Today, April 9th, is “Be Kind to Your Lawyer Day”. I know lawyers aren’t in the most popular profession and I can appreciate why people may not like us. We are expensive, we are often difficult to get a hold of, and when we do get back to you, we are sometimes the harbinger of bad news.
Despite your opinion of lawyers, Americans and immigrants need to give thanks and kindness to the last line of defense in protecting our constitutional rights in this country — yes, our immigration lawyers.
On January 28, 2017, my fellow immigration legal colleagues and I walked into Newark Airport at night not knowing what to expect or do in response to President Donald Trump’s Muslim travel ban. Hours later, we emerged as human rights advocates. Since then, my colleagues and I have had to wrestle with complex legal issues, ranging from family separation, decisions from former Attorney General Jeff Sessions reversing established case law, and the President’s harsh “Remain in Mexico” asylum ban policy. During this time, I have experienced exhaustion and burnout. I have wrestled constantly with emotional turmoil as I listen to the traumatic stories of what my immigrant clients have suffered. Their stories will never be erased from my memory. Although I am not a counselor or therapist, my immigration clients turn to me as their place of refuge and protection.
It is on a day like today that I ask my fellow attorney colleagues, family, friends, and clients to be gentle and kind to us at times. We carry and solve your legal problems for you; however, no one ever asks how we are doing. Be kind and send a nice note or just give us a mental health day.