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Spotlighting Our Unique Stories: Miguel Manna


From Globe Trotter to Lawyer

From the time he was 12 years old, Miguel Manna knew he wanted to be a lawyer. He just didn’t know what kind.

Born in Venezuela, Miguel and his parents would crisscross the globe for his father’s job, an experience that later shaped his decision to focus his practice on immigration. Their first stop was Panama. Then Hong Kong, Taiwan, and later Japan, where Miguel spent his formative high school years. The trio would move back to Venezuela, where his mother is from, before he eventually came to the United States, where his father was born.

All this globetrotting would inform Miguel’s life and career. He was exposed to new cultures and people from an early age. There was also no doubt that at times he felt like an outsider. As a Spanish-speaking kid from Venezuela, he learned how to adapt to his new home countries while growing up.

By his high school and college years, Miguel also learned more about his immigration status. As an international student, his parents were bearing a higher cost for his education. That’s when he started his journey to full citizenship, getting his green card, and becoming a permanent resident by the time he was pursuing his law degree in San Antonio, Texas, at St. Mary’s University School of Law.

There, he still had not landed on practicing in immigration. But he knew he wanted to get as much practical experience as possible. He then discovered the university’s immigration clinic. Students were allowed to work real cases and appear in court to litigate. This was a good skill to hone, Miguel thought.

He quickly fell in love with the stories of the clients he was serving. Most had gone through tragedy and hardship to find their way to the United States — yet they were still the kindest people he had met in his life. They were also generous. While working cases on a pro bono basis, clients would sometimes cook him food, including delicious tamales.

Miguel found a passion in immigration law. Some laws are beautifully aspirational, he believes. Other parts of the immigration system, though, are flawed and based more on assumptions.

It’s at this intersection where Miguel can apply his past experiences with the immigration system to help clients in his practice at Parker Poe. His immigration process was lengthy, but nothing as arduous as other clients he’s served over the years. He recognizes that someone’s circumstances at birth separate them from how smooth the immigration process will run. If it weren’t for him being born to an American father, his life and that of a client who is trying to immigrate to improve their life could be the same.

His past experiences moving across the globe help Miguel bring a different perspective to his work, and he finds that his globetrotting experience has made him a better lawyer. He credits Parker Poe with letting him bring his perspective and experiences as a Hispanic person who has dealt with the immigration system firsthand to his practice. Having varied perspectives can make the firm a stronger place, he believes, while also helping him build credibility with his clients.  .

To learn more about the initiatives Parker Poe has undertaken to promote diversity, equity, and inclusion within our firm and in our communities, click here to read our annual DEI report.