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Cyrus D Mehta
2 Wall Street
6th Floor
New York
New York
+1 212 425 0555
+1 212 425 3282

Questions and Answers:

Who's Who Legal Thought Leaders: Corporate Immigration

Cyrus D Mehta, a graduate of Cambridge University and Columbia Law School, is the founder and managing partner of Cyrus D Mehta & Partners, PLLC, representing corporations and individuals in diverse immigration matters. He also advises lawyers on ethical issues. Based on over 20 years of experience in immigration law, Mr Mehta is able to comprehend all kinds of problems and provide effective, ethical and strategic solutions to his clients. He is also an adjunct professor of law at Brooklyn Law School and is a prolific writer, blogger and speaker on contemporary immigration law topics.

What motivated you to specialise in corporate immigration work?

I had a background in corporate law, and so it was natural for me to move into corporate immigration law. It challenges me intellectually and there is never a dull moment; and, at the same time, I am able to help people and make a difference to their lives.

How have you built and maintained a successful practice in this area?

I have always sought to work very hard for the client, and go beyond the call of duty. The client must also completely trust you. Money may be important to sustain a livelihood and pay the bills, but not as important as doing your best for all clients, irrespective of their economic position.

What advice would you give to younger practitioners who hope to one day be in your position?

You should realise early on whether you have a passion for immigration law. If you find it, then you will effortlessly strive to acquire the requisite skills and knowledge. Clients will also be drawn to you when they feel your enthusiasm for the legal area where they seek your help.

How do you distinguish yourself from competitors in the market?

I have always tried to be creative and have developed equal expertise in corporate immigration law as well as related immigration law specialisations. As a result, it may be possible to find solutions to problems that others cannot by thinking out of the box in a collegial firm environment where I have the support of brilliant lawyer colleagues.

Lawyers have noted that aspects of immigration policy such as quota numbers and the ever-problematic HB-1 visa category have created uncertainties for companies looking to do business in the US, limiting the extent to which they can plan ahead. How has your fi rm adapted to tackle these obstacles and ensure that client needs are met?

First, it is always important to honestly manage a client’s expectations. Wherever possible, I always try to fi nd alternate visa categories when we have run out of the H-1B visa or when there are backlogs in the green card quotas. If the H-1B visa is not available, can the person qualify under the O-1 extraordinary ability visa, the L-1 intracompany visa or even a cap-exempt H-1B? Is there a way to directly proceed to the green card while the person is still on practical training under the student visa? If someone is stuck in one quota backlog, is there a way to switch into another quota that may move faster?

With such a distinguished and successful career as you have enjoyed, do you feel that your pro bono work has enabled you to take on new challenges?

Pro bono is a must, and more so for leaders in the immigration law field to set an example and motivate lawyers. Some of my most difficult and rewarding cases have been for pro bono clients. Being dogged and determined to win for deserving pro bono clients, and never giving up, has enabled me to develop and apply this same quality for all my clients.

What qualities make a successful corporate immigration practitioner?

The practitioner must assiduously master the client’s business or field so that the lawyer caneffectively advocate for the appropriate visa classification, and it is important to discard the boilerplate. Thinking several steps ahead to fi nd ways to advocate for a change in interpretation or policy that may have a beneficial impact on clients is also a great quality.

Lawyers have recently identified a rise in cost-consciousness on the part of clients, as well as subsequent fee pressures. How has your firm prepared to meet this challenge?

While this may be a trend and we keep our fees competitive, we prefer to work with clients who understand the value that we provide to them when the stakes are becoming increasingly high in the context of more rigorous governmental scrutiny, investigations and the potential for denials.


Who's Who Legal Corporate Immigration

Cyrus D Mehta is the managing partner of Cyrus D Mehta & Partners PLLC in New York City. He represents corporations and individuals from around the world in a variety of immigration matters, including business, employment, and entrepreneur and investor immigration. Based on over 25 years of experience in immigration law, he is able to comprehend all kinds of problems and provide effective, ethical and strategic solutions to his clients. He is an adjunct professor of law at Brooklyn Law School where he teaches a course on immigration and work.

Mr Mehta is past chair of the American Immigration Lawyers Association (AILA) ethics and pro bono committees, and a member of the commission on immigration of the American Bar Association. He is a frequent speaker at the most prestigious conference on immigration law and is also the author of several influential articles on immigration topics, including ethics. Mr Mehta serves as special counsel on immigration matters to the Departmental Disciplinary Committee, Appellate Division, First Department, New York. He also serves on the board of directors of Volunteers of Legal Services. Mr Mehta is the recipient of AILA’s Joseph Minsky Young Lawyers Award for outstanding contributions in the immigration field (1997) as well as AILA’s Michael Maggio Memorial Award for outstanding efforts in providing pro bono representation in the immigration field (2011).

Mr Mehta is a former chair of the board of trustees of the American Immigration Council (2004-2006). He has also chaired the committee on immigration and nationality law (2000-2003) of the New York City Bar Association, of which he was also secretary (2003-2007). He is also a member of the Alliance of Business Immigration Lawyers (ABIL).

Mr Mehta graduated with a BA degree from St Xavier's College, Bombay University, and subsequently obtained law degrees from Cambridge University, England (MA in law), and Columbia Law School, New York (LLM). In his spare time, Mr Mehta plays the violin.

WWL says: "Brilliant lawyer" Cyrus Mehta is a "really high-level thinker" and "one of America's smartest immigration lawyers".

This biography is an extract from Who's Who Legal: Corporate Immigration which can be purchased from our Shop.

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