March 01, 2021 The Marketing Issue

Practicing With Twitter: An Immigration Lawyer’s Social Media Journey

From his humble background to his years of experience practicing immigration law to his use of Twitter, Greg Siskind provides numerous lessons for other attorneys looking to utilize social media as a marketing strategy.

Nicholas Gaffney
 “One tweet got me on a list of people to follow for immigration news. After that I started to blow up,” Siskind said.

“One tweet got me on a list of people to follow for immigration news. After that I started to blow up,” Siskind said.

via ZAKOKOR / iStock / Getty Images Plus

Passion is an emotion that is often sought but hard to find. Many people seek something to be passionate about in their lives and careers. Greg Siskind is one of the lucky few who discovered his passion early on in his law career—which almost ended prematurely—and he continues to work toward achieving his goals—sometimes in unique and interesting ways.

After frustration with the corporate world almost pushed Siskind to leave law for a job in business, a chance immigration assignment blossomed into a love for immigration law and the people he now serves. The federal nature of an immigration practice provides Siskind with an extended platform. Since his first immigration matter, Siskind has built a robust national practice based in Tennessee, becoming a respected voice in Trump-era immigration policy and politics. His verified Twitter account reveals a story about the melding of law, politics and social commentary—a story that begins with Siskind’s childhood in South Florida.

Growing up in the Miami area, Siskind experienced immigration firsthand. Living in and around areas populated mostly by immigrants gave him a sense of normalcy regarding the issue. His observation of the Mariel boatlift, a mass emigration of Cubans to Florida in 1980, helped shape his worldview at a young age. Around that time, he realized that “immigration is a basic human right.”

After high school, Siskind migrated north to Tennessee to pursue a bachelor’s degree from Vanderbilt University, and from there he pursued a law degree at the University of Chicago. His college years took him away from immigrant-heavy areas, and he focused his practice on business law. After completing law school, he landed his first job in law at Waller Lansden, a large corporate law firm based in Nashville.

At Waller Lansden, Siskind began to find his practice unfulfilling. “At least, the type of law I was practicing did not excite me, and I wanted my career to be challenging and rewarding,” Siskind said. That changed when Siskind was handed an immigration matter to work on, and he was instantly reminded of the appreciation for human rights that he’d developed in South Florida. Inspired, Siskind eventually decided to establish his own practice specializing in immigration law.

Siskind Susser was founded in 1994 and has since grown to become a leading national immigration law firm with 10 attorneys and 29 staff. The firm focuses on these four areas of immigration law: business and employment, removal and asylum, family immigration, and compliance and approval. Each of the four areas provides an important service to immigrant communities. The complexity of the U.S. immigration system makes it hard for most law firms to dedicate a practice to the field, which is one reason that Siskind chose to focus solely on immigration law.

Yet while Siskind Susser’s work has gained widespread recognition, it’s Siskind’s personal social media presence that has garnered national attention.

Siskind joined Twitter back in 2008, in the early days of the transformative social media phenomenon. He believed the platform offered a way to reach potential clients and to share news of immigration law developments. While he initially gained few clients, Siskind continued to tweet out information when he found the time to do so. Then one day, everything changed. “One tweet got me on a list of people to follow for immigration news. After that I started to blow up,” Siskind said.

That tweet sparked the flame for Siskind, and he began dedicating more time to Twitter, making sure that people were receiving accurate immigration news (and his opinions on immigration politics). Over time, Siskind amassed a dedicated following of reporters, lawyers and others affected by and interested in immigration law. His relevance and following on Twitter earned him a “blue check” of verification, and soon new clients were reaching out to him through Twitter.

These days, Siskind uses Twitter to explain legal and political immigration issues to the masses (and to immigration insiders in the media, in government and at think tanks). The platform also provides a useful resource for his clients. “I generally try to break up a long ruling or litigation on a thread and explain it in small chunks, so that people understand better,” he said. This setup keeps readers engaged, while also allowing more robust commentary on individual, detailed segments.

Siskind has developed technology to streamline and automate legal forms for clients, and he uses Twitter to direct them to those forms. “I have a process where I tweet out a questionnaire for clients to fill out, which takes them to an app, which then helps those clients generate a declaration that gets automatically emailed to my firm,” he said. “It saves a lot of time and manpower.” This automation increases efficiency and organization, while also remaining confidential for the protection of each client.

Not only does Siskind’s Twitter activity boost his business, but it also provides essential assistance to his followers. For example, in 2019, he helped a five-months pregnant woman in a high-risk pregnancy through his account. The woman was attending a green card interview with her husband, and was arrested because she missed an immigration hearing several years earlier. She was put on a bus for an six-hour journey to a detention center and was not allowed to take her medication. Her frantic husband contacted Siskind, and he conducted a Twitter awareness campaign that resulted in thousands of calls to the detention center. She was released, and back home with her husband the following night. She and her child are both doing well today.

Those involved in immigration law can’t escape involvement in politics. Siskind is no stranger to expressing his political views on social media, which can be a risky move—especially during the Trump administration. Siskind says the four years of that administration “made immigration unattractive so people do not want to come to America and consider deporting themselves.”

Siskind’s immigration law practice continues to embrace its mission of helping clients with their legal struggles, while his Twitter account provides ongoing information and resources to those in need. Meanwhile, his frequent trips to Washington, D.C., to speak on immigration laws and rulings have established his reputation as an advocate for his clients. Siskind’s goal? To help fix “the dysfunctional immigration system in America.”

Nicholas Gaffney

Attorney

Nicholas Gaffney, a lawyer and former journalist, is the founder of Zumado Public Relations. ngaffney@zumado.com

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