Attorney Describes Immigration Practice and Development of Clientele

By Jeremy Robert Parker *, Photos by Hiroo Suzuki **

October 19, 2010

          ALSA Executive Board members Hiroo Suzuki and Jeremy Parker interviewed attorney Jason Flora at his office in downtown Indianapolis on September 30, 2010.  Mr. Flora, a graduate of Indiana School of Law – Indianapolis, practices primarily with Hispanic clients in criminal defense, immigration matters, personal injury, bankruptcy and family law.  Our interview focused primarily on his creation of a client base within the Hispanic community, representation of clients in immigration matters, and advice to prospective lawyers who want to open a full services law firm.   

            To build a client base, Mr. Flora states that “if you do good, honest work, keep your clients well informed, and tell them the hard truth about their situation, then you’re going to get clients.”  If Mr. Flora provides good service to a client, for example, that client will give his name to family members and friends.  Likewise, your reputation is adversely affected if you are incompetent or untrustworthy.  Mr. Flora, who is fluent in Spanish, also believes that advertising in Hispanic newspapers and radio stations, and attending events in the Hispanic community is an effective way to meet people and tell them of his services.  In his estimation, it has taken a few months to establish a presence in the Hispanic community of Indianapolis.

           

            Immigration issues with Immigration Customs and Enforcement (ICE) and the Immigration Judge arise because most of his clients are without status.  To Mr. Flora, an understanding of aggravated felonies and Crimes Involving Moral Turpitude (CIMTs) are critical for criminal defense lawyers to properly advise their clients of the obvious risks of deportation.  For example, while a plea deal for possession of cocaine involving no jail and only probation would be fine for a citizen, an conviction of possession of cocaine by a non-citizen is a CIMT, which will almost certainly lead to deportation.  Pleading to crimes which do not count as aggravated felonies or CIMTs may help the client avoid adverse immigration consequences.  In order to properly represent these clients before ICE, the Marion county court or the Immigration Judge, Mr. Flora recommends that every attorney know his client’s criminal history.

           

            According to Mr. Flora, it is important to find a mentor to give advice on opening a full services law firm.  “Until you know what you are doing,” says Mr. Flora “it is very easy to make mistakes.”  Also, he felt well prepared with his work as a law clerk for four years prior to graduation.  “There are so many nuances in immigration law...In the immigration bar, some people are more than willing to help others...others are not.”  With his participation in the American Immigration Lawyers Association, Mr. Flora was able to find a mentor to give advice on where to look for answers.  His final advice is to “find smart people, and ask them questions.”

* Jeremy Robert Parker is the Student Bar Association Representative of the Asian Law Students Association.

** Hiroo Suzuki is the IT-in-Chief of the Asian Law Students Association.

 

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