Four colleagues recommend Ms. Wong for a particular as-yet unannounced award on four qualities: being a practicing attorney, being an author, being an entrepreneur, and being a teacher / mentor.
I recommend Margaret W. Wong, Esq., for the 2014 award due to the fact that her career as a practicing lawyer has compelled nearly 50,000 matters of national importance to come before judges around the country, most of them permitting hard working foreign nationals to join the population of the United States, bringing their talents to enhance our great Nation.
I’m sure you know Ms. Wong is herself foreign born. She came to the United States upon high school graduation, and through both hard work and academic scholarships, she earned several degrees. However, with law degree in hand, she faced many hurdles with which today, fortunately, we are less familiar.
Because she was a woman, of Asian descent, and a new American, she found she was not a desirable prospective attorney for employers. While this was disappointing, she opened her own office – a small room with only one desk. Her immigration experience, tending to her own immigration needs, showed her that foreign born had great need of someone who could advocate for them through the process.
Ms. Wong has leveraged her steel resolve, her knowledge of immigration, and her empathy for the plight of the foreign born into a practice that reaches far beyond Cleveland, Ohio. With offices in Atlanta, Chicago, Columbus, Ohio, Los Angeles, Nashville, and New York City, in addition to Cleveland, she assists people from around the world, including those with careers promised in the US, those with US Citizen family members, those facing deportation, and those suffering persecution and threat of death in their native lands.
I met Ms. Wong in 2000, and in 2001 started leading the firm’s litigation department. Ms. Wong has proven over and over her ability to write laser-focused briefs, detailing the client’s plight, and how US law protects the client’s rights. She presents before the court in such a way that most often they find themselves agreeing with her, even with clients against whom the odds seemed stacked. She also cultivates relationships in our community, in Congress and the White House, in the State Department, and throughout the country’s diverse ethnic communities so that she may best advocate for clients.
Ever since my first day, I have admired Ms. Wong’s abilities as an attorney – how she keeps current with the law, uses her staff and technical resources to always keep client information at her fingertips, and continue to build a practice admired by foreign born, the Immigration System, and attorney colleagues.
Scott Eric Bratton
Attorney at Law
I write to recommend Margaret W. Wong, Esq.
Long before serving many years as the Margaret W. Wong & Associates Director of Business Development, I knew of Margaret in many ways. A native of Hong Kong, members of my family attended the same schools there as members of her family. Then, in the 1970s, when I came to Cleveland, the number of new Americans in Cleveland from Hong Kong was quite small, so it was natural that I came to know her. At one point, our children even attended the same school.
When Ms. Wong started compiling her book, “The Immigrant’s Way: For All Immigrants, By An Immigrant,” she asked my assistance. While she wrote everything, from the front matter to page 300, many of us – her staff, her friends, and members of the community – gathered the background information – we were her research staff.
She had a clear vision for the book: (1) tell something of herself, (2) give other new Americans values that would guide them successfully to citizenship and beyond, (3) a detailed, if not exhaustive, history of immigration in the United States, (4) a review of US immigration law, and (5) basic reference material that would help the reader.
The true entrepreneur, while running the growth of her firm, speaking with clients daily, and writing court documents in their support, she found time almost daily to continue compiling her book. What’s more, it’s been an evolving project. Initially published in 2010, the book has been revised five times in English, Renmin University Law School in Beijing, China, published a simplified Chinese version in 2012, and Ms. Wong published a traditional Chinese version in 2013. And it goes on – she’s now working on the sixth edition, expanding the sections on US Immigration Law as it pertains to countries around the world.
Being a prolific author is in Ms. Wong’s blood. Her mother and father ran a newspaper in Hong Kong, “The Newsdom Weekly,” a bilingual paper founded in 1944. Ms. Wong writes numerous law articles, and oversees a growing web presence of four websites: www.imwong.com, www.cimwong.com, www.imwongespanol.com, and www.iforeignborn.com. She insists two of her websites strive to be more than mere marketing tools: that they strive to be online newspapers detailing the lives of foreign born both here in the United States, and around the world through frequent blogs.
Judy M. Wong
Director of Business Development
I recommend Margaret W. Wong, Esq., because she entrepreneurially grows her business, knowledge, employees, and her community.
Since 1982, I have been Ms. Wong’s CPA, and her firm’s CFO for five years. I have watched her navigate the corporate and immigration law worlds of Cleveland and the Ohio region, then progressively work the US immigration courts throughout the country, and serve clients throughout the world.
She’s carefully built her offices across the country, either taking over practices of attorneys retiring or leaving practice to accept an elected position, or starting offices with just a room and a receptionist, and growing her offices into vibrant nerve centers from which new Americans’ rights are upheld, and wrongs at the hands of the immigration bureaucracy corrected.
Ms. Wong is a voracious reader. The office delivers three cartons of material to her home every weekend, and she plows through cases, success stories, newspapers in multiple languages, court reports, and business financials. She constantly surprises me by asking about details of the practice.
She encourages her staff and paralegals to continuously advance their education – even to become attorneys. There are scores of immigration attorneys across the country who interned or worked several years under Ms. Wong’s leadership.
As she’s found success, she has always found ways to encourage others to learn. She started scholarship funds at her law alma mater and at the local community college, and a philanthropic fund at the Cleveland Foundation. She’s been active in foundations in many other organizations, constantly encouraging philanthropy in others. She even returns to the classroom as an instructor to give law students a solid foundation.
Joyce Graham, CPA
I recommend Margaret W. Wong, Esq., for this distinction, because she is a wonderful teacher.
In my native Albania, I was both an attorney and a magistrate, so when I moved to Cleveland, the very act of becoming a new American introduced me to the world of immigration law. It was a delight for me to find the one of the strongest immigration firms in the country right here in Cleveland. And, of course, its senior partner is Margaret W. Wong.
When you leave your home country to come to the United States, depending on the profession, sometimes you have to return to basics, regardless of distinctions earned at home. Law is such a profession. If I wanted practice law in the US, I would have to attend law school again and pass the bar.
Fortunately, before returning to law school, I trained with Margaret Wong for seven years. She’s a patient, and kind teacher. She recognizes that she doesn’t have all the answers, and is congratulatory when you find something she doesn’t know, and she becomes the student. She was also inspiring because she frequently teaches at area law schools. Even as I write this, she’s preparing to teach an immigration class at CWRU School of Law in Cleveland.
Ms. Wong made me the non-attorney head of the removal and litigation department, as well as training new legal assistants and paralegals. This was huge – she recognized my experience in this right away, and this helped me learn a great deal about US immigration law.
In 2012 I left the firm to finally return to US law school here in Cleveland, and this spring I passed the Ohio bar. Ms. Wong, my teacher and mentor for all those years, invited me to join her team of attorneys. I have gladly accepted.
Attorney at Law