Three For Thursday – Linda Rahal


…and hug longer

I met Linda about a year ago when I agreed to give a presentation at the Law Practice Management Section of the DC Bar. Linda is on the steering committee and we did the preliminary work together and jointly chose the topic of the presentation. At some point during the process, I did what anyone would do…a Google search on Linda. The result of that search revealed an amazing story that Linda hadn’t shared. As an immigration lawyer, Linda had helped a Serbian woman named Ljiljana on multiple occasions. When Ljiljana found out that she had stage 4 breast cancer, she again turned to Linda for help. Only this time, it was to ask Linda to take Mariana, who was Ljiljana’s adopted toddler, after Ljiljana’s death. Linda never hesitated and Mariana, who is now ten, eventually became Linda’s adopted daughter.    

Some much more mundane, but still relevant, things to know about Linda are that she received her J.D. degree, magna cum laude, from the American University, Washington College of Law.  She earned her B.A. degree, cum laude, in International Relations from Tufts University.  Linda is a member of the District of Columbia, Maryland, and American Bar Associations. Linda is also a long-standing member of the American Immigration Lawyers Association and also an active member of the International Network of Boutique Law Firms (INBLF).

Linda’s Three For Thursday follow. 

Stay Flexible
I believe that plans need to be flexible so that you can take advantage of opportunities. Don’t be so rigid that you miss an opportunity. Say “yes” and stretch for a goal. When Ljiljana asked, “will you take my daughter when I die?” I simply said, “yes.” I can assure you that that was not my plan, given that I was single, in my forties and had no other children!

Flexibility in a different circumstance is also what led me to become in immigration lawyer after law school. I had done immigration work for three years as a paralegal and had made a decision that I wasn’t going to do it as a lawyer. But I found myself face-to-face with an opportunity with a start-up firm, so I took it. Twenty-six years later, I am the managing partner of my own firm. Opportunities abound if you keep your eyes open and are willing to adjust course.

I think it was Richard Branson who said that if you have a great opportunity that you aren’t sure you can succeed at, you should first grab it and then figure out how to do it. I agree with that completely!

Stretch to Reach Your Fullest Potential  
Reaching for your potential means that you have to “get out of your comfort zone.”  I often push employees because I want to see them rise to the top of their potential.  

Do things that challenge you, whether in athletics, in your work or just in life. One day many years ago after a long bike ride, I agreed to do an Ironman triathlon without knowing how to swim.  I signed up and then learned to swim. It was a great experience!

Exercise Often
The benefits of exercise are endless! I find that when I exercise, I have an overall sense of well-being that is far greater than when I’m sedentary. Not to mention weight control and improved sleep. Exercise can also provide you with alone time to recharge. There is no downside of exercise that I can think of.

One for The Road…Hug Longer
A yogi once told me that hugs need to be at least three breaths long to transfer energy. As a result, I try to always hug longer and deeper. It’s a much more meaningful expression than a mere quick embrace or pat on the back.

(To read more about Linda’s journey to bring Mariana home, please see this article in the Washington Post.