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The Value of Advocacy and Empathy in Immigration Law With Alexandra Michailov

August 16, 2023   |   Written by Gladiator Law Marketing
Alexandra Michailov Alexandra MichailovAlexandra Michailov is the Founder and Principal Attorney at Capitol Immigration Law Group, a boutique law firm specializing in cross-border immigration matters, including employment-based immigration benefits, corporate compliance, and family-based immigration. With a decade of experience, Alexandra leads the immigration practice at the firm, advising corporate and individual clients in the US and internationally. Her expertise extends to the mobility of key foreign executives, specialized knowledge workers, international entrepreneurs, and foreign nationals. She is knowledgeable in international law and has conducted legal research for the World Bank Group in Washington, D.C.
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Here’s a glimpse of what you’ll learn:

  • Alexandra Michailov discusses how Capitol immigration Law Group services their clients
  • What are specialized knowledge individuals?
  • Who are Capitol Immigration Law Group’s ideal clients?
  • Aspects of the law firm that differentiate it from competitors
  • Alexandra’s motivation for launching her own firm — and why she prioritized business development and marketing strategies
  • Advice on next steps for law school graduates

In this episode…

Immigrating to a new country is a journey filled with hopes, dreams, and the unshakable human spirit, yet it comes with its own challenges. Each individual story contains a complex web of legal intricacies that only a select few truly understand. Meet Alexandra Michailov, a seasoned attorney and managing partner at Capitol Immigration Law Group. Alexandra has extensive experience in immigration law, offering her legal expertise to individuals, families, and businesses. Having navigated through this system herself, she blends empathy and understanding with her legal acumen to provide the best possible support for her clients. In this episode of the 15 Minutes, host Bela Musits sits down with Alexandra Michailov to discuss her journey to becoming a successful immigration attorney. Alexandra shares how her firm services specialized knowledge individuals, aspects of her business that differentiate from its competitors, and why she decided to prioritize business development and marketing strategies when launching the firm. Tune in to learn about immigration law from an attorney who has personal experience with the process.

Resources mentioned in this episode:

Sponsor for this episode…

This episode is brought to you by Gladiator Law Marketing, where we deliver tailor-made services to help you accomplish your objectives and maximize your growth potential. To have a successful marketing campaign and make sure you’re getting the best ROI, your firm needs to have a better website and better content. At Gladiator Law Marketing, we use artificial intelligence, machine learning, and decades of experience to outperform the competition. To learn more, go to gladiatorlawmarketing.com or schedule a free marketing consultation. You can also send an email to adam@gladiatorlawmarketing.com.

Episode Transcript

Intro  0:01   You’re listening to 15 Minutes, where we feature community leaders sharing what the rest of us should know but likely don’t. Bela Musits  0:12   Hello, listeners. I’m Bela Musits, the host for this episode of the 15 Minutes Share Your Voice podcast, where we talk to top notch law firms and attorneys about what it takes to grow a successful law practice. This episode is brought to you by Gladiator Law Marketing, delivering tailor made services to help your law firm accomplish its objectives and maximize your growth potential to have a successful marketing campaign. And to make sure you’re getting the best return on investment, your firm needs to have a better website and better content. Gladiator Law Marketing uses artificial intelligence, machine learning and decades of experience to outperform the competition. To learn more, go to gladiatorlawmarketing.com where you can schedule a free marketing consultation. Today’s guest on the podcast is attorney Alexandra Michailov. She is the founder and principal attorney at Capitol Immigration Law Group. The firm works with clients on cross border immigration matters, with particular emphasis on the mobility of key foreign executives, specialized specialized knowledge workers, and foreign nationals with extraordinary ability. Welcome to the podcast, Alexandra. Alexandra Michailov  1:28   Thank you. Thank you so much. Thank you for the invitation. Happy to be here. Bela Musits  1:31   You’re very welcome. Hey, tell us a little bit about your law firms. I did a brief introduction. But layer that on the back one more level? Alexandra Michailov  1:40   Yes, sure. So we mainly do immigration, immigration work, we are located right outside Washington, DC. And we mainly work with corporate clients, but individual clients who can approach us and it’s really that’s high skilled immigration. So you probably hear about, you know, Facebook or other tech companies, they are struggling with finding skilled people, skilled, skilled individuals who are working with, you know, software development or other sort of skilled positions. So we really help them we help those clients, we do not work with Facebook, obviously. But our sort of ideal client is really a tech company that would have 10 or 20 foreign nationals. And they do have different type of work visas, the most common is h1, B word visa, and then we transition transition them to green cards. So it’s really that kind of integration support for corporate clients who have individuals needing work visas or a green cards, we also work with individual clients. So a smaller part probably of our immigration practice is family based immigration, where you know, the most common is probably a US citizen getting married to a foreign national, and then they have to sponsor them. Also for a green card, which is our it’s very nice and fulfilling to sort of work with the individuals and just just connecting their families together. So I would say this is really the bread and butter for for our practice and very fulfilling, very, very nice. We don’t do any removal. I also feel like there is also that other practice of immigration that is a little bit more heartbreaking of, you know, the petition to remove all people where you actually have to send them back to their home countries. Yeah, don’t do that. I sort of feel like we do the positive part of the immigration that we actually bring people here, the skilled people, the smart people, the people that we really want here, and the family unification the individuals who are getting married or bringing spouses, children to the US. So really our practice. Bela Musits  3:55   Very nice, very nice. That must be very fulfilling, right? Because you’re you’re helping people accomplish some of their big objectives that are very important matters in their life, and they’re life changing for those individuals. Alexandra Michailov  4:08   Yeah, absolutely. I mean, they definitely go through a lot of anxiety and stress. And but you know, when we tried to do you know, the best we can, so usually we hoping that the end is going to be successful and nice. But the whole process I would say, as you probably can imagine, and you hearing about the immigration, it’s long. There are backlogs. So we try to help our clients and I always say I’m originally from Poland, so I always tell my clients look, I went through what you meant. I came as a student, I had a work visa myself and I was sponsored for a green card. So I honestly went through what most of my clients are going through and sort of understand and anticipate the anxieties that they might go into. Bela Musits  4:53   Yeah, yeah. Excellent. So when I read the intro, one of the one of the areas you specialized in is is specialized knowledge individuals, what does that mean? Alexandra Michailov  5:05   So it’s really not technical knowledge typically is that technical knowledge that, you know, they would be the individuals who are, for example, they are finishing colleges here in the US, and they are graduating with degrees in software development or, you know, engineering it and the type of those fields. And, and then they find jobs here in the US. And they have to go in order to stay in the US, they have to really go to the integration system that the company has to sponsor. So we do those specialized knowledge visa. So that’s, that’s one type when someone is in the US, and typically, again, they graduate from US colleges, and that is a transition for them. international clients. So if there is a company that has multiple officers, in different countries, so they are also those companies that are allowed to bring the individuals from, let’s say, they have a branch in India, or they would have a branch in China, or somewhere else. And they would have engineers or some other specialized knowledge individuals, and the US company would need them, right. So for example, they would say we need someone who already has experience with our Indian branch, and we need them here in the US for a period of I don’t know, one, two or three years. Also a different immigration option for those individuals to come here. Again, this is really all very, very smart people, you know, much smarter probably than you and me they have degrees in engineering at and you know, they’re doing everything that is permissible and legal. So this is really high skilled, legal immigration that we don’t think about. Bela Musits  6:41   Yes. So is there like a list that the US government puts out that these are the types of skills we’re looking for? Or does the company need to demonstrate that they have looked for these types of skills with existing people that are here in this country? And they can’t find them? And then they they petition that, hey, this is the individual who can fulfill that? Alexandra Michailov  7:03   Yeah, that’s a very good question. So for for the work visa work, visa is really just temporary stay. So for that, we do not have to document that the company was still looking for a US worker, we they have to document that they have that technical technical need in the US immigration office here is, you know, it’s reviewing that carefully, they do not grant that visa to absolutely everyone and anyone. So I would say you know, they are scrutinizing this type of applications. Before they actually say, Okay, we agree that this person has a technical knowledge. And we agree that this person can come here on the Green Card site. So when someone so for example, when it company in the US is saying, Okay, now we want this individual to stay here permanently, and we will sponsor him for a green card, meaning that they’re gonna stay in the US in that case, there is that protection of the US market. And the US workers have priority. So the company had us have to engage in sort of few steps, they are actually quite extensive and long to look, first for us workers to see if they would be US workers, qualified and willing and able. So that’s a valid question. Because yes, we do here this questions from sort of the US population that well, you know, US workers should have priority. And this is actually the legal environment for green card application that the company has engaged in that. Bela Musits  8:30   Yes. Now, this, to me sounds like a very specialized branch of a legal practice. Because the laws are probably very complex. They’re probably changing a lot. And so if a company has this need, that, to me, it sounds like it makes a lot of sense to find a firm like yourselves. That’s very specialized. And this is what you do, and this is what you focus on. Alexandra Michailov  8:58   Yes, yes, definitely. We know that, you know, if there is like an international organization that they are bringing, you know, that they would bring, I don’t know, 50 to 100 individuals per year, they might have like, internal department or internals, yeah, is handling this, but other otherwise, yes, we like we would not recommend for someone to just starting in this process to engage in this on their own, it is pretty specialized is changing, you have so theory this is and you know, when we are looking at the timeframe that this is going to take, you know, it’s going to take months to get a decision. You want to do it right and not to wait for, you know, three, four or five months, six months for that individual for the decision if that individual can come and then realize that it’s not approved because for example, someone didn’t, didn’t know how to do it exactly how to prepare that application. Bela Musits  9:57   Yeah, yeah. Excellent. So that brings up a good point. What is your typical client? Like? Because I imagine, like you said large multinational companies may have their own internal staff that kind of does these things. So there must be sort of a, a sweet spot. That’s, that’s very typical for the types of clients that you work with. Alexandra Michailov  10:16   Yeah, absolutely. So we, we, we have this practice for more than 10 years, and really our, our ideal client, I mean, at the beginning, we, when we were just starting, we were working with a lot of enterpreneurs. So individuals who were also just starting their own company, so we would just help foreign nationals start their own company, or, for example, they just went to the immigration system. And they said, Now I’m starting my own company. So when we were starting our clients that were also establishing companies, they are usually tech companies. So when you when you have a software development company, you know, chances are that they will be hiring several individuals, they’re going to be hiring some individuals who need a work visa. So we grow, we grew with our clients, honestly. And at this point, the sweet spot is probably a corporate client, that is it company or software development company that has between 50 to 100 200 employees, and they would have 20 to 31 visa holders, because that would be sort of the support that we provide on an ongoing basis. But we also have a lot of individual clients just, for example, a software engineer would approach me and they would just say, I am looking to leave Facebook right now, or I’m looking to leave Google and I’m gonna go and join a small company. So in that case, they also need that immigration support from a smaller law firm, smaller, and also a law firm. And in that case, we would work with them and we would engage that company that they join in. Yeah. Bela Musits  11:48   So there’s this. There’s a lot of law firms that do this kind of work. So what sort of makes you guys special? What, what, what separates you from the competition? Alexandra Michailov  12:02   Yeah, so first of all, that defend, like, like I said, the beginning to define immigration laws. So a lot of immigration law firms, this smaller ones, they are actually working with a different population. So they are working on this, you know, the portation cases or asylum case, really, the type of more individual individual immigration. So that’s, that’s really not our part. We do that what we what is called business side, immigration, again, working with corporate clients, I would say our clients, so we asked our clients, what why why are you coming back? Why are you referring? Why are you referring other individuals, so So the first thing they always say is client surveys. So we do appreciate how positive you are, how they said, they’re going through a lot of anxiety. And, and and the processes are long and complicated. So just really answering those questions. They say afterwards, that really helped them that we sort of explained the process, set the expectations, and then just really, you have to have that client surveys. Our clients also say that they really like our sort of marketing or business development that we do. We do have a newsletter that we send, you know, once a week, or once every two weeks where we really try to report on any developments or explain and we send issues really from that individual perspective, just like you know, like, not for us lawyers, but for individuals. And we hear that all the time that our clients would say you guys have one of the best newsletters, like we read it, and we do appreciate it we do. Webinars are literally the steps to engage clients and explain the process to them. So I would say that with again, with that client service that is definitely at the very top would be words that sets us apart. Bela Musits  13:53   Yeah, yeah, that’s, that’s interesting. This notion of newsletters and webinars, you’re really educating your your customers or your potential customers. And you’re you’re sort of establishing your expertise and your credibility during that process. It’s just like going to talk at a conference, or some meeting, right sort of the same idea. That’s, that’s a great way to get your name and firm out there. Is that the primary way that you guys market your services? Alexandra Michailov  14:22   I would say at this point, yes, we did. At the beginning, we did try a few different avenues that were not so successful. I mean, we did presentations in person to we would travel you know in they said we work with intrapreneurs we would travel like twice a year to California to do some presentations to entrepreneurs, obviously with COVID that stopped and webinars are sort of also covering the same part which is you know, just being online so that’s that’s a little bit easier for everyone. So yes, I would say that that’s that’s the main thing. We did a few like trade shows, for example at the beginning. And that didn’t work for us that much. So like was sort of, you know, to see what works, what doesn’t work and then pursue the avenues that were more successful. Bela Musits  15:10   Yeah. Excellent. Excellent. So what was sort of the motivation or impetus for for you to leave another firm and start your own firm? Alexandra Michailov  15:23   Yeah, I feel like I really have tried everything. So I did start my career in the big international law firm in Washington DC, just just outside, you know, just the same place here where I am now outside DC. And that was a great practice, that was really one of the biggest international law firms that just I feel like they really trained me and whatever practice I do now, the client service, that’s I really just just copy and repeat what I learned at that big law firm, it was a little bit more challenging to manage family life with three kids at the beginning of my law firm, so. So that’s why I decided to start practice. And I’m very pleased. Bela Musits  16:16   Yeah, that’s excellent. Well, congratulations. I mean, that’s a big accomplishment to sort of go out on your own as your, you know, your your being an entrepreneur. Yes. Yeah. It must help you then also with your clients, right, because some of them, as you mentioned, are entrepreneurs, they’re starting businesses, they’re trying to grow businesses. So you’ve been through that experience, as well as the immigration experience. So So you bring that that empathy and that compassion to sort of that, that interaction with your clients? Alexandra Michailov  16:49   Yeah, yes, yes, absolutely. I do feel for the, for the entrepreneurs. That, you know, in the side, I knew when I started my own, I didn’t want to start my own company, you know, I do want to start hiring people, some of them might need immigration support. So I do feel connected to them to their machine. Because yes, that’s Yeah, yeah. Bela Musits  17:08   So so when you started the firm, what were some of the the key decisions or actions that you took, that that helped the firm grow and make you successful? Alexandra Michailov  17:19   Not sure if there’s really any type of like a very special decisions, I was always sort of big on business development, and like marketing plans, I feel that you know, even even if you have sort of a lot of clients, and you do the work, you have to do your daily work. Like you should not forget about still doing a little bit of that marketing or business development, just somewhere during a week. It’s not gonna maybe, you know, it’s not gonna result right away, like the client coming next day to you. But at some point, someone will say, look, I read this newsletter, or I heard you webinar or yeah, anyway, so I saw you speaking somewhere, and then they have that need. So that is really the continuing decision that we made from the very beginning that even if we get very busy with work, which luckily, we are, like, continue with some part of that business development, because it will, it will sort of bring something if not tomorrow than in the next few weeks. And other than that, I mean, honestly, the good client service, just just responsiveness. That is that is the part that I really learned at my first experience, and then big international law firm, where you really have to provide just top client service. And when our clients are coming sometimes to ask, they are coming from a different small law firm. And they would just notice and mentioned that they do appreciate because they feel the difference and sort of other obviously, not everyone, I’m sure there are a lot of good small law firm, small integration platforms, but not everyone. So this two items, client service, marketing, business development are just the most crucial in our practice. Bela Musits  19:13   Yeah, yeah. Well, those are two really good points that I think a lot of people sometimes overlook, right? Many businesses are transactional. There’s, you have, you have a client, they have a certain period of time you do the job, and then they go away. If you provide good service, then you’re really increasing the probability that number one, they’ll come back. And number two, that they will talk to other people about the great service that you got, and that they got. So I think those are really important points that oftentimes entrepreneurs overlook, because they think, Well, my product is so good. All I need is a website and people will flock to it. Well, that’s not true. So I think those are great points that you brought up. Let me ask you another question here. So If someone’s listening to this podcast, and and they’re graduated from law school, maybe you know in another month what advice would you give them from a career perspective? And let’s say they’re interested in immigration law? What what sort of advice would you give them, you took a certain paths to get to where you are today? What advice would you give them? Alexandra Michailov  20:24   I feel that people are just a different sort of stages of their career, ambition, and drive. So if someone is graduating from law school right now, and they are just really driven, and they just really want to achieve just everything that is there, you know, just say, just just go to those big law firms, because the, the arena there, you know, you’re gonna be working with international clients, you’re gonna be exposed to just really the smartest people in the field that you’re interested, whether it’s immigration or different field, that is really attracting serve great clients, great lawyers, you’re gonna learn a lot, what’s what it’s sort of there to learn about the client service about the law, you’re gonna have some great role models from the more senior attorneys, and potentially something again, that for me, you know, that was only a few years, so they spent there, but I feel like I’m still benefiting and I learned the most, I feel some other individuals when they come in from law school, maybe they are not so driven, maybe they say, I do want to have life balance, and I do want to have, you know, I love to travel, and you know, I’m just gonna be working regular nine to five. So, I would say just just follow that, that drive that feel that you have, depending where you want to be. And also, at least for me, I am now what is now at least like 15 years out of law school, and that is changing, because at the beginning of your career, you might be just absolutely you know, driven, and you will find with working 16 hours per day. But after that, you’re just gonna say, Okay, I do want to work, I do want to do great work. But I also want to have time for, you know, something else, some other passions in my life outside of work. So at this point, from my career point, I would just say, just just know where you are, know, know, like, how you want to follow and, and follow that path for yourself based on your needs. Bela Musits  22:29   Yeah, that’s great advice. That’s great advice for for any career, not just not just the legal profession. So I’m gonna start wrapping this up. So where can our listeners learn more about you and your firm? Where’s the best place for them to go? Alexandra Michailov  22:45   Yes, on our website, we have So our website is cilawgroup.com. Or if you go go to his Capitol Immigration Law Group, we do have, you know, the articles that I was mentioning the newsletter, so all of the recent developments that we are recording on, we actually posting them on the website, the webinars schedule, you know, the presentations that we are doing on any other type of events is also on our website. So that is really the part on the website, you can also sign up for the newsletter, those can actually come directly to your email. So that’s probably the best way. Also, my contact information is there. If anyone is on Twitter, we do have Twitter accounts that we also try to serve a report, although we just record on, you know, we are not trying to be controversial, just reporting, the sort of the standard news we do not engage and so that we there was some some do, right, that’s probably the sort of the most direct and the best way to find everything about this. Bela Musits  23:51   Yeah, excellent. And I will make sure that information is in the show notes. Is there something that I have not asked you that you would like to share with the audience? Alexandra Michailov  24:00   Well, we are always happy to chat with anyone. So if someone is listening, and you know, he’s just thinking, whether you are individual that you might know someone that needs immigration, or you need immigration, support of your corporation, that sort of maybe thinking about hiring someone, we do have like a free consultation, you don’t have to like worry that we’re going to like are charging you right away about you know, just asking a few questions. So we do have that initial consultation for 10, 15 minutes that is just absolutely free. So you know, that is that is something that please don’t hesitate to reach out if someone just has a few questions about our services or whether we can help you with the needs that you might have. Bela Musits  24:45   That’s perfect. That’s perfect. So Alexandra, thank you very much for being a great guest on the on the podcast. I really enjoyed our conversation. Alexandra Michailov  24:54   Well likewise, thank you so much. Have a nice day. Outro  24:59   Thanks for listening to 15 Minutes. Be sure to subscribe and we’ll see you next time.

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