Thursday Profile: Dawn Wise

 Dawn Wise started working in immigration law as an undergraduate at the University of Michigan in 1992 and has been hooked ever since. Before, during, and after her law education at Wayne State University Law School, she has worked in various environments (law firm, university, government), which has allowed her to develop a broad perspective on immigration law issues. When she’s not at the office—physically or virtually—she’s usually with her husband watching their two daughters play soccer and swim, volunteering at their church, or enjoying time with family, friends, and her dog and office mascot, Charlie. She also enjoys reading, traveling, soccer, and Michigan football.


Residence:  Hamburg.


Currently reading …  “A Girl Named Zippy” by Haven Kimmel.


What is your most treasured material possession? It’s all just stuff except the photos


What do you love most about immigration law? It is hard to articulate all of the things I love about this field. First and foremost, it is my clients, their drive to succeed and to better their new country while providing the best possible lives for their families.


What advice do you have for someone considering law school? Rather than thinking of your academic interests, think about what it is going to look like, day-in and day-out, to practice that type of law. Will that be a life that satisfies you? 


Favorite local hangouts: Logan. The most amazing restaurant in Ann Arbor-and that’s saying a lot!


Favorite websites: I like my news and Facebook, but most of my Internet use is purely nerdy and work-related. 


What would surprise people about your job? We reject the traditional law firm culture. Our office is about mutual respect, flexibility, fun, and very little hierarchy. We are a happy, loyal bunch and our jobs are therefore fulfilling and fun. 


What do you wish someone would invent? A teletransporter—to be done with air travel!


Does your job ever make you pessimistic? My clients always make me optimistic, but the politics, public misperceptions, and bureaucracy can make me crazy sometimes.


If you could trade places with someone for a day, who would that be? My younger self.


What’s the most awe-inspiring place you have visited? The 9/11 Memorial in NYC.


If you could have one super power, what would it be? Flying.


What would you say to your 16-year-old self? Be flexible, gentle, and loyal, to yourself and to others.


Favorite joke: How do you get an Ohio State graduate off of your front porch?  Pay him and take the pizza.


What is guaranteed to make you laugh? My husband’s laugh.


Must-see TV: Oh how I miss “The Office” and “Seinfeld.”


What word do you overuse? My husband says, “That one’s easy – ‘H-1B.’” I’m not sure that’s really a word, but there you have it.


What’s your biggest regret? I wish I would have done a joint JD/MBA degree. I didn’t anticipate the business ownership aspect of being a lawyer.

What one thing do you wish people knew about your work? That immigration does not equal illegal immigration. Legal immigrants create jobs, conduct critical medical research, pay taxes, keep the entrepreneurial spirit of our nation alive, and contribute to society in countless other ways. My clients make your world better.


What’s your proudest moment as a lawyer? I have scores of clients who have developed cures and treatments for diseases, started companies, licensed patents, advanced our space program, you name it. I am equally proud to facilitate each one’s career and life, but when someone escapes an oppressive situation or is reunited with a family member after a long separation, those cases make me most proud.


What’s one thing you would like to learn to do? Dance. But that’s not going to happen!


What is something most people don’t know about you? I am ambidextrous.


Cant-live-without technology: All things Apple.


Does anything worry you? I have two daughters…


What was the greatest compliment someone ever paid you? I don’t want to brag, but it seems, according to two experts on the subject, that I am the best mom in the world.


Are you concerned about diet and exercise? My concern for diet and exercise is as real as my love of bacon.


What’s the best advice you ever received? When you are at work, be at work. When you are at home, be at home. It is too easy to spend much of work time worrying about home and much home time worrying about work.


If you can help it, where will you never return? Any room where a bar exam is being administered.


What do you drive? A Honda Accord.


What would you drive if money were no object? The better question would be, “What would I drive if snow were no object?” Answer: a very fast Mustang.


Favorite place to spend money: On any adventure or vacation with my family.


What is your motto? I am only one, but still I am one. I cannot do everything, but still I can do something; and because I cannot do everything, I will not refuse to do something that I can do. (Really Helen Keller’s motto, not mine. But I like it)


Where would you like to be when you’re 90? Above the earth and near my family.


What would you like carved onto your tombstone? “Peace out.”



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