The employees of the Law Firm of Shihab & Associates are the region's BEST!
We recognize that the success of The Law Firm of Shihab & Associates is owed to our remarkable team. We are in the industry of helping people with immigration needs, and we wouldn't be able to help our valued clients if we didn't have the right people to do the job. To show our appreciation, The Law Firm of Shihab & Associates is proud to highlight our superb employees and to offer a sneak peak into the lives of the people who make our firm great.
This month, we are highlighting: Barbara Fernandez
Tell us a little about yourself: I was born and raised in Miami, Florida, where both my mother and father emigrated to from Cuba in the late 60s. I was the first in the Fernandez family to attend and graduate from college, which my parents extremely proud of. I attended the University of Central Florida in Orlando, Florida and graduated in 2008 with a Bachelor of Science in Criminal Justice, a Minor in Psychology, and a Certificate in Criminal Profiling. I then went on to attend law school (also the first in the family to get a professional degree) in Akron, Ohio. I had never even heard of Akron, Ohio and had to actually look on a map to see which states Ohio bordered! I received a full scholarship to the University of Akron School of Law, so I could not turn down the opportunity. I eventually met my soon-to-be husband in Akron, Ohio so it was definitely meant to be. I graduated with my J.D. in 2012 and shortly thereafter, took the Ohio Bar Exam. While I was awaiting my bar exam results, I came across a job opening in Columbus, Ohio and was hired by the Law Firm of Shihab & Associates as a Law Clerk. Once I passed the Ohio Bar Exam a few months later, I accepted an Associate Attorney position.
What is your role at the Law Firm of Shihab & Associates?: I an Associate Attorney and mainly work out of our satellite office located on Columbus' West Side. This office was created to cater to the large Hispanic community in and around the Columbus area. I focus on family based immigration petitions, ranging from adjustment of status to cancellation of removal, which involves appearing in court on behalf of clients that are facing possible deportation from the United States.
What is a typical day like in this role?: A typical day for me consists of meeting prospective clients to go over their immigration issues and determine how we can best help them. In addition to that I communicate with current clients to insure that their matters are moving forward in a timely manner and that we have all the information we need to secure a successful result in their case.
What aspect of your role do you enjoy the most?: My favorite part about being an immigration attorney is building relationships with my clients and seeing their case progress from what sometimes is a negative situation to a very joyous occasion when we receive a positive result. A typical family based immigration case can take upwards of a year to complete and throughout that time I really get to know the client and their family. I love to share in their happiness and joy when eventually they receive their green card in the mail as a result of the hard work I put into their case.
Do you have a nickname at the office? If so, what is it and what's the story behind it?: If I do, I don't know about it. Around the office, my colleagues either call me Barb or Barbs.
Before working here, what was the most unusual or interesting job you've ever had?: My most interesting job before this one was working at the Federal Public Defender's Office in Akron, Ohio, where I was able to visit inmates accused of various serious crimes and conduct interviews with them that would ultimately help in preparing their defense or a more lenient sentence. I am fascinated by the criminal justice system in the United States and actually being able to visit different prisons and attend trials in federal court was like a dream come true.
What kinds of hobbies and interests do you have outside of work?: I enjoy going out for a run (if the Ohio weather permits) or going out for a walk with my dog. I am also an avid movie goer and always have to see the latest films, especially the Oscar nominees.
What is one thing you couldn't live without?: My iPhone, it's like an extension of my body.
What is your biggest pet peeve?: I'm a huge planner so whenever I have plans to do something, even something relatively insignificant, and those plans don't pan out it drives me nuts!
What is your favorite: food, book, movie, T.V. show and band?:
Food: Ropa Vieja or "Old Clothes", a traditional Cuban dish made of shredded steak.
Book: Memoirs of a Geisha by Arthur Golden
T.V. Show: Long Island Medium
Band: I don't really have a favorite band but if we're talking favorite music group of all time it would have to *NSYNC of course and favorite artist is Justin Timberlake.
If you had to choose a song to sing for karaoke, what would it be? Some Nights by Fun.
What is number one on your bucket list?: To go whale watching.
Where would you go for your dream vacation and Why?: Cuba. I would love to one day visit the land of my parents and ancestors.
What is your motto or personal mantra?: "If it's meant to be, it will happen."
What is your proudest moment at The Law Firm of Shihab & Associates?: It's hard to pick just one, but one of the best moments was when my client and his wife personally came to my office and gave me a big hug when they received their green cards in the mail. They had been living in the United States unlawfully for several years and were finally able to legalize through the client's sibling. When the client began to cry with joy I couldn't help but get a little teary eyed myself.
As a child, what did you want to be when you grew up?: A lawyer!
And, here's what a few members of our team have to say about Barbara:
"Barbra Fernandez is a competent and caring attorney, who flawlessly blends effective case management with excellent customer service."
"When Barbara comes into the office, the entire atmosphere is uplifted. She has a playful nature, while still handling her cases with the utmost care and expertise."
Click here to learn more about Associate Attorney, Barbara Fernandez
Thank You, Barbara for all you do to help make The Law Firm of Shihab & Associates a success!