Inspired to help immigrants during a time when there were few immigration attorneys in North Carolina, Ann Robertson, ’70, founded Robertson Immigration Law Firm more than 25 years ago. Her journey began at Meredith College, where she formed a friendship that changed her life forever.
At Meredith, Robertson, who was a French major, took a religion course with Professor Emeritus Roger Crook. She was later surprised to reunite with her professor when he served as an interim pastor at her hometown church in Rocky Mount.
“We became very good friends. He got to know my family well — we just adored [him],” said Robertson.
After earning her M.Ed. in French from the University of North Carolina at Greensboro, Robertson became a French professor and later obtained her Ph.D. in college and university administration from Duke University.
“That’s when I had my second chance to return to Meredith,” said Robertson. “I had the wonderful opportunity to work as the director of development.”
Robertson later earned her law degree from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill and served as a judicial clerk and a deputy campaign manager. During this time, she was reunited with Crook, who asked if she could help his French-speaking friends who were seeking asylum from Zaire.
Robertson took on the challenge and later became a national expert in asylum cases. She developed a reputation for winning and began to take on broader immigration cases, which led to her current role as an immigration attorney.
“It is thanks to Meredith and Dr. Roger Crook that I’ve been doing this for 25 years,” said Robertson. “And I love it. I can’t imagine not doing it.”
In 2001, Robertson, who serves as the retained attorney for the Mexican Consul General of Raleigh, became a board-certified specialist. She has also served as president of the Carolinas chapter of the American Immigration Lawyers Association (AILA). Because of her active role as an advocate for immigration reform, Robertson was awarded the James E. Cross Jr. Leadership Award in 2016.
Her advice for aspiring immigration lawyers is to learn another language, find a mentor, and be active in your professional organization and community.
“Surround yourself with people who support you and say, ‘You’re doing the best you can do. Just keep at it’.”