Wednesday, March 18, 2015

A Moment with Immigration Attorney Suzanne Sukkar

For Suzanne Sukkar, Of Counsel in Dickinson Wright’s Ann Arbor office, being a lawyer is about helping people and making a positive difference in the community. Even at a young age, she knew she wanted to be a lawyer.

“As an 11 year old, I was interested in government, politics, history, foreign affairs, foreign languages and writing,” Suzanne says. “So naturally, I was drawn towards a career in law. I made a commitment to myself that I would go to law school and become a lawyer – and if I make a promise, I have to keep it!”

Suzanne joined Dickinson Wright last year in large part because the firm’s goals and values were aligned with her own. Suzanne is an immigration lawyer who primarily represents multinational corporations of all sizes in securing employment-based work visas, advises employers on compliance issues and develops creative short and long-term immigration strategies and solutions for companies and their workforce across several industries. Over the years, Suzanne has developed a niche expertise in a highly-sophisticated area of immigration law, foreign direct investment and investor visas, as well as the intracompany transfer of workers.

As an immigration attorney, Suzanne is at the cross-section of just about everything. Immigration law touches several areas of the law including corporate, employment, education, entertainment, tax, family, criminal, and litigation, to name a few. “I am fortunate to have a full and diverse practice, work with clients from around the world, and build upon my knowledge and expertise in different subject matters,” says Suzanne.

Suzanne’s favorite cases are the ones that center on a team effort, particularly projects that require legal expertise in more than one area of the law. For example, she enjoys working on EB-5 foreign direct investment cases, where a foreign national invests $1 million into a U.S. commercial enterprise that creates at least 10 jobs for U.S. workers. In these cases, Suzanne collaborates with corporate, securities, real estate and tax attorneys as well as project developers, financial experts, and the foreign investors. These projects have a positive outlook as they create jobs for Americans and help stimulate the U.S. economy.

In terms of what the future holds for immigration law, Suzanne says that 2015 is shaping up to be a big year. At the end of 2014, President Obama announced his “immigration accountability executive action,” which included measures towards reforming the outdated immigration system. The executive actions present an opportunity to address the estimated 5 million unauthorized people living in this country; new policies that support U.S. high-skilled businesses and workers; expands opportunities for foreign investors, researchers and founders of start-up enterprises to conduct research and development and create jobs in the U.S.; enhanced efforts to coordinate immigration enforcement and benefit policies across agencies; and attempts to use immigration as a tool of economic and social change. However, the question remains if we will see these changes or progress made in the form of legislative reforms by the U.S. Congress.

Besides her work, Suzanne is heavily involved in her community. She is an Officer and Member of the Board of Directors of the Women Lawyers Association of Michigan, as well as, the American Arab Chamber of Commerce, where she also serves as Chair of the American Arab Professionals Network and Mentorship Committee. She is also involved in pro bono work including a memorable case where she helped a family of 5 orphaned Iraqi refugee children obtain permanent residence status in the U.S.

“I’m fortunate to be actively involved in my community and provide mentorship and support to other professionals and students,” says Suzanne. “It makes me very happy when I see our youth work hard and achieve their goals. So I feel that it’s important to not only celebrate their success, but to continue to offer support and mentorship as they grow.”

Outside of the office, Suzanne spends as much time as possible with her family, including her three young daughters, which as the eldest of seven children and the daughter of immigrants is very important to her. Suzanne is still the same person she was as an 11 year old when she decided during a school discussion of careers that she would become a lawyer to help people and she has kept her promise to this day.

To read more about Suzanne and her practice, please click here.