Mitchell Wexler '82
Q & A:
- What was your favorite class, who was your favorite professor, or what is your fondest memory of Hofstra?
As a marketing major, I was fascinated by the theory and nuances of various forms of advertising. My favorite class was an advertising class taught by Professor Kaufman. The discussion on “subliminal seduction” has stayed with me all these years.
- What was your first job after graduating Hofstra, and what was the most valuable thing you learned there?
After graduating from Hofstra, I moved to Los Angeles to attend law school; I also worked part time at a small LA office of a NY-based immigration law firm. Since the office was small, I learned how to multitask and wear a variety of hats: performing legal research, working with clients, preparing appropriate paperwork and doing all of the administrative processing of the cases I worked on. This “total immersion” experience served me well when I opened my own law practice after less than three years of being an associate there.
- What is your field of specialty, and how did you come to work in the industry?
I have practiced exclusively in the field of immigration law for 30 years, plus a few years during law school. Since the firm I worked for during law school practiced immigration law, I discovered that I had an aptitude for it and enjoyed it, so I stuck with it. We represent not only foreign national individuals but also startup companies through large multinational companies regarding all of their immigration/visa needs.
- What advice would you give Hofstra students?
My motto is “work hard, play hard.” Hofstra provided me with an environment to excel and the opportunity to be well-rounded and have fun. As an employer who interviews candidates on a regular basis, my office looks for well-rounded prospective team members. Our practice directly affects the lives of our clients, and the ability to relate to them in a sincere, competent and honest way is critical.
- In one word, how would you describe Hofstra?
“Opportunity.” Although I did not meet Hofstra’s general admission requirements, I was accepted into the School for University Studies. I seized the opportunity, and the rest is history.
- What is the hardest/toughest part about your job?
Although the immigration laws in the United States are relatively generous, compared to other countries, the system itself is broken and has not kept up with the modern economy. For this reason, I find myself having to tell many good, hard-working foreign nationals that, under current law, there is nothing I can do to assist you with your desire to realize the American Dream.
- How has having your own solo practice influenced your career as a partner?
It equipped me with a well-rounded skill set that includes the ability to effectively practice law and perform functions such as HR, accounting, billing, training, motivating, business development and budgeting. These skills also serve me well in my role as a member of the firm’s executive committee.
- Who has most influenced you, and how?
The senior partner of the firm I worked for during law school and for the few years after law school, Max Blecher, most influenced me. He began his immigration practice in Times Square in the 1940s. He was one of the first members of our professional association, which now has over 15,000 members. He taught me how to listen to clients and how to craft a unique, effective strategy to achieve their immigration goals and dreams. Many of my clients are small and large businesses with a few to thousands of foreign national employees on visas in the United States. I attribute much of my success today to the skills I learned from Mr. B.
Mitch Wexler is a partner at Fragomen Worldwide, the world’s leading provider of professional visa and immigration services. He manages the firm’s Irvine and Los Angeles, California, offices. His practice is composed of individual, startup, mid-size, and large multinational companies, with diverse clients across industry sectors, including manufacturing, pharmaceutical, technology, construction, and entertainment. Mitch is a member of the firm’s national executive committee and Co-chair’s the firm’s Marketing Committee. He is a California State Bar-certified specialist in immigration and nationality law. Mitch also teaches an annual module on business and investment (including EB-5) immigration law at the University of California, Irvine Law School.
Mitch has managed teams overseeing corporate clients’ immigration programs; counseled clients on immigration-related due diligence in connection with corporate restructurings and M&A transactions; advised management and employees on the immigration consequences of personnel actions, including reductions in force, hiring freezes, mandatory leaves of absence, etc.; drafted and reviewed customized immigration policies as part of a broader mobility program; and assisted families, individuals and investors (EB-5) in their U.S. immigration needs.
Mitch is a longtime member of the American Immigration Lawyers Association (AILA), having served as Southern California chapter chair in 1999/2000. He is also a former business immigration advocacy chair for AILA Southern California. He is on the Board of the British American Business Council-Orange County and the OCTech Alliance, Co-Chairing it’s international committee.
Mitch has published over 200 articles on various topics in U.S. immigration. He is the annual editor of the immigration chapter of the State Bar of California’s CEB “Advising California Employers and Employees” treatise; co-author of "Pleas and Consequences," Los Angeles Lawyer Magazine (November 2014: 18-22, print); author of “Immigration Law for the Non Immigration Lawyer," Orange County Lawyer; and author of a chapter on appeals in the 2008-2009 edition of The PERM Book. He was also the featured speaker several times for the OCBA Immigration Law Section. Mitch was a discussion leader/presenter for an AILA national audio seminar on “experience with the same employer” concerning PERM applications; for an AILA webinar on layoffs in the context of PERM applications; and for ILW (Immigration Law Weekly) on PERM labor certifications for immigration attorneys. Mitch was the featured speaker for the OCBA Employment Law Section, and he has spoken at national conferences and at universities and law schools on various topics of employment-based immigration and law practice management.
Mitch is certified as a Specialist in Immigration & Nationality Law by the State Bar of California, Board of Legal Specialization. He is the recipient of the UC Irvine Law School first Pro Bono Community Advocate Award for work done with students involved with IRAP (Iraqi Refugee Assistance Program) and has been acknowledged on numerous occasions by such publications as Super Lawyers, Super Lawyers Corporate Counsel Edition, Best Lawyers and various legal Who’s Who publications. In 2013 he was recognized as one of the Top 50 Lawyers in Orange County by Best Lawyers in America.