Get to Know Michael Carlin

Michael Carlin works with immigrants to help them to become lawful permanent residents and citizens of the United States, and to defend them against deportation. He represents clients in Immigration Court and at USCIS immigration offices, and has presented arguments before several U.S. Courts of Appeals, including at the Sixth, Seventh, and District of Columbia Circuits. 

He represented Juan Esquivel Quintana at the Board of Immigration Appeals and at the Sixth Circuit, and is co-counsel to Jeffrey Fisher, who will argue the case before the U.S. Supreme Court on February 27.

Carlin graduated with honors in 2001 from the University of North Carolina School of Law, in Chapel Hill, N.C., where he received a full academic scholarship and was a staff member of the North Carolina Law Review. 

Since 2011, Carlin has been the sole practitioner at the Law Office of Michael Carlin PLLC, in Ann Arbor. Prior to opening his own practice, he was a staff attorney at the International Institute of Metropolitan Detroit, where he represented many clients, both in Immigration Court and at the USCIS offices in Detroit and Chicago.

By Jo Mathis
Legal News

Residence: Ann Arbor.

Favorite local hangouts: El Harissa, RoosRoast, Ricewood.

Favorite websites:,,

What is your most treasured material possession?
I’d have to say my piano. I’m not a good pianist, but I enjoy practicing. It keeps me humble.

What was always written on your grade school report card? “Talks too much.”

What is your happiest childhood memory?
Drawing Snoopy and trading my drawings for Hot Wheels cards.

What’s the best compliment you’ve ever received? That I was diligent in pursuing a positive result for a client.

When you were considering law school, what was Plan B?
Law school was Plan B!

What has been your favorite year so far? 2016.

Do you prefer email, text, or a phone call? Email.

When you look back into the past, what do you miss most? Being less busy.

What is your most typical mood? Cautiously optimistic.

What were you doing in your last selfie?
Enjoying the January 21 Women’s March in Ann Arbor with my wife.

Who is on your guest list for the ideal dinner party?
John Lewis, Regina Spektor, Michelle Obama, Andrew Bird, Mitsuko Uchida, Joey Alexander.

What question do you most often ask yourself?
How can I best keep calm and carry on?

If you could trade places with someone for a day, who would that be?
My piano teacher, if it means that I could possess her skills for the day.

What’s the most awe-inspiring place you’ve ever been? The Grand Canyon.

What is your proudest moment as a lawyer? The Supreme Court’s cert grant in Esquivel-Quintana v. Lynch.

What is one thing you would like to learn to do? Play the piano (LOL).

What is something most people don’t know about you? I occasionally bow hunt deer.

What is the best advice you ever received? Do what you love.

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