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Who Represents Who

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Berry Appleman & Leiden LLP is an ‘outstanding strategic partner’ and ‘a top choice for multinationals looking to manage global immigration issues’. Significantly, its lawyers stand out as ‘true experts’ and their ‘high level of expertise brings exceptional value to the table’, according to clients. The firm has seven US offices, and nine international platforms, all of which focus exclusively on corporate immigration law, ensuring a ‘comprehensive and seamless global approach’. From Dallas, managing partner Jeremy Fudge oversees ‘a technically excellent group’ with ‘a service philosophy that far exceeds that of competing firms’. Fudge is the key contact for the firm’s ongoing representation of a global engineering services company and regularly advises it on migration issues involving over 20 countries. The ‘extremely efficientKortney Gibson is also recommended in Dallas and manages some of the largest immigration programs in the US, with a particularly strong showing in the telecoms sphere. In San Francisco, ‘excellent global strategistDavid Berry provides ‘strong service management’; he continues to advise a multinational IT company on immigration issues spanning 26 countries. Washington DC managing partner Lynden Melmed is an ‘instantly recognizable name in the immigration space’ and his office also includes senior counsel Jeffrey Gorsky, who recently joined from the Visa Office at the Department of State. In 2016, Shawn Orme left the Houston office to join Fragomen, Del Rey, Bernsen & Loewy.

Few firms have the prominence of ‘leading immigration shopFragomen, Del Rey, Bernsen & Loewy, which is hailed as a ‘major force in the global market’. The firm has 40 offices across 20 countries and is able to provide immigration services in more than 100. The firm’s US network comprises 16 offices, all of which focus solely on immigration law and routinely cover the full scope of visa applications, strategy issues and compliance matters. New York-based Austin Fragomen is widely regarded as a thought leader in the immigration space. Atlanta-based Daryl Buffenstein is also a leading light and brings to bear a strong track record in writing immigration legislation. Other key names include Cynthia Lange, who leads the firm’s hi-tech practice from Silicon Valley, and Washington DC-based Bo Cooper, who leads the firm’s government strategies and compliance group. There were also some significant staff changes over the past year. Among the outgoing names, New York’s Michael Patrick retired and San Francisco’s Steven Brotherton joined Sandler, Travis & Rosenberg, PA. The firm also promoted eight attorneys to partner and hired new Houston co-managing partner Shawn Orme from Berry Appleman & Leiden LLP.

Full service firm Seyfarth Shaw LLP has diversified considerably since its establishment as a specialist employment and labor practice in 1945, but its traditional strength remains a cornerstone of the practice and it shines in corporate immigration matters. Its broad service model gives it an edge in M&A-related work, alongside strategic planning, case preparation, visa applications and compliance issues. Los Angeles-based Angelo Paparelli is ‘one of the most knowledgeable, connected and thorough immigration attorneys in the US’ and is highly sought after for complex matters; he has been involved in several high-stakes cases for clients in the hospitality industry over the past year. Boston managing partner Russell Swapp chairs the ‘very professional and efficient’ national practice alongside Atlanta-based James King; both are key figures behind the team’s commitment to stay ahead of the curve in terms of hi-tech service delivery and continue to shape the firm’s immigration management programs. Atlanta-based ‘rising star’ Gabriel Mozes is also recommended and recently overturned a Department of Labor denial of a labor certification on behalf of a leading management consulting firm. In 2016, the group welcomed the arrivals of senior counsels Dawn Lurie in Washington DC and Mahsa Aliaskari in Los Angeles, both from Polsinelli PC.

The immigration team at mid-market powerhouse Akerman LLP acts for a diverse range of clients, receiving a steady flow of instructions from companies across the hospitality, restaurant, media, communications, banking and manufacturing sectors. It also leverages its Latin America and Caribbean practice in providing immigration services relating to those territories. Thomas Raleigh co-chairs the national group from Orlando and also covers a wide range of immigration work; his recent highlights included advising Qvantel USA on employing two H-1B employees and one Australian (E-3) to support the launch of its US affiliate business. Following the departure of Michael Benchetrit, the group is now led by Maria Casablanca, who joined the Miami office in 2016 from her own immigration firm, Casablanca & Associates.

Among the best in the country for corporate immigration’, Duane Morris LLP finds favor for its ‘excellent service and advice’. The group handles the full gamut of immigration work, including work permit, global visa and residence applications, compliance audits, in-house training, transactional support and removal issues. Among the names to note, Washington DC-based department head Denyse Sabagh is singled out as ‘a top immigration attorney who is very responsive to client needs’. Sabagh leads a six-partner team that acts for a broad mix of multinationals, medium-sized companies and start-ups, with particular experience in technology, media, manufacturing, life sciences, financial services and education; representative names include Bittorrent, SITA, Zensar Technologies and Apollo Education Group. San Francisco-based Lisa Spiegel is also recommended and recently assisted two major corporations to secure approvals for PERM applications that had previously been denied.

Texas stalwart Foster LLP focuses exclusively on immigration law from its three US bases in Houston, Austin and Rio Grande Valley - the firm also maintains a small international office in Mexico City. From Houston, firm founder and chairman Charles Foster spearheads a large team that is regularly called upon to advise on the full spectrum of visa issues, global compliance management and contentious work. EB-5 visas are a particular area of specialism and the firm is widely regarded as a leader in immigrant investor visa petitions. Clients include some of the largest employers worldwide, as well as emerging and mid-market companies and investors. Other high-profile names on the team include Austin-based Robert Loughran, who heads the emigration and employer sanctions practice, and Houston-based Judy Lee, who has strong expertise in non-immigrant visas and immigrant visa processing.

Knowledgeable, technical and great to deal with’, Greenberg Traurig LLP earns praise for its ‘extremely professional and effective lawyers’. Proficient across the full spread of immigration services, the team specializes in advising multinational corporations on strategic immigration planning - both into and out of the US. However, the group is also recognized for its strong skill sets in policy development, compliance matters and contentious work, as well as traditional visa issues. ‘Standout specialistLaura Reiff is ‘among the best in her field’, and splits her time between the firm’s McLean and Washington DC offices. Reiff co-chairs the practice alongside McLean-based Martha Schoonover, who is highlighted as ‘incredibly experienced’. Other recommended names in the team include Kate Kalmykov, who splits her time between New York and New Jersey, Atlanta-based Ian Macdonald and McLean-based Pamela Mak.

The ‘knowledgeable, dedicated and personable’ group at Kramer Levin Naftalis & Frankel LLP attracts rave reviews for being ‘all that you could ask for in a firm’. Theodore Ruthizer co-chairs the New York-based group and is singled out for his ‘peerless market knowledge’; Ruthizer has an impressive record, advising corporations, NGOs and financial services companies across all phases of the hiring, transfer and retention of foreign national professionals, investors and performing artists - he also advises on global workforce planning and mobility issues. The ‘phenomenal’ Mark Koestler is sought after for his experience in the advertising, media and technology fields; significantly, he represents more than one-third of the 50 largest US advertising agencies on the recruitment and retention of extraordinary talent. The ‘uniquely knowledgeable and reliable’ Matthew Dunn and the ‘extremely smart and very easy-to-work-with’ Allison Gray are also highly regarded.

Morgan, Lewis & Bockius LLP’s ‘excellent team’ is singled out for its ‘strong sector knowledge and fast response times’. Washington DC-based Eleanor Pelta is ‘a safe pair of hands for complex matters’ and co-chairs the firm’s global immigration practice alongside James Vázquez-Azpiri in San Francisco. The firm’s extensive international network and full-service offering enables it to provide a comprehensive inbound and outbound practice, advising on the full scope of global mobility issues. It blends its comprehensive coverage of US-related matters with experience in non-US visas and work permits, foreign employment laws, and taxation issues. Clients are drawn from a diverse spread of sectors, including technology, energy, financial services, life sciences and retail; Deutsche Post DHL, Samsung Research America and Fujitsu America are representative names.

A standout firm for major immigration issues’, Ogletree Deakins is ‘significantly better than its competitors’, according to some. The specialist employment firm’s large immigration practice particularly impresses with its ‘leading global reputation’ and ‘broad legal knowledge’. The firm assists domestic and multinational companies with the full scope of immigration issues, handling temporary employment visas, residency applications, corporate support and compliance. The firm maintains a joint venture with Emigra and works alongside the corporate immigration consultancy to advise on global immigration strategy, visa preparation and case management. Lawyers are ‘responsive and dependable’, with Raleigh-based practice lead Andrew Merrills highlighted as ‘outstanding’. Other key individuals in the team include Greenville-based Rebecca Sigmund, who has a broad practice covering the full spread of immigration issues, and Denver-based John Combs, who focuses on inbound immigration and related tax and export control matters.

Proskauer Rose LLP’s practice is evenly weighted between high-stakes immigration matters, transactional support and day-to-day issues. David Grunblatt is widely regarded as a market leader in immigration law and is highly sought after for his knowledge of the I-9 program, as well as complex corporate-related matters. Grunblatt leads the Newark-based practice.The group’s client base is broad and encompasses financial institutions, multinational corporations, non-profit NGOs, religious institutions and universities; representative clients include HSBC Bank USA, The New York Times Company and the Union of Orthodox Jewish Congregations of America. Praveena Nallainathan recently left the firm.

Baker McKenzie LLP’s ‘knowledgeable, responsive and ethical’ team is ‘among the very best for global immigration issues’. Largely centered in Chicago, the department also has immigration specialists in Washington DC and Miami as well as across its huge global network. Chicago-based group head Betsy Morgan continues to act for AGCO Corporation on global immigration and related issues, including advising on the impact of a potential corporate reorganization. Ginger Partee is also recommended in Chicago. In Washington DC, the ‘extremely talented’ Shannon Donnelly is ‘superlative’; she leads the team’s management of the T Rowe Price immigration portfolio for the US, UK and Asia-Pacific regions and recently advised it on the development of new recruitment and immigration policies.

Always available and prompt to respond’, Epstein Becker & Green, P.C.’s immigration team attracts praise for its ability to ‘speak in plain English and think level-headedly about business concerns’. From New York, the ‘very professional’ Robert Groban heads a five-partner group that provides the full range of corporate immigration services, with a strong showing in the healthcare space - it also regularly acts for clients in financial services, restaurants, hospitality, technology and fashion. Also in New York, Pierre Bonnefil ‘presents creative alternatives to achieve business goals’; as a former immigration trial attorney, Bonnefil brings to bear an impressive track record in enforcement matters. In Newark, ‘excellent immigration partner’Jungmin Choi stands out for her ‘intimate knowledge of the law and quick, well-thought-out advice’.

Labor and employment boutique Fisher & Phillips combines its 33 national offices with a network of local counsel on six continents, providing coverage of immigration issues globally. The large team has capabilities across the full range of visa procurement, global migration strategy and compliance matters and it is particularly well regarded for permanent residency matters. Atlanta-based Kim Thompson chairs the department and is widely recognized for her specialist skill set in EB-1 category cases, for clients such as scientists, Olympic athletes and internationally recognized academics. Thompson also specializes in governmental agency discrimination charges, and audits and investigations. Denver-based Jocelyn Campanaro is recommended for her sports practice - the hockey and equine areas are notable sweet spots.

Ford & Harrison LLP advises across the full life cycle of immigration issues, from start-up advice for new companies, through to volume immigration management, visa services, expatriate tax, compliance training and administrative appeals and litigation. Los Angeles-based Geetha Nadiminti Adinata chairs a team with a genuine coast-to-coast presence, calling on immigration professionals from California to Massachusetts. Travel (particularly aviation), healthcare and technology are notable areas of strength, though the group acts for a broad range of clients. Representative names include CCP North America, Hi-Rez Studios and Imerys. Minneapolis-based Charles Roach is also a key name in the group. In 2016, the Washington DC office saw the departure of Mary Pivec, who left to form her own firm.

In addition to advising on traditional visa and immigration matters, Hogan Lovells US LLP utilizes its global full-service platform to provide strong supplementary expertise in corporate, tax, national security and labor matters. Group co-lead Beth Peters is also a director of the firm’s international trade and investment group and specializes in advising on immigration matters involving complex export issues for clients such as 21st Century Fox and Carnival Cruise Lines. Aleksandar Dukic co-chairs the Washington DC-based group and also has solid experience in security-related immigration matters. Dukic’s recent work includes advising Intrexon on obtaining authorization for its foreign national scientists to work in the US - both temporary non-immigrant visas and permanent residency applications.

Jackson Lewis P.C.’s ‘solution-oriented and timely team’ stands out for its ‘excellent cost value’ and ‘outstanding work product’. The group advises on non-immigrant and immigrant visas, regulatory compliance, transactional support matters, policy advocacy and outbound immigration. Omaha-based department co-leadAmy Peck maintains a broad practice and successfully represented a client in an Office of Special Counsel investigation concerning allegations of immigration-related discrimination in hiring practices. Reston-based co-lead Michael Neifach is also a key name in the team and recently acted alongside ‘committed and creative’ Nicola Prall in the Raleigh office to successfully advise a foreign national executive denied admission while traveling to the US for business. Austin-based Maggie Murphy is also recommended. In 2016, Forrest Read was promoted to partner in the Reston office.

The ‘outstanding immigration department’ at Mayer Brown calls on the services of ‘some of the best lawyers in the field’. Led from Washington DC, the firm’s extensive global network ensures an ‘efficient and effective approach to multinational visa management’. The group also handles compliances matters, M&A due diligence, policy development and enforcement issues. Department lead Elizabeth Stern is ‘very experienced’ and acted with global mobility specialist Grace Shie and ‘very impressive and knowledgeable’ associate Timothy D’Arduini to advise American Express on various immigration matters, including the development of a bespoke PERM optimization program. Paul Virtue is also recommended. All named lawyers are based in Washington DC.

McDermott Will & Emery LLP’s immigration department is led from New York by Joan-Elisse Carpentier, who has strong experience in advising on immigrant and non-immigrant visas, citizenship matters, compliance programs, government audits and transactional support. The media and entertainment industry is a significant source of work and Carpentier continues to provide ongoing advice to broadcaster CBS on H-1B visa matters. Other recent highlights include successfully assisting the Wildlife Conservation Society on transferring a leading animal pathologist from Canada to the US on the NAFTA TN-1 visa. Enstar, Petroleum Industry Research Associates and Sonar Entertainment are also on the group’s books.

Mintz, Levin, Cohn, Ferris, Glovsky and Popeo, P.C. has a diverse Boston-led practice that has recently advised sports teams, technology companies, universities and financial services companies on immigration matters. Department chair Susan Cohen, widely recognized as a market leader, teamed up with immigration section manager Kevin McNamara to assist the Caribbean Premier League, a professional cricket league, on obtaining visas for its coaches, umpires, referees and six teams to come to the US for a four-day tournament. The firm has also recently advised on permanent residency issues, training programs and transactional support. Other representative clients include SPC America, HRD Marine and Boston College.

Atlanta-headquartered Arnall Golden Gregory LLP has a strong firm-wide focus on mid-market companies and provides a ‘cost-effective and highly efficient’ immigration practice delivering ‘excellent added value’. The firm covers a diverse spread of industries, including automotive, construction, hospitality, technology and public housing. In addition to advising on traditional immigration matters, such as visa procurement, compliance issues and investigations, the team leverages its Washington DC office to advise on policy matters. Atlanta-based Teri Simmons heads the international immigration and naturalization department.

In 2016, Baker & Hostetler LLP significantly boosted its practice with the hire of immigration specialist James Levine, who joined the Atlanta office from Dentons. The firm advises across the full scope of issues, including temporary work visas, permanent residency visas and compliance audits, and clients include major names within the IT, healthcare, engineering and sports industries. Among the firm’s recent work, it has represented IndyCar and Nascar drivers and support professionals in visa and green card matters. Columbus-based litigator Matthew Hoyt leads the department and has strong experience in employment law and contentious matters, as well as traditional business immigration matters.

Houston-headquartered Bracewell LLP’s reputation in the energy arena ensures that its ‘excellent’ immigration practice receives a steady flow of matters from oil and gas and power industry clients. However, it also has sound experience in technology, life sciences and healthcare. San Antonio managing partner Victoria Garcia heads the group and is revered by clients for her ‘strong knowledge, business acumen and client-focused service’. Garcia continues to advise Valero Energy on all immigration matters, including the preparation of non-immigrant, resident status and citizenship visas, employee applications for asylum, government auditing and compliance trends.

Single-site boutique Chin & Curtis LLP focuses exclusively on immigration law from its Boston base, handling a comprehensive spread of non-immigrant visa applications, permanent residency and naturalization issues, compliance matters and policy drafting. The firm’s client base is equally broad and it regularly acts for start-ups and NGOs right through to major multinational companies. Managing partner Philip Curtis is recommended and brings over 30 years of experience to his role. Lorie Lunn and senior counsel Francis Chin are also key names in the team.

Dentons’ immigration practice may be small nationally, but the two-lawyer team benefits from the support of a sizable global group. Group head Matthew Schulz is based in Silicon Valley, and unsurprisingly therefore the practice has a strong technology bent - although it also routinely represents clients in entertainment, agribusiness and financial services. Recent work includes advising Moviepilot on bringing key staff from Berlin to Hollywood to support the company’s growth. The team has also recently undertaken work for Driscoll Strawberry Associates and ROC-Connect. James Levine left to join Baker & Hostetler LLP in 2016.

Dykema Gossett PLLC’s practice has strength across the full spread of visa processing procedures, labor certification applications, immigration sponsorship and naturalization issues. The group also has considerable firepower on the contentious side and advises on worksite enforcement, removal issues and database errors. El Paso-based Kathleen Campbell Walker heads the practice and is an ‘extremely experienced and well-thought-of immigration specialist’; she is particularly sought after by healthcare providers, global manufacturers, energy companies, construction companies and financial services clients. The national practice also includes Michigan-based litigator James Aldrich, who has a strong track record in representing clients before USCIS and other government agencies.

New York’s Laura Devine Attorneys LLC is the US associate office of top-tier British immigration boutique Laura Devine Solicitors. Its transatlantic model translates into a leading practice advising on cross-border issues between the UK and US, and it is particularly renowned for its strong relationships with government bodies in both counties. Managing partner Anastasia Tonello heads a team of ‘very efficient and plain-speaking’ lawyers, which also includes senior associates Jennifer Stevens, who is ‘utterly fantastic’, and Jessica Churchman, who is ‘always clear on costs and timeline expectations’. Clients are drawn from the finance, fashion, technology, business and entertainment industries, among others, and it also represents several high-profile high-net-worth individuals.

Pryor Cashman LLP remains a key player in sports immigration matters, representing a wide variety of leagues, teams and athletes, including the National Basketball Association and various teams in the National Hockey League. It also has strength in advising on immigration issues in the education, entertainment, financial services, pharmaceutical and technology sectors. Colleen Caden chairs the New York-based team and is recommended for her experience in immigration planning, policy development and corporate support issues. The group also includes Avram Morell, who is widely regarded as ‘a go-to lawyer for complex issues’; he is regularly called upon by financial services clients to advise on global mobility issues, foreign talent recruitment, I-9 procedures and audits, and compliance matters.

Sidley Austin LLP’s ‘impressive’ two-partner group ‘operates at the cutting edge of business immigration law’, according to sources. Department lead Timothy Payne is an ‘excellent lawyer with exceptional expertise in business immigration’; he has a strong focus on temporary and permanent residency processing for executives, specialized workers and other professionals. The Chicago-based team also includes Marketa Lindt, who combines ‘top-tier professional expertise, sound judgment and strategic thinking’; Lindt heads the firm’s I-9 practice and is highly regarded for compliance and enforcement defense. The firm has recently advised major multinational companies, banks, funds and financial institutions on strategic immigration matters.

Highly responsive’ and ‘able to anticipate issues before they arise’, Steptoe & Johnson LLP’s ‘strong team’ also attracts praise for being ‘built around immense experience and deep knowledge’. The ‘singularly exceptional’ Lynda Zengerle leads the Washington DC-based department and is ‘simply in another class altogether’, according to some. Zengerle advised Honda Americas R&D and Honda Performance Development on their immigration policies and procedures. Of counsel Elizabeth Laskey LaRocca leads the firm’s immigration advice to cement giant Holcim, including handling compliance matters, blanket L transfers and TN, H-1B, PERM and I-140 petitions.

Troutman Sanders’ immigration practice is based in the firm’s Atlanta office and is highlighted by many as ‘one of the best teams in Georgia’. Mark Newman is singled out for his ‘leading sector knowledge and great connections’; he heads an ‘efficient and client-focused’ group that assists with the full spectrum of corporate immigration issues, including visa procurement, training, compliance and advocacy. The group is especially recognized for its strength in contentious matters and routinely handles appeals, re-filings and requests for evidence. Of counsel Robert Lee is also an active member of the team.

Full-service firm Vedder Price has a strong visa procurement practice, which drafts and files temporary and permanent applications on behalf of clients from nearly every continent. The group also works closely with other departments within the firm to advise on immigration matters arising from corporate deals. Gabrielle Buckley co-chairs the team from Chicago and leads the firm’s advice to Mercedes-Benz US on immigration matters including I-9 compliance, non-immigrant visas, permanent residency applications and contentious matters. Other representative clients include AXA Assistance USA, Bank of Ireland and Dyson. Chicago-based counsel Sara DeBlaze co-chairs the practice and is also recommended.

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