Monday Profile: Oana Marina

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Oana C. Marina is originally from Romania, where she earned her first law degree in 2000. After immigrating to the U.S., she supplemented her studies and graduated with honors from Case Western Reserve University School of Law in 2009.

For the past five years, she has been a full-time immigration attorney with expertise in visa petitions for victims of domestic abuse or victims of certain crimes, religious worker visas, guardianship cases, difficult naturalization cases, and marriage fraud issues. She has extensive experience arguing sensitive and complex legal issues, and writes motions and appeals of adverse USCIS decisions, responses to notices of intent to deny, motions to reopen, reconsider, remand or for administrative closure with the Board of Immigration Appeals or Immigration Court, and requests for prosecutorial discretion.

Marina is also an active member of the local Romanian community, providing various types of legal assistance through her current experience as a lawyer in the U.S. and as a former civil law Notary Public in Romania. In her spare time, she enjoys classical and religious music, nature, art, and spending time with her family and friends.

By Jo Mathis
Legal News

Favorite websites: Google is my default website. I also like to use Wikipedia for quick answers to my kids’ tough questions.
   
What is your most treasured material possession? A beautifully crafted gold watch that means a lot to me—a gift from my godmother to remind me that time is the most precious thing we have. I hope to pass it along to my daughter one day.

What was always written on your grade school report card? My name, I guess… Other than that, there were lots of two digit numbers (the grading system in Romania was numerical - 1 to 10). Memorably, though, I got a 3 once in middle school from the toughest math teacher you can imagine—my own mother—who ruined my record!

What is your happiest childhood memory?
Santa, no doubt. I also remember fondly when I woke up on my birthday with a big, blonde doll in my bed. It was almost as big as I was, and looked so much like me! My family did not have a lot of money, so this huge doll was a lot for me. I still have it at my parents' house in Romania.

When you were considering law school, what was Plan B? 
There were actually two plan Bs.  In Romania, I would have been an elementary school teacher. In the U.S., I had the option to change careers and was contemplating medical school. However, I have always been terrified of seeing blood and sick/dead people that I immediately gave up this idea and chose law school.

What would surprise people about your job? That I understand each and every one of my clients because I have been through the process myself, being an immigrant.

What do you wish someone would invent?
A device that can record people’s thoughts. With it, I could have written several books by now. My life story is full of events that I recount in my head, especially since I moved to the U.S. in 2002. I could have shared my struggles as an immigrant woman who left everything behind to follow her heart in the U.S. I could have written about what it took me to get where I am today: how I started from nothing, but with a lot of enthusiasm, managed to learn English and pass the law school admission test within a year, attended law school full-time, raised three children, passed the bar exam my first try, and started a career in immigration law. And how since then, I have been managing my life as a single mother, while continuing to work full-time and advancing my career.

When you look back into the past, what do you miss most?  My worry-free childhood and its related innocence.

What have been your favorite years?
The years when my three children were born, and the years I graduated from law school and started practicing law.

Do you prefer email, text, or a phone call?
I prefer to communicate face to face, as it gives me a better understanding of whom I interact with. This is particularly important in the law practice, where getting to know my clients very well is paramount.

What is your most typical mood? Open, warm and engaged with the clients, and always in a hurry in my private life.

Who is on your guest list for the ideal dinner party? “Mr. Bean.” My kids really like him. Jim Carrey could be second on the list.

What question do you most often ask yourself?
What more can I do to use my skills to my fullest potential?

If you could trade places with someone for a day, who would that be?
Chief Justice Roberts, so the U.S. Supreme Court could eventually pass DAPA (Deferred Action for Parental Accountability).

What’s the most awe-inspiring place you’ve been? My native land of north-eastern Romania, with the most astonishing pristine hill/mountain landscape you can ever imagine.

What’s something you changed your mind about recently? 
When to get a bigger vehicle for my family.

What is your proudest moment as a lawyer? When my clients hug me and treat me like family. I feel accomplished when they understand that I put my heart in my work, and I never give up fighting for them.

What is one thing you would like to learn to do? Swim. I am tired of swallowing water while trying, and I really want to be able to swim with my children. 

What is something most people don't know about you?
That I am  a country girl, and when I visits my parents, I enjoy helping them around the farm.

What is the best advice you ever received?
My family always advised me to work hard to achieve my goals, and never, never, ever give up. I cannot thank them enough for that.
 

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