My friend and former colleague Hon. Paul Wickham Schmidt is a true giant in the field of immigration law. Paul was hired right out of law school in 1973 by the legendary BIA chairman Maury Roberts as part of the first ever class of Department of Justice Honors Program graduates to work as attorneys at the Board. He later moved to the INS, where he served two stints as acting General Counsel. In private practice, he was a partner with the Washington, D.C. office of Jones, Day, Reavis and Pogue, and managing partner of the D.C. office of Fragomen, Del Ray and Bernsen. In 1995, Paul was appointed chairman of the BIA. In my opinion, his six-year chairmanship was the golden age of the Board, where his enlightened leadership is sorely missed. Paul authored the landmark decision in Matter of Kasinga, the first BIA precedent to grant asylum based on gender. He left the Board in 2003 to join the Arlington Immigration Court, where he sat as one of the country’s finest immigration judges until his retirement last year. Paul was a founding member of the International Association of Immigration Law Judges. He is presently an adjunct professor of law at Georgetown University Law Center. Paul is highly personable and possesses a big personality, a great intellect, a sharp sense of humor, and most importantly, tremendous integrity and courage of his convictions.
Not surprisingly, Paul has remained quite active in retirement. In addition to teaching at Georgetown and lecturing at numerous other venues, Paul has become a prolific blogger. His http://immigrationcourtside.com, which he launched last December, is necessary reading - I honestly don’t think anything happens that is even vaguely related to immigration law that Paul doesn’t immediately post (with detailed commentary and analysis); he sends out updates at all hours of day and night, all of which are worth reading.
For even more about Paul, another excellent blog, Jason Dzubow’s The Asylumist, posted a two part interview with Paul last year, which can be accessed through the following links: