Silva strikes right chord with immigration practice

The Memphis Daily News/The Memphis News

Dec. 5, 2013

Tony Silva with Donati Law Firm LLP grew up in Nashville and with a background in music. He left the Music City for the University of Memphis as a classical performance major, with plans to become a performer and professor. He would go on to receive bachelor’s, master’s and doctorate degrees in music performance in classical piano before taking a turn towards law.

“I was halfway through my doctoral studies when I thought, ‘You know, I just want to do something different. I’ve been doing this for so long, and I love it, but I don’t know that I really want to make a career of it,’” Silva said.

So in the middle of his doctoral pursuit, he made the decision to enter law school. The three-time graduate of the University of Memphis decided to make it one more with a juris doctorate from the Cecil C. Humphreys School of Law.

“This kind of sounds crazy, but in my spare time in law school, I actually finished up the doctorate,” he said.

Silva received the final two diplomas on the same weekend in 2008 and was told by the university that it was a first. His initial notion was to focus on entertainment law, but taking into account his background with its variety of players, he “sort of stumbled into” immigration law.

“Being in a conservatory setting, you see people from all around the world,” he said. “So I had friends and colleagues from anywhere from Japan and Germany, South Korea, Taiwan, France, Australia – and you get really used to being around different types of people and different cultures.”

During law school he was a clerk with Siskind Susser PC, where his mentor, David Jones, encouraged Silva to focus on the practice of immigration law. During the clerkship, his training as a classical musician came into play, as he worked on cases involving aliens with extraordinary ability, those immigrants making a living in the creative and performing world . . . (read more)