Welcome to the Garfinkel Immigration attorney spotlight series, where we will conduct a bimonthly Q&A with one of the Firm’s lawyers. In this edition, we spoke with Partner Colleen F. Molner.
Colleen, a graduate of Elon University School of Law, is one of a limited number of attorneys certified as a Specialist in Immigration Law by the North Carolina State Bar and is regularly recognized by Super Lawyers and Who’s Who Legal.
How long have you practiced immigration law?
I’ve been practicing immigration law for almost eight years. Before I started practicing, I was a summer associate and law clerk at Garfinkel Immigration Law Firm, so I have been in the field for about 10 years.
What drew you to the immigration law field?
When I was in college, I interned at the federal district courthouse, and one of my first assignments was to assist with a Naturalization Oath Ceremony. This was my first exposure to immigration law, and I was touched by the lasting effect that this ceremony had on people and the impact of the event on the rest of their lives.
After more research into the field, I was drawn by the uniqueness of this field of law. It balances family reunification and business and labor needs. It also provides opportunities to meet people from all over the world. Our work not only positively changes lives and helps immigrants achieve their dreams of working and living in the U.S., but it also has an economic impact in that it helps businesses meet their needs and become successful. I love the uniqueness of the field and the creativity and complexities that come with it, always keeping us on our toes – no day is the same!
What have you found most rewarding about working in immigration law?
The people. I thoroughly enjoy meeting and working with our clients, and hearing about how our work has impacted their lives and businesses. We have long-standing relationships with our clients, which underscores our service and the quality of our work and is rewarding in-and-of-itself.
What do you consider your most significant professional accomplishment?
My most significant professional accomplishment is becoming a North Carolina Board Certified Immigration Law Specialist in 2018. Few attorneys in the State achieve this certification. It involves a cumbersome application and a broad and comprehensive specialty exam. It gave me the opportunity to hone my legal skills and knowledge within all areas of immigration law.
What is your favorite thing to do when you’re not working?
In a pre-COVID world, my favorite thing to do was travel the world! My husband and I have many countries on our bucket list and hope to travel to every continent. I generally just love to spend time with my husband, our dog and my family when not working, even if it’s as simple as a walk in the neighborhood. I also like to read, run, exercise and scrapbook.
What is your favorite movie or TV show? Why?
My overall favorite TV show is Friends. No matter what episode it is and how many times I’ve seen it, I will laugh. My husband and niece will make me close my eyes while they turn on an episode and, just by hearing the episode within the first minute, they make me guess the name of the episode – I’m usually always right!
What is one thing most people don’t know about you?
I grew up an avid Irish dancer and piano player.