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Corporate Immigration 2017: Analysis

Corporate immigration was the first practice area researched in our series, and Who’s Who Legal: Corporate Immigration remains one of our flagship publications – one that always draws a fantastic response from our market sources. The USA is still the dominant market by far for immigration work, with over two-thirds of our global listings being made up of US attorneys. A further 10 per cent of the listings is comprised of UK and Irish lawyers, with Canadian practitioners constituting 5 per cent more. In total, lawyers from 43 countries feature. 632 of the best immigration lawyers in the world are highlighted this year. Although all of our listed lawyers are highly recommended, our editorial below focuses on the best of the best from around the world.

North America

Thought Leaders
1. Bernard Wolfsdorf Wolfsdorf Rosenthal, Los Angeles
2. Ronald Klasko Klasko Immigration Law Partners, Philadelphia
3. Cyrus Mehta Cyrus D  Mehta & Partners, New York
4. William Stock Klasko Immigration Law Partners, Philadelphia
5. Charles Kuck Kuck Immigration Partners, Atlanta
6. Gregory Siskind Siskind Susser, Memphis
7. Angelo Paparelli Seyfarth Shaw, Los Angeles
8. Stephen Yale-Loehr Miller Mayer, New York
9. Ira Kurzban Kurzban Kurzban Weinger Tetzeli & Pratt, Miami
10. Eleanor Pelta Morgan Lewis & Bockius, Washington, DC

FRAGOMEN DEL REY BERNSEN & LOEWY is one of the best-known names in immigration law worldwide and its US operation garners 27 listings this year, more than twice that of any other firm.
Daryl Buffenstein is “a brilliant man”, “a great expert” and “as good as they come in corporate immigration”, according to interviewees. His “legendary” status is in part due to his exceptional experience in the area, and to his prominent work advising on and writing legislation and campaigning on immigration issues.
Kevin Miner is a “top lawyer on Department of Labor work” who is known as a “strong leader in his liaison efforts” with the government department. He regularly advises major companies on their immigration issues, including compliance, certification and change of status work.
Bo Cooper is “highly recommended” for his corporate immigration expertise, with interviewees pointing out his background as general counsel of the US Immigration and Naturalization Service as a key ingredient in his success. According to sources, Cooper “is well respected and has important insight from his governmental experience and connections”.
Steven Ladik in the firm’s Dallas office is another very highly regarded practitioner who assists clients in the full range of immigration matters, including issues arising from corporate transactions and workforce reductions and layoffs. He is well known for his representation of sports teams and leagues.
Firm chairman Austin Fragomen’s exceptional experience in and understanding of the immigration arena is near-unmatched in the market, leading to one prominent peer describing him as “the best in the field”.

SEYFARTH SHAW is another firm whose name is synonymous with immigration expertise. All 10 of its listed lawyers are based in its US offices.
Thought leader Angelo Paparelli is a “spectacular lawyer who is always extremely bright and providing great contributions” to the US immigration market, and has done so over the course of his 40-year career. One peer states: “From a business perspective, Angelo is really leading the pack.”
Senior counsel Dawn Lurie is rated by sources for her outstanding experience in immigration, with particular skill on compliance matters. Sources describe her as “one of the top EB-5 attorneys in the US”.
Sharon Cook Poorak is another of the firm’s highly rated practitioners who has deep experience advising clients across a broad range of sectors and industries. She is highlighted by sources for her exceptional creativity.

WOLFSDORF ROSENTHAL features two extremely highly nominated practitioners, including the most-recommended lawyer in the US, Bernard Wolfsdorf, among its six total listings.
The “legendary” Bernard Wolfsdorf is the US’s leading immigration lawyer, according to both our listings and his peers in the market. He “really knows his stuff”, “is a leading expert in EB-5” and is identified as an “out-of-the-box thinker with many strengths in many practice areas”.
Avi Friedman is a “real expert” in immigration matters who is described as “very knowledgeable” in this area. In particular, our commentators identify him as “one of the top attorneys on consular processing issues”.

At KLASKO IMMIGRATION LAW, three excellent attorneys are listed this year.
“Very fine attorney” Ronald Klasko is “the best; always first-rate” according to sources who also pick him out as a “real leader” in the area. He acts for major corporate clients across a broad array of industries including pharmaceuticals, IT and education.
William Stock retains his position as one of our thought leaders in immigration. Sources describe him as “super-smart and a good strategist who is well connected”. Others dub him “a leader in immigration law at a national level” who “always has a good answer”.
Elise Fialkowski is also recognised for her standout expertise in the area.

SISKIND SUSSER remains a superb player in the US market and five of its attorneys are recognised in our listings.
Gregory Siskind is a “very well-known and highly thought-of” lawyer who is recognised as a thought leader in our research this year. Siskind has over 25 years’ experience in immigration law and is lauded by peers as one of the top practitioners in the US and worldwide.
Lynn Susser also draws dozens of recommendations from impressed market sources, who describe her as an exceptional immigration specialist. She acts for a range of major corporations in construction, healthcare and manufacturing.

FOSTER is home to 12 listed lawyers, second-most of any firm in the US in this edition.
Robert Loughran is an “excellent and well-rounded practitioner who is at the top of his profession”, according to interviewees. He offers clients 25 years’ experience in immigration law.
Charles Foster continues to be highly rated by sources for his boundless expertise and superb experience in the gamut of corporate immigration matters.

"Brilliant lawyer" Cyrus Mehta of CYRUS D  MEHTA & PARTNERS is a "really high-level thinker" and "one of America's smartest immigration lawyers". His deep knowledge of the area is highlighted by peers who note him as “a great resource and someone you’d go to with questions about obscure immigration issues”.

The “outstanding” Charles Kuck at KUCK IMMIGRATION PARTNERS is “a vigorous advocate” and “the guy you want to hire if you’re in serious immigration trouble”. Sources cite his “exceptional knowledge” of the area as a main strength.

Thought leader Stephen Yale-Loehr of MILLER MAYER is “one of the most respected immigration lawyers around” and “one of the smartest and nicest folks you’ll ever meet”. Peers are quick to comment on his “top-notch EB-5 expertise and his deep expertise in J-1” matters.

Ira Kurzban at KURZBAN KURZBAN WEINGER TETZELI & PRATT is “the dean of the field” and a lawyer who “literally wrote the book” on immigration law. Sources highlight his dedication to the field, commenting: “There’s no one quite like him. He must work 24 hours a day – he never sleeps!”

MORGAN LEWIS & BOCKIUS’s Eleanor Pelta is an “incredibly sharp and articulate” immigration attorney who can provide expertise on “some of the most challenging business immigration issues there are”. One peer says: “Eleanor is always considered to be one of the smartest, most diligent business immigration practitioners in the country; someone who gains incredible respect from lawyers across the US.”

Kathleen Campbell Walker of DYKEMA COX SMITH is head of the firm’s immigration practice and one of the US’s best immigration attorneys. She is described as a “super-smart and really approachable lawyer who knows her stuff”.

Douglas Stump of STUMP & ASSOCIATES is an outstanding practitioner in the field, according to sources, who recommend him as “a passionate advocate who has in-depth knowledge of both business immigration and deportation work”.

Deborah Notkin at BARST MUKAMAL & KLEINER is “highly recommended” for her exceptional immigration expertise. She is particularly noted for her expertise in Program Electronic Review Management (PERM) matters.

Paul Zulkie of ZULKIE PARTNERS is on numerous peers’ lists of leading immigration attorneys in the US and is considered the top immigration lawyer in Chicago by our research. He has 40 years’ experience in the area.

The “fantastic” Carl Shusterman at LAW OFFICES OF CARL SHUSTERMAN is lauded by sources for his “outstanding experience” in immigration law. Impressed interviewees call him “one of the top lawyers in the area”.

Leslie Holman of HOLMAN IMMIGRATION LAW is nicknamed “The Best at the Border” by one peer, while another identifies her “incredible knowledge of liaison work” as a unique skill. One source says: “She is an encyclopaedia of knowledge and a very hard-working lawyer.”

LAURA  DEVINE  ATTORNEYSAnastasia Tonello is the firm’s New York managing partner. She has an exceptional reputation in the market, with one leading international peer saying, "She's in my top 10!"

Jerome Grzeca of GRZECA LAW GROUP is one of Wisconsin’s most experienced and highly regarded lawyers. One interviewee tells us: "He has built an incredible practice and is a lawyer whose integrity is matched only by his vast knowledge."

The highly regarded Romy Kapoor at KAPOOR LUTHER & LOFTMAN IMMIGRATION PARTNERS uses his 25 years of experience to assist businesses with their complex immigration needs.

Los Angeles-based Mark Ivener of IVENER & FULLMER provides clients with “personalised, one-on-one advice”, according to sources, who also comment: “His advice was cutting-edge and just perfect.” He has exceptional experience, with over 35 years spent working in immigration matters.

The “excellent” Sharon Mehlman at MEHLMAN BARNES obtains a slew of recommendations and nominations from leading peers in the USA and worldwide. She has comprehensive knowledge of immigration law and its effect on US businesses.

Ted Ruthizer at KRAMER LEVIN NAFTALIS & FRANKEL is “really good” and “highly experienced” according to impressed sources. He is frequently instructed to advise on immigration matters relating to senior executives and performing artists, among others.

Scott Borene of BORENE LAW FIRM is the best immigration lawyer in Minnesota, according to our research. According to sources, "He basically invented global immigration awareness."

Marketa Lindt at SIDLEY AUSTIN in Chicago offers clients deep expertise in I-9 compliance matters and also advises on a broad range of other immigration matters.

Margaret Stock at CASCADIA CROSS BORDER LAW GROUP is a renowned immigration attorney based in Anchorage, Alaska, who is noted as “the architect of the military’s immigration programme”.

Paul Virtue at MAYER BROWN is a highly experienced figure in the immigration market who possesses deep expertise of the relevant government agencies. According to sources: “He is well respected and has important insight from his government experience and connections."

Laura Danielson of FREDRIKSON & BYRON covers the full range of immigration issues and is particularly well known for her representation of clients seeking investment, arts and business-related visas.

Robert Divine of BAKER DONELSON BEARMAN CALDWELL & BERKOWITZ is a superb practitioner who focuses his work EB-5 investor immigration and assisting major corporations with the full range of their business immigration needs.

The “wonderful” Catherine Haight at HAIGHT LAW GROUP is “a well-known and very strong” immigration lawyer who possesses a wide-ranging immigration practice that includes advising clients in the sports and entertainment sectors.

SEROTTE REICH & WILSON’s William Reich is a “fabulous” immigration attorney with over 40 years’ experience in the field. According to sources, Reich is “considered a leader in the area”.

Tammy Fox-Isicoff of RIFKIN AND FOX-ISICOFF is a “really great” attorney and “a passionate advocate” on immigration issues who is widely placed among Florida’s top practitioners in the field.

Vincent Lau is managing partner at CLARK LAU and a well-known name for the representation of employees and employers on their most complex immigration needs.
Steven Clark is a “standout” lawyer with an impressive depth of experience. He has superb expertise in relation to H-1B and PERM visas, among many others.

David Grunblatt at PROSKAUER ROSE is an expert on a wide range of immigration matters, with notable expertise in I-9 visas. Sources say: “Wow, what a deep thinker! He’s just exceptional.”

The Omaha, Nebraska-based Amy Peck at JACKSON LEWIS is a leading immigration attorney with a reputation across the US for her depth of expertise.

Amy Novick of HAYNES NOVICK IMMIGRATION is a “certain inclusion” in the listings according to sources who “like her a lot” and highlight her as a “serious lawyer”, particularly for her work with EB-11 cases as well as L and H visas.

Marc Van Der Hout at VAN DER HOUT BRIGAGLIANO & NIGHTINGALE is “a very able and highly recommended” attorney with comprehensive immigration expertise.

Julie Pearl of PEARL LAW GROUP continues to obtain nominations from around the world, with peers from Italy, Belgium, Canada and the USA admiring her skills in the area this year. She is well known for her ability to work with companies to address their most pressing immigration issues.

At MAGGIO KATTAR NAHAJZER & ALEXANDER, Jan Pederson “is an excellent practitioner with a depth of knowledge and experience who is able to identify creative solutions for clients”. She is particularly well known for her expertise in the healthcare sector, with sources commenting that ‘she is truly a leader in the field, particularly regarding medical professionals”.

Denyse Sabagh at DUANE MORRIS is “a very well-respected” practitioner whose “strong corporate experience” gained over more than 30 years in the area make her a leading choice for companies seeking immigration expertise.

Jennifer Minear of MCCANDLISH HOLTON is described by sources as “an amazing lawyer” in healthcare-related matters who handles the full range of immigration needs for corporate clients in the US and internationally.

Philip Curtis at CHIN & CURTIS is an experienced immigration attorney cited as “highly knowledgeable on complex issues” by impressed peers. He acts for a vast array of corporate clients on immigration and employment matters.

Robert Juceam of FRIED FRANK HARRIS SHRIVER & JACOBSON is a “heavyweight star” in litigation who handles immigration matters with aplomb. He has assisted clients with complex issues for over 50 years.

Dagmar Butte at PARKER BUTTE & LANE, “a leader” in immigration law, is described by interviewees as “extremely knowledgeable, highly erudite and really good at what she does”.

At LICHTER IMMIGRATION Laura Lichter has a superb reputation as “one of the top lawyers in the removal and deportation area”. Sources highlight her as “a strong leader in the field and a dynamic advocate”.

Howard (Sam) Myers of MYERS THOMPSON is an “excellent” and “highly able” lawyer with over 40 years’ experience in immigration law. 

Toronto-based GUBERMAN GARSON is home to two of Canada’s leading immigration attorneys.
Joel Guberman is an “extremely experienced and very knowledgeable” lawyer who secures nominations from as far afield as the US, England, Hong Kong and Belgium.
Managing partner David Garson is “a great immigration lawyer who has the ability to make complex issues understandable”. He has 25 years of experience in all manner of immigration matters.

Jacqueline Bart at BARTLAW CANADIAN IMMIGRATION BARRISTERS AND SOLICITORS “renders an excellent quality of service to clients and has a great understanding of how global mobility works”. According to one source: "I would go to Jacqueline Bart on an immigration matter over everyone else in Canada. Period."

Heather Segal of SEGAL IMMIGRATION LAW is “an excellent lawyer” in immigration matters. She is particularly well regarded for her expertise in US-Canadian immigration law.

Avi Gomberg of GOMBERG DALFEN is “just the best” for immigration law, according to sources. One impressed lawyer says: “I really strongly recommend Avi – he’s been brilliant. I can’t sing higher praises.” 

 

Europe

Thought Leaders
1. Marco Mazzeschi Corporate Immigration and Citizenship Law, Milan
2. Laura Devine Laura  Devine Solicitors, London
3. Kehrela Hodkinson Hodkinson Law Group, London
4. Gunther Mävers michels.pmks Rechtsanwälte Partnerschaft, Cologne
5. Nicolas Rollason Kingsley Napley, London
6. Jelle Kroes Kroes Advocaten Immigration Lawyers, Amsterdam
7. Karl Waheed Karl Waheed Associates, Paris
8. Bernard Caris Praetica, Brussels
9. Bettina Offer Offer & Mastmann, Frankfurt
10. Marcel A G Reurs Everaert Advocaten, Amsterdam

LAURA  DEVINE SOLICITORS is one of the best-known firms in England for immigration work. Three of its UK-based attorneys are listed.
"Transatlantic powerhouse" Laura Devine is "just brilliant" according to sources who add, "Between the very many good immigration practitioners in the UK, she stands out as the best.” She is the highest-rated UK lawyer in our research this year.
Sophie Barrett-Brown is variously described as "a brilliant technical lawyer" and "one of the most dedicated and knowledgeable practitioners I know". She is an expert on the comprehensive range of UK and EU immigration law.
Natasha Chell has "extensive knowledge of immigration law", according to interviewees who also comment on her "ability to think of creative solutions" as a key strength.

KINGSLEY NAPLEY has five excellent practitioners listed, all of whom are based in London.
The "highly knowledgeable and experienced" Nicolas Rollason is "one of the very best there is" for immigration matters in the UK. Sources cite his outstanding experience and his expertise on US immigration as particular strengths of his practice.
Ilda de Sousa is "an outstanding immigration lawyer" with "impressive breadth and depth of knowledge in the area". In particular, her “understanding of client needs” and “calm and reassuring manner” make her a client favourite.

Two superb practitioners from EVERAERT ADVOCATEN in the Netherlands are highlighted.
Sources "have the highest regard" for Marcel Reurs, praising him as a lawyer who "works miracles!" He is noted for his expertise on transactional and non-contentious immigration matters, including corporate reorganisations.
Firm chairman Ted Badoux is "a top person" in the Netherlands whose understanding of EU immigration law is near-unrivalled. He regularly works with major multinational corporations in relation to their complex immigration needs.

OFFER & MASTMANN is home to two of Germany’s top immigration attorneys.
Bettina Offer is a “well-liked” and “great lawyer” for immigration, according to commentators who identify her as “highly knowledgeable” in the area. She works with clients across a comprehensive range of industries including aviation, IT and media.
Gabriele Mastmann is also admired for her experience in German immigration matters and is a favourite with corporate clients for her deep expertise.

MAGRATH has a strong immigration practice, with three lawyers based in the UK recommended in our research.
Chris Magrath is noted by sources as an "old-school immigration lawyer who is very experienced". He has substantial expertise in UK and US immigration law and is dual-qualified.
Ben Sheldrick is the firm’s managing partner and a well-known figure in the UK market. He acts for a number of prominent UK companies, with particular expertise in the financial services sector.
Immigration adviser Kerry Hough is also listed in this chapter.

MICHELS.PMKS RECHTSANWÄLTE PARTNERSCHAFT is home to the “excellent” Gunther Mävers, one of Europe’s top immigration lawyers according to prominent peers – a view backed up by our research.

At HODKINSON LAW GROUP, Kehrela Hodkinson is a “brilliant” lawyer who is “really, really good with clients” and a “very helpful, efficient” practitioner on immigration issues. She continues to be regarded as one of the leading experts in US immigration practising abroad.

At TGL SHIPLEY PARISI, two excellent practitioners are identified.
Sources are “impressed by the work” of Daniel Parisi, who stands out for his “excellent client service and extensive experience in immigration”. He has notable expertise in US immigration, particularly involving consular waivers of ineligibility.
New-York qualified partner Amanda Shipley is a notable name in the UK market. She is described by one peer as “a brilliant lawyer with a bright future who is really growing into the immigration scene”.

The "outstanding" Marco Mazzeschi of MAZZESCHI – CORPORATE IMMIGRATION AND CITIZENSHIP LAW is identified as "the go-to attorney in Italy" by multiple interviewees. Indeed, our research pegs him as the top immigration lawyer in the whole of Europe. 

At KARL WAHEED AVOCATS, Karl Waheed is “the best there is in France”, according to one peer. Another source says: "Besides being the most experienced French immigration lawyer in France, Karl is by far the most responsive lawyer that I know. If we have a query on French immigration law, he is able to provide input practically in real time."

Sources "would definitely recommend" the "highly knowledgeable" Jelle Kroes of KROES ADVOCATEN IMMIGRATION LAWYERS as "an excellent immigration lawyer". He has a notable niche in the sports industry and is experienced in a wide range of European immigration issues.

Bernard Caris at PRAETICA is a “very supportive and knowledgeable” attorney with a long-standing background acting for corporations on their business immigration needs. Peers say, “When you think of Belgium, you immediately think of Bernard.”

Maria Celebi at BENER LAW OFFICE in Istanbul is a “definite inclusion” in our listings, according to interviewees. She is highlighted as “a top immigration lawyer who knows the business very well and is a pleasure to work with”.

Stephane Coulaux of CMG & ASSOCIÉS AVOCATS is a “terrific lawyer” who is widely recognised as a leading French immigration practitioner.

GROSS & CO’s Graeme Kirk is highlighted as a "very solid and straightforward practitioner who really knows his stuff". He offers clients over 35 years of experience in corporate immigration and is particularly knowledgeable on UK and EU matters.

Jane Pilkington of MASON HAYES & CURRAN is a pre-eminent Irish immigration lawyer who primarily assists companies with the admission of non-EEA citizens to the country.

Ana Garicano at SAGARDOY ABOGADOS is praised as “a star in Spanish immigration” by sources. She is further described as “a pleasure to work with” for her “very good legal and practical understanding of business immigration in Spain”.

Karolina Schiffter of Polish firm RACZKOWSKI PARUCH “knows immigration practice very well” and is “a good resource for all immigration issues in Poland”, according to commentators.

Claire Nilson at FAEGRE BAKER DANIELS is “an excellent US immigration attorney based in London” who possesses “a lot of knowledge” of the area. She is admitted to practise in the UK, the US, and Trinidad and Tobago.

Timur Beslangurov of VISTA FOREIGN BUSINESS SUPPORT “does an outstanding job” for Russian clients and has extensive knowledge of the market. 

 

Rest of the World

Thought Leaders
1. Enrique Arellano Enrique  Arellano Rincon Abogados, Mexico City
2. Liam Schwartz Liam Schwartz & Associates, Ramat Gan
3. Poorvi Chothani LawQuest, Mumbai

Effusive peers call Enrique Arellano of ENRIQUE  ARELLANO RINCON ABOGADOS "the best immigration lawyer in Mexico, hands down". He stands out as “a very experienced and result-driven lawyer with a huge global network that clients benefit from”.

“Superior” practitioner Liam Schwartz of LIAM SCHWARTZ & ASSOCIATES is described as “the best in Israel in terms of client service, technical application of the law, clarity in communication and as a calming presence”. He has substantial expertise in US-Israeli immigration matters.

At LAWQUEST in India, Poorvi Chothani has “a great practice” and is a “top choice” for clients. She is particularly highlighted for her deep knowledge in all business immigration concerns.

The Sydney, Australia-based Matthew Amoils of ASG IMMIGRATION offers extensive knowledge of UK and US immigration matters. He is described as “very personable, insightful and responsive” and is a “very, very thorough, committed and energetic” practitioner, according to various interviewees.

At BERRY APPLEMAN & LEIDEN, São Paulo-based Daniela Lima is “great in Brazil” and is well liked for her experience and understanding of complex immigration matters. Sources comment, “She has been working in the field for many years and is well known in the country.”

Maria Luisa (“Isa”) Soter da Silveira of VEIRANO ADVOGADOS is “an excellent lawyer with respect to immigration”, with sources particularly identifying her “expertise and the coherence of her explanations” as key strengths of her practice.

Carolina Garutti at EMDOC is “highly experienced” in the immigration field, say sources, and is generally regarded as one of the best immigration lawyers in Brazil.

Eugene Chow at CHOW KING & ASSOCIATES is a "really super-knowledgeable" attorney who stands apart from the pack in our Hong Kong listings. Sources note his long-standing experience, saying: “He’s been around in this area forever.”

Ariel Orrego-Villacorta of BARRIOS & FUENTES ABOGADOS in Peru is a “great lawyer” who is a top name for South American immigration matters and has extensive experience of the area.

The "outstanding" Yoshio Shimoda at ILS SHIMODA OFFICE "does an amazing job" according to peers. He has more than 20 years’ experience in the field and is the first port of call for lawyers and clients alike seeking advice on Japanese immigration law.

Chris Watters at CHRIS WATTERS ATTORNEYS is a “very bright lawyer” who sources pick out for his “knowledge and experience” in immigration matters. He has more than 25 years of experience.

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Nominees have been selected based upon comprehensive, independent survey work with both general counsel and private practice lawyers worldwide. Only specialists who have met independent international research criteria are listed.

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