Perhaps no other enterprise offers greater perspective, empathy and appreciation than traveling.
Fry & Elder intern Elissa Stiles knows this all too well.
As a 2014 International Studies graduate of the University of Tulsa, Elissa Stiles studied abroad and researched in Peru, Brazil and Madagascar. Those travel experiences provided her greater insight into other cultures and nationalities, along with just how thankful she is for the opportunity to live in the United States.
“It was a great opportunity that allowed for me to meet a wide variety of people from different cultures and regions of the world,” Elissa Stiles said. “The more I talked to them the more I really began to understand the immense privilege I had living over here in the U.S.
“There are a lot of people who would love the opportunity to live here but are unable to come over here because they are poor, don’t know how to get a visa or are just unable to because of the laws we currently have in place.”
Now, a second-year law school student at the University of Tulsa College of Law, Stiles is in the process of learning how to better advocate for immigrants and foreigners hoping to come to the U.S.
She interns for Fry & Elder’s talented and experienced duo of immigration law attorneys Lorena Rivas and Ruth Calvillo and believes her experiences with the acclaimed Oklahoma law firm have reinforced what she learned from her travel experiences.
“I never really planned on pursuing a career in law,” Stiles said, “but I came back to TU (from studying abroad) and began working with international students, and it just became clear to me that becoming an immigration law attorney would better enable me to help those looking to come to the U.S.
“I love working with Lorena and Ruth and have learned so much from both of them during my time at Fry & Elder. Law school is great, but it doesn’t teach the practical skills that it takes to be a good attorney like working for a firm like Fry & Elder.”
Tulsa Media Spotlights Elissa Stiles, Others
With immigration law becoming such a controversial and pressing issue for many, the national and Oklahoma media has taken notice. Stiles and two others are profiled in the November issue of TulsaPeople Magazine. Click HERE to read the article which documents Stiles’ background and how she helped co-found the Immigration Law Society at TU.
Stiles is quoted in the article saying:
“There’s not a specific reason that I was born in the United States and they weren’t. That’s just the luck of the draw. How silly of me to think I deserve to be in this country but the people who weren’t born here don’t deserve that. People who want to come to this country … I want to help them get here.”
Stiles said her first experience studying abroad in Peru was when she initially began to question boarders and that her experiences researching traditional medical practices in Madagascar made her call into question U.S. boarder policy even more. By the time she got to Brazil to research sex trafficking and the World Cup, her beliefs and values were “solidified” in viewing people with a borderless lens.
“Staying with my host families really opened my eyes to the opportunities I have and take for granted,” Stiles said. “They were some of the most kind-hearted and generous people I have ever met.”
Stiles Reinforces Fry & Elder’s Diversity
Elissa Stiles is one of several people at Fry & Elder making a difference. The nationally-recognized firm has embraced a progressive, forward-thinking approach that permeates through its multilingual staff.
Stiles is fluent in Spanish and Portuguese, while fellow Fry & Elder intern Danya Mahjoub is fluent in German and Arabic. All total, there are nine Fry & Elder attorneys and employees who are fluent in a foreign language.
“The ability to communicate effectively with clients and in court has always been a vital skill attorneys and legal personnel need to possess,” Rivas said. “As our world becomes more interconnected and immigration law services become in greater demand, having a well-rounded, multilingual legal staff is becoming more and more paramount. Fry & Elder is a firm that has always sought to grow and diversify its ability to help clients. The number of people who are multilingual here is a direct sign of the firm embracing that culture and movement forward.”
- Two 2018 Best Lawyers® Selections
- One of only 19 attorneys in the state to be a Fellow of the American Academy of Matrimonial Lawyers
- Best Lawyers® Lawyer of the Year for Family Law in Tulsa 2016
- The 2016 Oklahoma Family Law Attorney of the Yearby the Oklahoma Bar Association Family Law Section
- Five attorneys recognized by Super Lawyers®
- Four attorneys AV® Preeminent Peer Review Rated by Martindale-Hubbell®
- Three of the past four Oklahoma Bar Association Family Law Section Chairs
- A Cherokee Nation District Court Judge
- The 2017 OBA Earl Sneed Award Recipients