Portrait in Brief Voice of Immigration

By Kathryne Gilbride

Detroit Legal News

You may recognize Bob Birach from his success as a Detroit immigration attorney; then again, if you live or work in the western suburbs, you may know him as the voice of the Farmington Rockets youth football and Farmington Harrison High School girls' soccer games.

Sports' broadcasting is a passion Birach initially pursued while attending Western Michigan University, but out of practical considerations he changed his studies to English in preparation for a career in law. He never could shake the broadcast bug, however, so today he announces goals and touchdowns at his children's games.

Birach adroitly juggles his professional time with being a father. He serves as leader of Cub Scout Pack 45 and attends practices and performances of his four children while earning his name as a top immigration attorney.

The family man originally practiced personal injury litigation, corporate and real estate law, while working at a private practice. His interests in helping people led him to focus mainly on immigration law.

"In immigration law you're not going to get rich, it's a matter of passion," says Birach.

A distant cousin advertised Birach's immigration expertise on his local Yugoslav television show, resulting in many referrals and the position he is in today. His loyalty to Detroit led him to move his practice to the Penobscot Building, where he recently joined forces with Charfoos and Giovan.

"I've been on my own forever and it was one of those things where the whole is greater than the sum of the pieces," Birach says of teaming up with the attorneys.

Recently named a "Super Lawyer," Birach also earned the title of a "Top Lawyer" in 2010 by DBusiness magazine. He credits his success to the fact that he never knew his limits.

"The problem is with education sometimes you learn what you cannot do and so you've got limits and you learn your limits and you never try to go beyond," Birach says. "I didn't know anything about immigration law, so I just figured everything is possible. So I would try anyway and I started winning things. Because I don't know my limits, I don't know what I cannot do."

He takes a passionate stand on reform and the role it plays in the economy.

"When you are born and raised in the United States you usually go to school to become a teacher or a lawyer or you are going to go out and get a business degree so you can work for someone else," Birach says, "The people who are creating jobs in the country are the ones who are not risk adverse, and people who are not risk adverse are coming in from other countries. They are giving up everything they have known."

Birach advises allowing the community to have more of a say in immigration policies.

"When the government writes immigration laws it's like sausage, we eat it," says Birach, "We need the government to include us because within the community we know who the cheaters are."

To help resolve the immigration reform controversy, Birach offers three recommendations:

"Get the government out of the way, restore discretion to judges, and support enforcement 100 percent," says Birach.

"I would love to see Detroit encourage immigration, people are not taking our jobs, they are creating jobs," says Birach, "Detroit should encourage foreign companies to come here and encourage foreign investment to bring people in to train our workers."

Borrowing the wise words of Benjamin Franklin, Birach says, "Anyone who sacrifices liberty for security deserves neither."

Published: Wed, Jun 23, 2010