Dan Baldwin 2013-03-06 00:19:03
Success Is Never Convenient Maria Jones can consider herself lucky. She has earned or created everything she ever dreamed of. Or, perhaps, her continuing success has nothing to do with luck. “My success did not come from thin air. I had to work hard for it, making a lot of sacrifices in life. However, all the effort was worth it, and now it’s time to give back. My goal in life is to share my knowledge and experience with as many people as possible,” she says. Her primary means of sharing is the Maria Jones Law Firm with a focus on the U.S. immigration law as it is applied to family immigration and removal defense. Jones and her staff serve clients on every continent from offices in Phoenix and Tucson, Arizona. Jones and her staff provide aid to families through various means, including immigrant visas for spouses and close family members, non-immigrant visas (such as fiancée and tourist visas), adjustment of status, permanent residence (green card), naturalization and citizenship. From Russia With Success Jones knows the immigration process better than most. She has been through it, not only as an attorney, but as an immigrant. Much of her strength of character was forged in her homeland of Russia. She says, “Have you ever visited Russia in winter? It is very brutal; the temperatures sometime drop down to zero. It is so cold that you forget how to breathe. It seems that you never have enough clothes on to keep you warm and strong winds blow you off your feet when you try to walk on a sidewalk. Fortunately, winter lasts only three to four months, until spring arrives when nature wakes up from its deep winter sleep and blinds you with its beauty. You absolutely must visit Russia in spring!” Jones was born and raised in a small town, south of Moscow. Surviving those brutal winters made her a stronger and more resilient person – two good qualities for a legal representative working in the ever-changing practice of immigration law. Enjoying the spring taught her to see beauty in everything and appreciate life to its fullest. Having being raised in the environment of nature and in the family of lawyers, she developed a strong desire to become successful. She wanted to make the world a better place. Her concept for creating a successful life is basic, “If I help one person breathe easier, my mission in life is accomplished.” Jones insists that her mother, Lidia, was the biggest influence on her life. She taught her to be the best at what she did with the most positive attitude possible. “My mom always said, ‘Your mind is like an empty glass, it will hold anything you put in it. And when you look at it, you have to decide whether it is half full or half empty.’ I have carried this attitude through my whole life and this concept helped me tremendously to keep my positive spirit,” Jones says. With her mother’s guidance, Jones has always been able to see the glass “half full.” This positive attitude helped her to survive in every difficult situation life has thrown her way. She never focuses on challenges of the past. She remembers them only as the difficulties that led her to where she is now—successful. An Early Commitment to Success At an early age, Jones realized that she did not want to be like everybody else. She decided to work on her personal development by reading a different kind of books than everyone else was reading. Her table book was Dale Carnegie’s “How to Win Friends and Influence People.” Carnegie’s words changed how she approached life and those around her. She learned fast that you get in life what you create. So, she began creating the life she wanted – a life full of gratitude, success and completion. Jones has always been a leader. At an early age, she learned how to effectively communicate, how to get where she wanted to go and help others accomplish the same. While she always knew that she would be successful, she understood that it would never be easy. “To become successful in life, you have to do things that others won’t,” she says. Jones attributes some of her success to her own determination. She was not afraid of difficulties and was ready to face every challenge. Throughout her education, she was always at the head of her class. Every day she strived to do better than she did the day before. Her classmates respected her and followed her lead. “Developing daily, weekly and monthly routines prepares you to be victorious and successful in life. It is all comes down to discipline,” Jones says. Her personal discipline and high level of dedication helped her achieve extraordinary results, including something many people would not even consider. She attended two universities at the same time: the Moscow State Law Academy and the Moscow University of Foreign Languages. She graduated with honors from the Moscow State Law Academy in the top five percent of her class and was elected valedictorian. Her successful mindset also helped her to become fluent in English, a benefit that paid off in 1997 when she immigrated to the United States. It also helped her to be accepted to law school at the LL.M. program for international lawyers in Tucson, graduate, and pass the bar exam. Jones admits that those years were the toughest in her life. Since English was her second language, she had to spend countless hours studying textbooks with a dictionary. “Law School is hard enough, but if you study it in a foreign language - multiply the challenge by ten,” she says. None of the classes in her LL.M. program covered the material on the bar exam. So, she taught herself three-years of regular law school material in six months to prepare for the exam. “It was the hardest thing I have done in my entire life,” she says. “Even the birth of my son cannot be compared to a bar exam.” However, Jones is most thankful for those days. “Without that tough experience I would not be where I am right now,” she says. Nothing in Life is Impossible Jones possesses an entrepreneurial spirit and she always wanted to have her own business. After being admitted to practice law in Arizona, she opened her own law firm. This decision seemed so natural, that she did not hesitate a moment. She started her law practice acting as “of counsel” for the largest bridal agency in the United Stated. She was helping American citizens to obtain K-1 visas so they could bring their fiancées into the United States. Her name became well-known not only in all 50 states but in Russia, Ukraine, Peru, Costa Rica, Colombia, China and countries of the European Union. As an immigrant, she perfectly understands how challenging immigrant status can be. She has a compassion for every immigrant who needs her help. “I remember a day when I became a citizen of the United States. It was in a court room of the Federal Building with at least 50 lucky applicants. All of them had to go through a painful process of filling out forms, attending interviews, passing tests on American history and language so they could proudly pronounce themselves citizens of the United States. This feeling is amazing. I know that Americans born in the United States did not have such an opportunity to experience something like that. A lot of them do not appreciate enough what they have as they take their life in the Unites States for granted,” Jones says. Maria Jones Law Firm’s goal is to exceed client expectations by providing exceptional customer service for everyone in need. Jones ensures that her staff is doing everything possible to make each client feel as if he or she is part of the firm’s family. Practicing immigration law in the United States is challenging. Clients must go through numerous obstacles before obtaining legal status. The process can be very sensitive, especially when you are dealing with people from different countries with different cultures and personalities. Most of the firm’s clients are Spanish speaking and require special attention. That is why Jones personally selects her staff members to match and effectively address the needs of each client. Jones is actively involved in the community. Her firm provides pro bono services to various churches and also donates to nonprofit organizations and groups of disabled children. Every December, Maria Jones Law Firm donates Christmas dinner and Christmas gifts to low-income families with disabled children. Sometimes, this is the only gift a child receives for Christmas. Each year, Maria Jones Law Firm sends one family to Disneyland with all expenses paid. “It is not the child’s fault that he or she was born with a disability into a low-income household. This child has every right to experience something as amazing as Disneyland. When I see a child smile opening a gift, when I see a child’s excitement in anticipation of an upcoming Disneyland trip, when I hear that we made a huge difference in this child’s life – I know, we succeeded,” Jones says. This community involvement did not go unnoticed. In 2008, Jones had the opportunity to meet President George W. Bush, while attending a prayer breakfast convention in Washington DC. “It was the most memorable moment in my life,” Jones says. From that moment she realized that everything is possible in life, if you just want it bad enough. Whom Do You Blame for Success? Her success and high dedication in helping families with their immigration issues gave birth to an idea for a book - a simple guide for immigrants containing questions and answers. In her book, “Deportation Impossible?” she shares her knowledge, experience and information – matters every immigrant should know before making any decisions in life that could negatively affect his or her immigration case. She encourages every immigrant to study it, learn it and use it daily. After reading this book, immigrants will become aware of the consequences of certain actions. This book will teach them how avoid deportation based on the most common mistakes of others. “What stands between you and your success,” Jones asks. “It is those seven inches between your ears. You do not blame anyone for your success or lack of it, but yourself.”
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