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Immigration INNOVATION

“A lot of law involves fighting over money—whether it’s [a party seeking] compensation, a breach of contract, or even in family matters. Immigration law has little to do with fighting over money. It’s more about keeping families united or helping people get into and stay in the United States so that they can live the American Dream,” says Jonathan D. Montag.

For Montag, who has concentrated his practice on immigration law since graduating from the University of San Diego School of Law in 1994, this type of work was something he more or less fell into, after employment as an associate in immigration practice.

Montag certainly had an interest in global relations, choosing to double major at the University of Pennsylvania in Near Eastern Studies and International Relations. He also spent a year studying abroad in Cairo, Egypt, and two years studying Economics in a graduate program at Uppsala University in Uppsala, Sweden. Coupled with his travels during his five years in the military; the decision to pursue immigration law seemed a natural fit. “A lot of people look to become a lawyer to establish a particular lifestyle. Others do it for the competition, the combat. I think of it as an intellectual pursuit,” he says.

While Montag doesn’t have a ‘typical’ client, most clients are generally struggling with one of four major issues: immigrating family members; those facing deportation for criminal or immigration violations; those seeking to become citizens or to prove that they are citizens; and those seeking asylum. While he may not have a typical client, he does have a typical feeling about his work.

“Immigration law is complex. I get to use my knowledge to help people. It is very rewarding and fulfilling work. When someone is in big trouble, or really needs to stay here, I get to help,” he says.

In turn, his efforts in the field have been widely well-received. A regular speaker and writer for the American Immigration Lawyers Association, he’s also had numerous published decisions including Beltran-Tirado v. INS, (2000) and Lara-Cazares v. Gonzales, (2005).

Montag is a Certified Specialist in Immigration and Nationality Law designated by the State Bar of California Board of Legal Specialization. Montag is a Super Lawyer as designated by Super Lawyer Magazine, was selected as one of San Diego’s Top Attorneys in Immigration Law from San Diego Metro Magazine and San Diego Magazine, and as a Best Lawyer by U.S. News and Best Lawyer.

Karen Gorden

Karen Gorden is a Staff Writer for Attorney Journal.

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About the Author: Karen Gorden is a Staff Writer for Attorney Journal.

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