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I recently had an opportunity to speak with Jorge Pardo, a board certified specialist in immigration law who practices in Charlotte at the Pardo Law Firm.

Q: Tell us about yourself. 

I immigrated from Ecuador in the ’90s and have lived in Charlotte since 2005. After graduating from high school, I wanted to follow my parents’ footsteps and pursue a career in banking; however, I found my passion in immigration law and have been practicing it since I graduated from law school in 2012. I am the proud father of two boys; one will graduate from Duke University in May 2023 and the other is in second grade. I enjoy dining out with my wife, traveling with my family, and watching my younger son play soccer.

Q: What led you to become an attorney?

Working as an immigration paralegal for some years, I found it very rewarding to help reunite families, and seeing clients legalize their status in the US and achieve their dream of becoming US citizens. I felt that by becoming an attorney, I could do more and make a difference in people’s lives. Although practicing immigration law can be very stressful, it is also extremely rewarding.

Q: Why did you pursue becoming a board certified specialist in immigration law? 

Since my practice is dedicated exclusively to immigration law, I felt it was important to add the specialist distinction to my years of experience. Becoming a board certified specialist would also give me the confidence to market my services at a higher level. Preparing for the certification exam served as an opportunity to do a comprehensive review of all areas of immigration law (which changes constantly) to better serve and advise my clients.

Q: Are there any hot topics in your specialty area right now?

Immigration law changes constantly and every week there is something new that can affect asylum seekers, employment-based petitions, non-immigrant visas, etc. However, something that is affecting almost all applicants is processing delays by government agencies. It is something that is as frustrating for our clients as it is for us. US Citizenship and Immigration Services is facing huge backlogs. According to the Ombudsman, the backlog was around 2.7 million cases in July 2019. By comparison, the backlog now has more than 5 million cases. This impacts our clients’ ability to work legally, renew/obtain driver’s licenses, travel, and other benefits.

Q: What is most rewarding about your work?

The most rewarding part of being an immigration attorney is knowing that our work can have a huge impact on improving people’s lives and their future in the US. It gives me great joy when clients achieve their goal of legalizing their status or reuniting with their loved ones. When I get a call or a visit from a client to thank us for our work, or when they send us a photo of their family (reunited after many years apart), it gives me a sense of satisfaction that is lasting and priceless.

Q: What aspect of your daily job interests you the most?

The complexities of each case pose a different challenge from client to client. The ability to strategize law concepts as they apply to a case and find viable solutions for my clients keeps me engaged and interested in all my cases.

Q: What is the best advice you’ve ever given and/or received?

The best advice I ever received was to be aware of my emotional health. Practicing immigration law can be very stressful and we can’t help but feel for our clients to the point that it affects us as well. To strike a balance and be able to compartmentalize each client’s situation with my emotional well-being is how I have been able to maintain a healthy balance.

Q: How has certification been helpful to your career in immigration law?

Being a board certified specialist in immigration law has allowed me to increase my confidence to market myself among the best in the field. It has given a higher level of prestige to my practice while allowing me to feel better equipped to advise my clients. Some clients have also shared that they made the decision to hire me because of my board certification.

Q: What would you say to encourage other lawyers to pursue certification?

Whatever area of law you practice, being a certified specialist is invaluable to a lawyer’s career. Having a board certification puts you in a better position to market and value your practice, as many customers look for someone with not only years of experience, but also a board certification. Studying and preparing for the certification exam has the added bonus of expanding your knowledge and serving as a refresher of what you already know—it is a win-win.

Q: What is your next goal in life? 

My next goal is to truly achieve a work/life balance. To me, that means being able to fully dedicate myself to my clients and their cases, as well as to my staff while I am at work, and then being able to fully enjoy my time with my family once I leave the office. n

For more information on board certification for lawyers, visit us online at nclawspecialists. gov.