Paralegal Patty Dietz-Selke Practices Patience

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LEGAL STAFF PROFILE                                                                                   1. 800.973.1177

                           Paralegal Patty Dietz-Selke Practices Patience
                           [By Robin Salisian]
                           While patience is a virtue, it’s also a necessary trait for working in immigration law, at least according to Patty Dietz-Selke, a
                           paralegal in Troutman Sanders’s immigration department.

In fact, “patience,” says Dietz-Selke,              pro bono director, job referral director, and         As a paralegal one must—it seems—don
choosing this quality from a long list, “is         vice president.                                       many hats. Thankfully, Dietz-Selke thrives
probably the most crucial.”                                                                               on this.
                                                    “Immigration law is not only a fascinating
“A paralegal will need patience to (a) handle       area of law but also quite a hot topic since          “Variety is the spice of life,” she says, so she
the constant calls from the foreign nationals       9/ and with recent developments,” says              loves the various personalities, nationalities,
checking on their petitions, (b) explain the        Dietz-Selke. “These days, I get frequent              complexities, and intricacies that are part of
immigration procedures, forms, and fees             inquires from paralegals who are either               her job. She also relishes change and enjoys
to HR managers, who delve very little, if           interested in entering this specialty area            the “frequent client contact and high level of
ever, into this area of law, and (c) handle the     of law or who have questions on aspects               independence or autonomy of [her] job.”
bureaucracies and massive paperwork of the          of immigration law that have touched their
[Department of State] DOS, the [Department          particular casework or assignment.”                   Today, Dietz-Selke works for the immigration
of Labor] DOL, the [U.S. Citizenship and                                                                  department at Troutman Sanders, LLP, in
Immigration Services] USCIS, etc., that             Immigration law is both detailed and                  Atlanta, Georgia, a law firm that “focuses on
change laws and procedures so regularly             technical and “like other administrative law          all aspects of business immigration law.”
that it seldom makes the news.”                     fields…is procedural, form- and document-
                                                    driven or oriented.” In other words, it is            “We assist with the transfer of international
In 982 Dietz-Selke graduated from the              “notoriously complex.”                                business personnel for U.S. and foreign
University of West Florida with a B.A.                                                                    companies, the defense of corporations
in International Studies and a minor in             “One of the main duties of an immigration             charged with employer sanction violations,
management. A year later, she obtained              law paralegal is to function as a liaison             training of HR personnel, the acquisition of
a paralegal certificate. And in 997 Dietz-         between the attorney, the client, and the             work visas, labor certification, permanent
Selke began a 0-year teaching stint for            various governmental agencies, such as                resident status, and citizenship in the United
several Atlanta-based and online paralegal          Immigration, the Department of Labor,                 States, as well as the representation of
programs, teaching courses such as                  the Department of State, and others,” she             corporate clients and individuals before
Introduction to the Paralegal Profession,           continues.                                            various administrative agencies and in the
Introduction to Westlaw, Fundamentals                                                                     federal courts,” says the firm’s website.
of Immigration Law, and Paralegal Ethics            “Additionally, an immigration paralegal
as well as job search-skills and resume-            drafts applications and petitions for filing and      Typically, Dietz-Selke works 45 hours a
writing workshops, an unauthorized practice         coordinates the filing of those applications          week, plus overtime, which isn’t unusual for
of law seminar, and an immigration law              and petitions, drafts letters and affidavits to       her.
fundamentals seminar.                               support applications and petitions, obtains
                                                    and organizes documents and researches                “The work is fast-paced, varied, and at times
Dietz-Selke also served as a court-appointed        availability of foreign documents, coordinates        quite hectic,” she says. “Many a day will pass
special advocate (CASA) for abused and              translations and equivalency evaluations of           during which sudden emergencies or higher
neglected children from 993 to 998 as well        foreign documents and degrees, researches             priorities appear and supersede all other
as on the board of directors for the Georgia        immigrant and non-immigrant visa alternatives,        plans or priorities. By the end of those types
Association of Paralegals in roles including        and prepares clients for interviews.”                 of days, I usually have completed tons of

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LEGAL STAFF PROFILE                                                                        1. 800.973.1177

work but absolutely none of the items which     management, good follow-through, follow-          On the net
I had planned to accomplish. This is where      up, and the creation of work systems and
patience, multitasking, and flexibility [are]   checklists. Master lists of information           Troutman Sanders, LLP
really…key.”                                    and documents needed for each type of   
                                                petition or application; templates for various
What other factors play key roles in            types of cover letters, correspondence,           Department of Labor
managing such a hectic job? Dietz-Selke         notifications, etc.; a calendaring system
offers further advice:                          to mark approaching deadlines, follow-up
                                                dates, and overdue approvals or responses;        University of West Florida
“The keys to being an efficient and             [and] a personal library of reference   
effective immigration paralegal are             material, books, and resources are all vital in
sound organizational skills, skillful time      successfully executing the job duties.”


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Description: Patty Dietz-Selke Is A Immigration Paralegal In Immigration Law For The Immigration Department At Troutman Sanders, LLP, In Atlanta. Patience Is The Keys To Being An Efficient And Effective Immigration Paralegal.
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