Get to Know Jakub Szlaga

Jakub Szlaga practices immigration law at the Law Offices of Jakub Szlaga PLC in Livonia. His legal practice focuses on family-based immigrant visas, fiancée visas, same sex marriage-based green cards, complex naturalization and citizenship matters, unlawful presence waivers, change of status cases and H-1B visas.

Born in Gliwice, Poland, Szlaga immigrated to the United States in 2001. He speaks Polish and Spanish.

Szlaga earned his undergraduate degree from the University of Michigan, and graduated from Wayne State University Law School in 2013, where he was a member of the Immigration Law Clinic, which he completed with honors. He also gained valuable experience at the 3rd Circuit Court of Wayne County and at the Wayne County Corporation Counsel Office.

By Jo Mathis
Legal News

What is your proudest moment as a lawyer? I felt very proud when I worked on my first immigration case. My client had previously consulted with very experienced attorneys who told her she was ineligible to apply for citizenship. It was a complicated case but in the end I was able to help my client. Her happiness and gratefulness motivated me to work on other difficult cases.
What inspired you to enter the field? I wanted to work in a profession that has a direct impact on people’s lives.

When you were considering law school, what was Plan B? I took a year off between graduating from college and applying to law school. I didn’t really have a Plan B. I knew what I wanted to do. For some time in college, I was very serious about getting a Ph.D. in linguistics. Language has always been a passion of mine.

What would surprise people about your job? It is extremely important to be a good listener.

How has living in Poland and Spain impacted your career?
I’m a native Polish speaker and fluent in Spanish. Being able to communicate with my clients in their native language is a crucial part of my law practice.

What was always written on your grade school report card? Good grades but a bit of a trouble-maker!

What is your happiest childhood memory? Playing sports. I played soccer, basketball, volleyball, did karate, and ran cross country. Playing team sports forges an unbreakable bond between you and your teammates.

When you feel overwhelmed, what do you do?
I try to step back and think of past instances when I felt the same but successfully overcame adversity. 

What do you wish someone would invent?
A magic wand.

Favorite stamp on your passport?
My 2016 honeymoon trip to Italy. My wife and I spent two-and-a-half amazing weeks discovering the beauty of Florence and Cinque Terre.

When you look back into the past, what do you miss most?
My uncle, who passed away in 2005. He was a very positive person who loved to laugh and inspire others around him. His hobbies included photography and film-making.

If you could have witnessed any event in history, what would it be? My grandfather told me many stories about World War II and its atrocities. I would have wanted see the Victory in Europe Day.

What were you doing in your last selfie? Holding my 2-year-old beagle, Olaf. It’s more difficult than it sounds.

Can you think of a difficult challenge that ultimately became a positive? Moving from Poland to the United States as a teen-ager was difficult. Over time, however, I was able to make friends, learn English, travel, go to law school and start my own family. I could not be happier.

What’s something you changed your mind about recently? I finally realized I have to start dressing really warm if I don’t want to get sick. Unfortunately, the weather in Michigan is unforgiving.

What is one thing you would like to learn to do? Carpentry—specifically, basic residential construction, furniture building, and restoration.

What’s the best advice you ever received? One of my friends who took the bar exam one year before I did told me that preparing for the exam is a marathon, not a race. You cannot let things overwhelm you. You have to take things one step at a time. I have applied this advice to other areas of my life.

What purchase of $50 or less has most positively affected your life? When I was 18, my brother and I hitch-hiked all the way from Poland to Spain, traveling through Germany and France. Our whole trip cost less than $50! But we were able to see many great places and meet a lot of fantastic people.

Favorite websites? I like to read The New Yorker and The Atlantic online

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