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My Roots: Irina Plumlee

The immigration attorney grew up in Moscow.
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Irina Plumlee

My Roots: Irina Plumlee

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Portrait of Irina Plumlee“I grew up in Moscow, Russia, which was the Soviet Union at the time. People in my family were engineers, but it was clear from an early age that I didn’t have an engineering bone in my body. Growing up, we traveled and had a lot of conversations; we discussed everything from daily issues to big-world topics. Today, my husband and I continue this tradition with our children.

“I tried a lot of different things in my childhood; initially, I thought I might be a scientist, then a writer, then a teacher. I graduated with a degree in psychology from the University of Moscow. In 1992, I came to the United States and realized that I could be all of my childhood interests by becoming a lawyer. I went to law school knowing I wanted to work in immigration. I had one credential to show people: myself. When people said, ‘You don’t know how it feels to be an immigrant,’ I could say, ‘Actually, I do.’

“I’ve been doing immigration law since 1997. Before coming to Munsch Hardt Kopf & Harr in 2011, I worked at Gardere Wynne Sewell and, before that, Baker McKenzie. Immigration law is one of the more individual-oriented areas of law, and you see the results of your work quickly.

“Today, my parents live next door to me. My family is a huge part of any career success I’ve had. I love that I can be some incarnation of all the things I wanted to be in my youth: I’ve learned about various branches of science, and writing goes hand-in-hand with law. Teaching and counseling remain my favorite aspects, but the teaching goes in both directions—I’ve learned so much from my clients throughout the years.”

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