Hannah F. Little
Hannah F. Little

Garfinkel Immigration attorney spotlight: Co-Managing Partner Hannah F. Little

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 Co-Managing Partner Hannah F. Little.

Hannah F. Little, a graduate of the University of North Carolina School of Law, was named the 2022 Best Lawyers® Immigration Law “Lawyer of the Year” in Charlotte, an award presented annually to the attorney who receives the highest overall feedback from peers in a specific practice area and region. She has also recently been recognized by the prestigious Chambers USA, Business North Carolina (BNC) Legal Elite and Who’s Who Legal.

How long have you practiced immigration law?

I have been practicing as an attorney for over 15 years. However, my start in immigration law was working as a paralegal prior to law school in 2001. It was a fascinating time to begin work in this field — my initial petitions were filed with Immigration and Naturalization Services (INS) under the Department of Justice. By the time I left for law school in 2003, the INS was gone, and I was filing petitions with U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) under the then newly formed Department of Homeland Security.

What drew you to the immigration law field?

While studying abroad in Guadalajara, Mexico, I became interested in the human experience behind immigration and what prompts individuals and families to risk uprooting their lives to move somewhere entirely new. Even after many years of practice in the field, I continue to be interested in our clients’ stories and intellectually engaged by the dynamic nature of our practice.

What have you found most rewarding about working in immigration law?

For me, immigration law is the ideal blend of intellectual challenge and emotional reward. I enjoy puzzling through complex legal questions and finding solutions for our company clients. Our strategies and our hard work have real world results and directly impact the lives of individuals. Given how lengthy the process can be, we have served some individuals for a decade or longer. When they achieve permanent residency or citizenship, I am almost as happy as they are.

What do you consider your most significant professional accomplishment?

Managing a law firm in 2020 while caring for a young child at home full time. We moved quickly to a remote environment, never ceased to serve our clients or compromised our service standards, and navigated a lot of international travel uncertainty with COVID restrictions and Embassy closures. I am proud of our staff and grateful for our firm’s strong leadership team.

What do you see as the most substantial challenges ahead in the complicated and ever-evolving environment around immigration law issues?

COVID has exacerbated and highlighted many of the fundamental flaws in our current immigration system and I think we will continue to see the impact for many years to come. USCIS is working to modernize and digitize its processes, but it is years behind other government agencies. I think we will continue to navigate extreme delays and bureaucratic hurdles for the foreseeable future.

What is your favorite thing to do when you’re not working?

My favorite thing to do is spend time with my husband and son. I also love to read fiction, especially mystery novels.

What is your favorite movie or TV show? Why?

It’s sad to admit but I rarely have the time to sit down for a movie. 2021 was a good year for TV shows.  I really enjoyed “Mare of Easttown.”  It was a compelling mystery with relatable characters.

I also enjoyed “Reservation Dogs.” It was a glimpse into an entirely different world for me and the writers’ sense of humor was refreshing.

What is one thing most people don’t know about you?

I played Women’s Rugby in college (and somehow made it out alive).

As always, please do not hesitate to contact Garfinkel Immigration Law Firm at 704-442-8000 or via email with any questions.

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