Discover Pinoy recently sat down with immigration attorneys Kelly O'Reilly and Richard Wilner to discuss the formation of WILNER & O'REILLY a full-service immigration law firm.
DP: First of all congratulations on the success of Wilner & O'Reilly.
KSO: Thank you,
RMW: Thank you, we have been very blessed.
DP: Wilner & O'Reilly has risen to prominence within the Filipino community in an extraordinary amount of time, why is that?
RMW: Number one, we are trustworthy. What you see is what you get. We are not purposefully mysterious, as some lawyers are, in order to exact a high fee or cover-up for a lack of specific knowledge about your case. We don't exploit our clients, reveal their secrets and then style the exploitation as a "story." In addition, we are accessible. And yes, we actually return phone calls and/or respond to emails.
DP: Mr. O'Reilly?
KSO: The easiest answer to that question is that we know immigration law and get results. Richard is a Certified Specialist in Immigration and I am a former Immigration Officer, so, between the two of us our client's problems are usually solved. This success rate has a habit of being shared with friends and family, building our reputation in the Filipino community.
DP: I see your logo at many Pinoy functions, even the recent Manny Pacquiao fight. Why are you so involved in the Filipino community?
RMW: We really do love and value our kababayan friendships. We don't just represent Filipinos. We represent people from all over the world. If we had to make a choice, however, and give up representing everyone except one group of people only, we would choose to stop representing everyone but our Pinoy brothers and sisters. (Smiling)
KSO: For me personally, I have a long history with my friends from the Pinoy community. High School days in a city near Delano, California, my missionary work with Filipinos in Hong Kong, serving as an INS officer and finally as an attorney with a firm that work almost exclusively with Filipinos. Working in the Pinoy community and making their hopes and wishes come true was a natural.
DP: Speaking of hopes and wishes, I was speaking with your staff just a minute ago and they were telling me that they named you two the miracle workers. What is that about?
KSO: Well, first of all I have to compliment our staff, they really are great, and because they are highly experienced, I often hear them amazed by the approvals on cases they felt were near impossible. Based upon their experience at other law firms they can't believe our success rate. Thus, the name miracle workers.
RMW: I don't know about miracles, but I do know that our reputation for professionalism and honesty more often than not gets our client's the desired results. We are dedicated to quality service in representing our clients. This is one of the major reasons we started this firm and fortunately, it has found recognition within the Filipino community, Filipino businesses and within the entertainment industry.
DP: I was hoping you would mention the entertainment industry. Everyone has noticed that your firm represents such luminaries as Manny Pacquiao, GMA, Lani Misalucha, Black Eye Peas, Randy Santiago, Jaya and the list goes on. How did you get involved with so many Filipino stars?
RMW: Reputation! Honestly, most of the folks who represent the stars you just mentioned can afford and demand the best. These individuals compose a small community and when they hear of success they pass the word along. That is why they give us a call.
KSO: It's nice to work with people who have brought such honor to the Filipino people but to be honest; we are more at home with our Pinoy friends.
RMW: We don't just view our client's as a file number or dollar signs. Of course we value their business but perhaps more importantly, we value their friendship and trust. More often than not, we become part of our clients' families. I can't tell you how many aunties and uncles I have now, let alone cousins.
DP: Before we go could you both tell us a little bit about what why someone would need an immigration attorney or why hire your firm?
KSO: When I was an Immigration officer everyday I dealt with people who were separated from their family by great distance and for long periods of time. It was not unusual for me to meet someone who had not seen their family for over 10 or 15 years. Typically, this separation was caused by long delays at the immigration service. Delays that the immigrant's attorney should have resolved. I think there is a real need for an attorney who understands the system and what is needed to move cases forward. Because of my experience I knew I could fill that role. There are so many cases at the INS/USCIS just sitting there collecting dust and most attorneys just say to their clients that nothing can be done. This just isn't true: there is always something that can be done.
DP: Sounds like you're the answer man, Mr. Wilner?
RMW: You fill in here
DP: Oh, one more item, prospects for immigration change.
RMW: Positive immigration change is on the way and if this is something your readers need or anticipate they really should give us a call.
DP: Thank you gentlemen, it's been a pleasure.
KSO: Thank you.