Bettering Lives Through Law

Elif Beall

Elif Beall has been practicing law since 2006 on Kaua‘i. Coco Zickos photos

Elif Beall
Owner of Beall Law

Please tell us about your practice and background in law. I am a lawyer who has practiced several different kinds of law in the past, but am now focusing on immigration and appeals. I graduated from George Washington University law school in Washington, D.C., in 2004. I moved to Kaua’i in 2004 right after I graduated, took the bar and got my license in 2005 and started my own practice in 2006.

What is immigration law? It’s a pretty broad area with several different parts, but it’s basically the way that people who aren’t U.S. citizens can be here legally either through work visas or through family relationships. I’ve learned all about how someone can immigrate through, for example, getting married to an American or how a company can hire someone and help them become a US. citizen through their work.

Who can benefit from this on Kaua’i? Families from different countries that have several members living on Kaua’i but they would like to unify everyone. There are quite a few people from the Philippines who come to Kaua’i, for example. They come for opportunities and they create roots here and maybe get their citizenship, so I would help them do that.

Who would benefit from the appeals service? Someone who loses their case on a trial level. So anyone not happy with the outcome of their trial – that can be criminal defendants who were found guilty or maybe civil litigants. I will help them appeal it to see if we can get a better outcome.

Why did you choose to focus on immigrations and appeal law? I think it’s a really good fit for my interest in cultures. I’m the daughter of an immigrant, my mother is an American and I was born in Turkey. I came to the U.S. as a child, and grew up here and was a citizen from birth, but I am familiar with the issues of families being separated and also the opportunities that America has for a lot of people. It’s a personal connection for me, and I would love to be a part of helping people toward something – bettering their lives. I also feel like the communities that have immigrants benefit from the diversity.

Why law? I’ve always been interested in justice and peace; it’s always been a very moving force for me. I got my undergrad in peace studies, and I went to law school because I wanted to work for the U.N.; I wanted to work in international peace issues.

What is the most rewarding aspect of what you do? Feeling like I’m helping people through a process that can be very difficult sometimes. Helping them and giving them information so that they’re not afraid; so that they understand what they’re dealing with and to be a buffer between a legal system that can be really confusing, complex and scary. It feels really good, like it really matters.

What is the most challenging aspect? Our legal system is broken in a lot of ways. Sometimes it’s very frustrating because you don’t always feel like you get a just outcome, but I think in the end it’s workable. It can be challenging sometimes to work within that system.

What kind of cases have you worked on in the past that were especially rewarding? When I first started, I did a lot of criminal defense. That is rewarding in that you’re making sure some-body’s rights are being looked out for; that they’re getting the shot they should get. Probably the most rewarding cases have been civil rights cases, where we represented a plaintiff whose constitutional rights have been badly abused, and we’ve been successful in winning for them and getting some kind of justice. That’s always very satisfying.

What is your business philosophy? The most important thing for me is integrity and doing what I say I’m going to do when I say I’m going to do it, and being truthful with my clients even when it’s not easy or necessarily pleasant information – really empowering them with what they need to know.