Murthy Law Firm Employee Profile : Anna Stepanova, Attorney10 Dec 2009
Anna Stepanova started learning immigration law before she ever set foot in law school. Arriving from Russia as a visitor, she first secured a student visa, then H1B status, before finally obtaining a green card through the National Interest Waiver process. Aside from working on her own immigration case, Anna had many other opportunities to learn about this area of the law; she explains, “Most of my relatives who live in the U.S. are from Russia, and they put me in charge of my family’s immigration cases.”
Later, when Anna became a Designated School Official (DSO) at the University of Iowa, she realized that immigration law was what she wanted to do with the rest of her life. “It didn’t take me long to realize that I wanted to do more with this, so I went through an accelerated law program at the University of Iowa, then started an immigration law firm with another attorney,” Anna says.
After a while, she was ready for a change. Anna says, “I was always fascinated with bigger firms, and had heard of the Murthy Law Firm before, due to Sheela’s national and international reputation.” Anna is now the supervising attorney for the Special Projects department at the Murthy Law Firm, a position tailor-made for her special talents. “When I was hired, they asked what my personal preference was, and I said ‘novel and unusual issues.’ I was the first attorney hired for the Special Projects department, and the whole department has grown up around me over the past several years.”
Anna relishes the intellectual challenges of her work. “I love working on novel cases – whether it’s an appeal, or compliance work, or litigation. No case is exactly the same as what I’ve worked on before, and every case needs a unique approach. I like to be successful in challenging cases, in situations where other attorneys simply gave up. We have been able to help several clients in desperate situations, people who came to us as a last resort. When we can help them get what they want, it really is very satisfying. It’s so much fun that my family jokes that I love being at work more than I love being at home!”
Much as she loves the intellectual stimulation, Anna’s immigration work also resonates deeply with her personal experience. “I feel a personal connection to immigration, because I’m an immigrant myself. I’ve gone through this process, so I really understand the clients’ concerns. People are very vulnerable at this time, when they have to deal with a different language and culture and government bureaucracy. I can relate to that.”