Top Lawyer 2023: Darius Amiri

Editorial StaffSeptember 1, 2023
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Photo by Mirelle Inglefield
Photo by Mirelle Inglefield

Specialty: Immigration
Law School/Year Graduated: Arizona State University, 2010
Years in Practice: 12

How does your own immigration story inform how you approach your clients and cases?
My father is an Iranian immigrant. He attended college in America and met my mother here during his studies. They returned to Iran for his compulsory military service, and, during their stay, the Iranian revolution happened. He was incredibly fortunate to escape and relocate to America with my mother to start his family, pursue an MBA, become a small business owner and ultimately an American citizen… His experience played a big role in my decision to become an immigration lawyer, and I am constantly reminded of this and inspired by my clients who I see come from all walks of life and all corners of the globe with a passion and desire to call America home.

Arizona has one of the highest immigration caseloads in the country. Do you and your team ever feel overwhelmed or spread thin?
It’s part of the practice. Client management, expectation management [and] improvements in technology, along with remote appearances in courtrooms and interviews, have made things better. But ultimately, immigration is not for everyone. You have to really enjoy what you are doing, be up for the fight, be patient and remember to allocate time for self-care.

Who are your role models in your field?
Gloria Goldman is my hero! She is a local practitioner based in Tucson who is a fountain of knowledge, the sweetest person alive, and her family are Holocaust survivors. I can’t think of a better person to help immigrants in this current environment.  

You have a degree in world literature! What are some of the best books you’ve read recently?
I think [with] being buried in statutes and Westlaw all day at work, I like to pivot when I read at home to more of the sci-fi/fantasy genre. Lately, I’ve enjoyed books by Pierce Brown, Scott Lynch, N.K. Jemisin and Joe Abercrombie.

“If I wasn’t a lawyer, I’d be…”
A professional karaoke singer, a writer for a late-night comedy show or an expat chef-slash-Airbnb owner somewhere on the Iberian peninsula.

How we Picked our Top Lawyers

PHOENIX magazine generates its Top Lawyers list via an online survey of practicing attorneys in the Greater Phoenix area. Partnering with Colorado Springs-based information research firm Data Joe, PHOENIX disseminates emails to each of the roughly 16,000 active attorneys licensed with the State Bar of Arizona, directing them to an online portal managed by Data Joe. The survey, which takes place over six weeks, asks respondents to provide the names of up to three attorneys they deem the best in 39 legal specialties. To spread the votes democratically, respondents are asked to nominate at least one attorney in each category who works in a firm other than their own.

At the conclusion of the voting, Data Joe tallies the votes digitally and verifies that vote recipients are in good standing with the State Bar. PHOENIX editors then set the vote thresholds in a manner that ensures the top 10 to 20 percent of vote-getters in each category make the Top Lawyers list. Our fact-checkers then call each attorney on the final list to confirm their affiliation with a Valley-based firm and obtain accurate contact information.

PHOENIX does not give preference to attorneys who advertise. Top Lawyers earn their place on the list purely by virtue of the votes they receive, and our sales staff does not see the list until the lawyers have been confirmed by our fact-checkers. 2023 is the second year PHOENIX has conducted Top Lawyers.