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Seyfarth Shaw LLP

975 F STREET, NW, WASHINGTON DC 20004, USA
Tel:
Work +1 202 463 2400
Fax:
Fax +1 202 828 5393
Web:
www.seyfarth.com
Atlanta, Boston, Chicago, Hong Kong, Houston, London and 9 more

Leon Rodriguez

Tel:
Work (202) 828-3572
Email:
Seyfarth Shaw LLP

Work Department

Labor & Employment; Immigration; Health Law; Health Care Litigation; Health Care Regulatory & Compliance; Health Care Data Privacy, Security and HIPAA; Government Relations and Policy.

Position

Leon Rodriguez served as the Director of U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (“USCIS”) from 2014–2017, following an over twenty-five year career as a prosecutor, law firm partner, and government agency leader. As a partner at Seyfarth, Mr. Rodriguez assists clients in navigating complex and high stakes enforcement and public policy issues. Mr. Rodriguez brings an inter-disciplinary approach to solving client challenges, incorporating compliance, litigation, investigation, policy development/advocacy and public relations tools. His substantive expertise includes immigration compliance and enforcement, immigration policy, health care privacy and security, health care fraud and abuse, civil rights, diversity and inclusion and professional ethics.

Mr. Rodriguez is a founding member of the firm’s Immigration and Compliance Specialty Team, chair of the firm’s Health Care Regulatory and Compliance Affinity Group, and a co-chair of the Health Care Privacy, Security and HIPAA Affinity Group.

During his tenure as director of USCIS, Mr. Rodriguez lead the implementation of the Obama administration’s core immigration priorities, including the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals policy, policies to improve U.S. business access to high-skilled workers, and the growth of the U.S. Refugee Admissions program at a time of unprecedented world-wide displacement.  As director, he oversaw the efforts of approximately 19,000 workers in 250 worldwide locations. Mr. Rodriguez also oversaw the modernization of USCIS’s business, particularly the digital transformation of several of USCIS’ core business processes.

Immediately prior to serving as director of USCIS, Mr. Rodriguez served from 2011 to 2014 as Director of the Department of Health and Human Services Office for Civil Rights (HHS-OCR) , the agency responsible for the administration of the federal health information privacy laws, including HIPAA and HITECH, and the civil rights laws protecting beneficiaries of HHS funded programs.  Among Mr. Rodriguez’s core accomplishments as HHS-OCR director were:  1) the dramatic increase in HIPAA monetary enforcement activity,  heralded as promoting greater compliance with health information privacy laws throughout health care industry; 2) issuance of updated HIPAA regulations as mandated under the HITECH Act; 3) successful completion of first HIPAA audit pilot; and 4) initiation of enforcement activity under Affordable Care Act anti-discrimination provisions.

From 2010 to 2011, Mr. Rodriguez served as a Deputy Assistant Attorney General and Chief of Staff of the Civil Rights Division of the Department of Justice, where his duties included leadership of the Immigrant and Employee Rights Section, which enforces laws prohibiting discrimination in employment based on citizenship status and national original.

From 2007 to 2010, Mr. Rodriguez was the County Attorney for Montgomery County, Maryland, where he led a staff of  forty-seven lawyers in providing litigation, transactional and general counsel services to Montgomery County and related governmental clients.  One of his top accomplishments was his successful role as the lead county negotiator in the acquisition and leasing of property for the Fillmore Theatre in downtown Silver Spring. The Fillmore Theatre agreement was a finalist for Washington Business Journal’s 2012 Deal of the Year (Community Impact category).

Mr. Rodriguez was an attorney at a major national law firm from 2001 until his appointment as County Attorney, specializing in white collar criminal defense and health law.  He served as a federal prosecutor in the Western District of Pennsylvania form 1997 to 2001, including postings as Chief of the White collar Crimes Section (1998 to 1999), and First Assistant U.S. Attorney (1999 to 2001).

Mr. Rodriguez is active in community organizations including serving as a board member of HIAS, Inc., an international refugee serving organization, and Adventure Theatre Musical Theatre Center. Mr. Rodriguez also served on the Committee on Admissions and Grievances of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit from 2004 to 2010.

Career

Partner, Seyfarth Shaw LLP

Education

J.D., Boston College Law School (1988); B.A., Brown University (1984).


United States: Labor and employment

Immigration

Within: Immigration

Full service firm Seyfarth Shaw LLP’s practice provides ‘comprehensive immigration support’ to clients, particularly in corporate immigration matters, and has notable strength in M&A-related work. The group also handles compliance issues, visa applications, program development and strategic planning. The ‘extremely knowledgeable’ team houses ‘experienced industry experts’ that provide ‘timely and accurate’ advice; Los Angeles-based ‘immigration law expert’ Angelo Paparelli continues to represent clients in the hospitality industry in high-stakes cases. Boston managing partner Russell Swapp chairs the national practice alongside Atlanta-based James King, who is noted for having a ‘great body of immigration knowledge’; the duo continue to shape the firm’s immigration management programs. King recently overturned a Department of Labor denial of a labor certification on behalf of a technology firm; the application was initially denied on the basis of the employer’s unquantified minimum requirements. Atlanta-based Gabriel Mozes is also recommended; he has expertise in H1-B third party placement matters and PERM program issues. On the pro bono side, in January 2017, Washington DC-based senior counsel Dawn Lurie and Atlanta-based senior counsel Sharon Poorak assisted travelers detained at the Washington DC and Atlanta airports following the issuance of Executive Order 13769, which placed a restriction on the number of individuals re-entering the US. In 2017, the firm strengthened its team via the acquisition of Leon Rodriguez to its Washington DC office; Rodriguez brings a wealth of knowledge from his previous role as the former director of USCIS.

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Workplace and employment counseling

Within: Workplace and employment counseling

Seyfarth Shaw LLP provides ‘practical and commercial guidance’ on complex issues for clients such as Randstad North America, Aldi, General Electric and RELX Group. In Chicago, senior counsel Christine Hendrickson, Annette Tyman, chair of the workplace compliance solutions group David Baffa, and Valerie Hoffman, who also operates in Los Angeles, are key members of the firm’s pay equity group. Atlanta-based Brett Bartlett and Boston-based Richard Alfred are noted for wage and hour matters, while senior counsel Lawrence Lorber in Washington DC is experienced in regulatory enforcement and counseling mandates and is advising the United States Chamber of Commerce on several matters. Key contacts also include Alexander Passantino and Leon Rodriguez, who recently joined from the Department of Homeland Security, in Washington DC; Tracy Billows, Ellen McLaughlin, Pamela Devata and Condon McGlothlen in Chicago; Ann Marie Zaletel, Kerry Friedrichs, Chelsea Mesa and senior counsel Debbie Caplan in Los Angeles; Benjamin Briggs in Atlanta; senior counsel Cindy Westervelt in Boston; and Robert Nobile in New York, where associate Joshua Seidman, who is experienced in mandatory paid sick leave laws, ‘industry expert’ William Perkins, and Glenn Smith, who joined from Littler Mendelson, P.C., are also based. Scott Nelson joined in Houston from Baker McKenzie LLP in May 2018.

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