Rami Fakhoury is the founder and managing director of Fakhoury Global Immigration USA, PC, one of the largest independent immigration practices in the country. He has published extensively as author and editor, including The Consular Posts Book 2015-2016 and The PERM Book, among others. He is a fellow of the American Bar Association; a leading lawyer and equity member of the Alliance of Business Immigration Lawyers; and a recipient of the Global Detroit Champion Award (2016).
What attracted you to immigration law?
I believe that immigrants have long played a central role in the growth of the USA. For me, pursuing a career in immigration law has allowed me to help many skilled and ambitious people to build prosperous and successful careers here. It’s a great feeling to know that you are making a positive contribution not only to your country’s economy and employers but also in the lives of so many people.
What motivated you to establish your own firm?
I was motivated to start my firm because I saw a need to provide immigrants and US companies with services that were both comprehensive and customised for each client’s needs. I also felt that building a firm around the principle of thought leadership would allow me to offer innovative solutions to my clients’ talent mobility goals. As a result, we have built a strong base of loyal clients who have come to depend on us to navigate the often-complex terrain of immigration law.
What was the biggest challenge you faced when setting it up?
Like many starting businesses, our biggest challenge at first was attracting and retaining clients. As we began winning contracts, we had to develop processes and acquire resources that enabled us to provide the quality of service that I thought essential for long-term growth. Anticipating future needs is extremely challenging but we have succeeded in, for example, creating branch offices – including one in India – which gives us the ability to expand while minimising the impact of expansion on our services.
As founder and managing director, how do you ensure Fakhoury Global Immigration stays ahead of the competition?
I would say that our two most important strategies are thought leadership and lean processes. As I said before, thought leadership is critical because clients expect us to be on top of all developments within US and global immigration law. Lean processes refer to using advanced technologies and intelligent workflows to maximise case processing efficiency. Bringing the two together allows us to offer comprehensive services at highly competitive rates.
In an increasingly on-demand society, what can you do as an immigration lawyer to help clients navigate the notoriously slow-moving US immigration system?
Simply put, we treat our clients like partners. Our motto is, “Our team is your team.” The system can be slow and difficult at times, but we work with our clients to make sure that they fully understand the process. We educate them on the petitioning process and the relevant visa qualifications, assist them in devising strategies, provide them with updates and access to our case management system, and host immigration-related events and webinars. By providing a comprehensive range of services, we build our clients’ confidence to make the process less daunting for them.
What are the greatest challenges facing immigration lawyers in the USA?
By far, the greatest challenge that immigration lawyers face is the persistent uncertainty over possible statutory changes as well as changing administrative practices at the USCIS. Clients grow hesitant to initiate petitions out of concern that the immigration laws might change or out of a belief that the process has become more difficult. This has required all immigration lawyers to step up their game. At FGI, we continuously visit clients to explain anticipated changes and to formulate approaches to help their petitions win approval within this more challenging environment.
What are your priorities for the firm’s development over the next five years?
We have identified key economic sectors and geographic regions that are critical to our firm’s overall growth over the next five to 10 years. To expand into these areas, we have been building a team of knowledgeable and experienced attorneys and developing our administrative processes in tandem. This also means that we have been busy training our growing number of legal assistants and paralegals to support this expansion. There are tremendous opportunities out there for firms willing to think outside the box, but you need to lay the groundwork for success. Right now, we are positioning ourselves to take full advantage of these opportunities in the years ahead.
What advice would you give to younger practitioners looking to pursue a career in immigration law?
The best immigration lawyers are those who come to the field with a strong desire and commitment to help others. I would advise anyone looking to pursue a career in immigration law to make sure they are motivated to help immigrants navigate this complex and challenging system. If you have the passion, then the next thing to do is read! Then read some more and, after that, keep reading! Given the continually changing legal landscape, immigration lawyers have to be thought leaders if they are going to produce consistent approvals for their clients. This is a wonderful career path for those who wish to dedicate their lives to helping others to achieve their dreams, but it demands constant learning and adjusting to new realities.
Rami Fakhoury draws widespread international plaudits for his first-class work handling complex immigration matters, particularly across the IT space.
Rami D Fakhoury is the founder and managing director of Fakhoury Global Immigration USA, PC (FGI), one of the largest independently owned business-based immigration law firms in the United States. FGI embodies his life-long belief in immigrants’ vital role in the US economy and advances his goal of helping businesses to fulfil their talent needs. FGI’s clients represent many of the world’s innovative brands in the automotive, IT, engineering, architecture and health care industries. As a published author and an editor, he has organised informational sessions and webinars for businesses, universities and other stakeholders worldwide, and has presented to the American Immigration Lawyers Association (AILA) on several occasions. Mr Fakhoury has received multiple recognitions including being named a fellow of the American Bar Association, a “leading lawyer” and equity member of the Alliance of Business Immigration Lawyers for 2018, a Global Thought Leader in Immigration by Who’s Who Legal, Super Lawyers 2017 and a Global Detroit Champion Award in 2016. FGI has been recognised as an AV ranked firm with Martindale-Hubbard, a US News and World Report Best Law Firm for 2016 and 2017, and Corporate NTL’s Global Immigration Law Firm of the Year for Excellence. Mr Fakhoury is also a member of the State Bar of Michigan (International Law Section), the immigration law committee of the International Business Association and the Centre of International Legal Studies in Salzburg, Austria.