Giselle Carson is a business immigration attorney at Marks Gray. She recently was recognized as one of the 50 most influential Hispanics in the state by the Florida State Hispanic Chamber of Commerce.
Who or what inspired you to become a lawyer? Passion and determination drive my inspiration. I’m passionate about making a difference and determined to help others. As a former physical therapist, I helped clients regain their independence and get back to walking, running, playing golf — whatever they aspire to do. It’s a powerful and intentional impact I try to make. I became a lawyer to continue to make a difference in the lives of my clients. Today, our business immigration team represents clients from Jacksonville to New York and Latin America to Asia. Through our work, we’re creating opportunities, supporting economic growth and advancing innovation.
Someone other than my spouse who inspires me: Duval County Judge Gary Flower, Madeleine Albright, Teddy Roosevelt and Gloria Estefan.
How do you relate your undergraduate degree to your practice of law? As a physical therapist, I helped patients set goals and achieve them so they could accomplish great things. I must have stamina, a positive outlook and a team player mindset. The skills I developed as a physical therapist make me a better attorney. Our practice requires resilience, patience and partnership to help our clients overcome immigration challenges and achieve their goals. One of the most rewarding things of being a business immigration attorney is sharing in the excitement and honoring the accomplishment of our clients when they receive an approval notice for a work visa, a green card or a naturalization. Sharing their success is magical and keeps on driving my work.
How did you decide on your practice area? Business immigration is very personal to me. Having escaped from Cuba at age 15 and gone through immigration processes twice, first in Canada and then the U.S., gives me the inspiration and desire to help others with their immigration process and goals. I started the immigration practice at Marks Gray in 2005 by helping two of our health care clients obtain work visas for foreign talent, then I started helping more employers and that’s how the immigration team began to grow. Now, our immigration team partners with about 40 employers nationwide and globally to help them hire and retain foreign talent through the processing of work visas and green cards to create opportunities, foster innovation and maintain global economic competitiveness.
What do you think will be the next biggest change in your area of law? Regardless of political positions on immigration, the reality is employers are having a difficult time finding and competing for qualified top talent. Our country needs these workers. Over the next few years, we will need to develop and implement an immigration system that protects U.S. workers while also providing for the efficient incorporation of immigrant workers into our workforce and helping immigrants assimilate and flourish.
If I could change anything in the legal system, I would: Particularly in the business immigration legal system, I would decrease the bureaucracy and reform and/or modernize the system. Our current legal immigration system is decades old and can’t keep up with global changes and workforce needs. The U.S. has just 5% of the world’s population. We’re a nation of immigrants. We must develop a reasonable legal system that allows us to recruit talent from abroad to continue to prosper, innovate and uphold our distinction as the land of opportunity.
What’s your advice for new lawyers? Make time to get out of the office and involved in the community. The practice of law is so much more rewarding when you can be a leading contributor to our community successes. Make time for self-care and to accommodate fatigue into your day-to-day life. One of the reasons I’m so passionate about this topic is that I have sometimes neglected my health to develop my career. Thankfully, I quickly realized this was to my detriment. Make time for your health, mentally and physically. Make time and take ownership to develop the future you want – most likely, it will take you decades to get there. Success is rarely an overnight event.