questions about how to immigrate and get visas to Canada and the US come fast and furious.
We get emails, phone calls, Facebook messages and Tweets non stop. And that is why we are here. To help. But every once and a while I get a strange question: “Michael, are you Jewish?” Now the last time I checked being Jewish or not has nothing to do with being a good (or bad) immigration lawyer. Yet I still get asked this from time to time.
I guess the reason is maybe Jewish lawyers have a good reputation in general. Or bad, depending on who you ask. I for one, do not believe for a second that any one’s ethnicity or religious group is determinative of anybody’s ability to be good or bad at anything, including lawyer skills. One’s ability, personal ethics and even personality in general are individual. Of course we are all influenced by our culture and backgrouds. But at the end of the day, we are who we are based on our own characters.
So when I am asked whether or not I am Jewish, I tell people that yes I grew up in a Jewish family but do you have a question about immigration? In most cases, that does the trick to deflect the topic to the more relevant issues at hand. I am not insulted when someone asks if I am Jewish. Rather I want to be hired as an immigration lawyer because of my experience and skills as one; not because of some perception that Jewish lawyers are good. We deal with literally 100s of different ethnic groups and I have learned that there really are more similarities with people than are differences.
I know a lot of great Jewish lawyers and unfortunately some not so good ones. But the same holds true for all groups. At the end of the day, it is about your reputation and your reputation stands or falls based on your track record not your religion.
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