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Thought Leaders

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Cyrus D Mehta

Cyrus D Mehta

Cyrus D Mehta & Partners PLLCOne Battery Park Plaza9th FloorNew YorkUSA10004
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Thought Leader

WWL Ranking: Global Elite Thought Leader

Questions & Answers

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. Drawing on 25 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 a prolific writer, blogger and speaker on contemporary immigration law topics. Mr Mehta is the 2018 recipient of AILA’s Edith Lowenstein award for advancing the practice of immigration law.

What motivated you to pursue a career in the law?

The notion that no one is above the law has always resonated in me, as well as the ability to apply that to achieve just outcomes on behalf of people

What was the greatest challenge you faced when setting up your own firm?

To make it and rise to the top relatively quickly, even though I arrived quite recently in the United States.

Since the election of the Trump administration, what has been the most significant change in corporate immigration in the US?

The Trump administration has blatantly restricted legal immigration through policy memos and challenging work visa applications that were hitherto routinely approvable. The administration’s recent intention of placing otherwise law-abiding foreign nationals in removal proceedings after their extension applications are denied is unnecessary and borders on maliciousness. While denials of routine applications have become more frequent under the Trump administration, there is no need to initiate removal proceedings as these people were authorised to remain in the United States immediately before the denials of their applications, and they generally have every intention to leave the country. Removal proceedings will force them to remain and clog up an already overburdened immigration court system.

How has the increasingly restrictive nature of global immigration policy affected your practice?

If the United States continues on this trajectory, many skilled immigrants may want to seek options in more hospitable countries. It would be incumbent to forge alliances with practitioners in those countries so that clients can maximise their options. Notwithstanding the restrictions, I stand ready to rise up to the challenges to assist clients, and to also resist changes to the law through advocacy and litigation. I remain hopeful that despite President Trump’s rhetoric against immigrants, America will remain true to its founding ideals as a nation of immigrants.

How have client demands evolved since you began your career?

Most information on immigration is widely available on the internet and so clients have become more knowledgeable and sophisticated. Clients thus demand creative lawyering, and one must remain ahead of the curve all the time. Immigration law has also become far more interdisciplinary, and intersects with many other areas of law such as corporate law, tax law and criminal law. An immigration lawyer, even if not practising in these areas, must be able to spot the issues and work with lawyers in these areas to provide clients with optimum solutions.

What is the greatest piece of advice you have received?

To be truthful and ethical at all times.

You have already accomplished so much in your career – what else, if anything, would you like to achieve?

I want to do whatever I can to ensure that the United States, and all countries of the world, develop fair, humane and rational immigration refugee policies despite trends to the contrary, and to further ensure that no one is denied competent representation. In this regard, I believe I am just starting.

What is your secret for success?

I love being an immigration lawyer while also enjoying life, and I do it with great dedication, hard work and passion.

WWL Ranking: Thought Leader

Questions & Answers

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. Drawing on 25 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 a prolific writer, blogger and speaker on contemporary immigration law topics. Mr Mehta is the 2018 recipient of AILA’s Edith Lowenstein award for advancing the practice of immigration law.

What motivated you to pursue a career in the law?

The notion that no one is above the law has always resonated in me, as well as the ability to apply that to achieve just outcomes on behalf of people.

What was the greatest challenge you faced when setting up your own firm?

To make it and rise to the top relatively quickly, even though I arrived quite recently in the United States.

Since the election of the Trump administration, what has been the most significant change in corporate immigration in the US?

The Trump administration has blatantly restricted legal immigration through policy memos and challenging work visa applications that were hitherto routinely approvable. The administration’s recent intention of placing otherwise law-abiding foreign nationals in removal proceedings after their extension applications are denied is unnecessary and borders on maliciousness. While denials of routine applications have become more frequent under the Trump administration, there is no need to initiate removal proceedings as these people were authorised to remain in the United States immediately before the denials of their applications, and they generally have every intention to leave the country. Removal proceedings will force them to remain and clog up an already overburdened immigration court system.

How has the increasingly restrictive nature of global immigration policy affected your practice?

If the United States continues on this trajectory, many skilled immigrants may want to seek options in more hospitable countries. It would be incumbent to forge alliances with practitioners in those countries so that clients can maximise their options. Notwithstanding the restrictions, I stand ready to rise up to the challenges to assist clients, and to also resist changes to the law through advocacy and litigation. I remain hopeful that despite President Trump’s rhetoric against immigrants, America will remain true to its founding ideals as a nation of immigrants.

How have client demands evolved since you began your career?

Most information on immigration is widely available on the internet and so clients have become more knowledgeable and sophisticated. Clients thus demand creative lawyering, and one must remain ahead of the curve all the time. Immigration law has also become far more interdisciplinary, and intersects with many other areas of law such as corporate law, tax law and criminal law. An immigration lawyer, even if not practising in these areas, must be able to spot the issues and work with lawyers in these areas to provide clients with optimum solutions.

What is the greatest piece of advice you have received?

To be truthful and ethical at all times.

You have already accomplished so much in your career – what else, if anything, would you like to achieve?

I want to do whatever I can to ensure that the United States, and all countries of the world, develop fair, humane and rational immigration refugee policies despite trends to the contrary, and to further ensure that no one is denied competent representation. In this regard, I believe I am just starting.

What is your secret for success?

I love being an immigration lawyer while also enjoying life, and I do it with great dedication, hard work and passion.

Global Leader

Corporate Immigration 2019

Professional Biography

WWL Ranking: Global Elite Thought Leader

WWL says

Cyrus Mehta is a pre-eminent figure in the field and “absolutely superb” on matters of business immigration law. He is recognised by peers as “a terrific lawyer” and “a great resource for US immigration issues”.  

Biography

Cyrus D Mehta is the managing partner of Cyrus D Mehta & Partners PLLC in New York City. Mr Mehta 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.

Mr Mehta is a member of AILA’s administrative litigation task force; AILA’s EB-5 committee; former chair of AILA’s ethics committee; special counsel on immigration matters to the departmental disciplinary committee, appellate division, first department, New York;  board member of Volunteers for Legal Services and board member of New York Immigration Coalition. Mr Mehta is the former chair of the board of trustees of the American Immigration Council and former chair of the committee on immigration and nationality law of the New York City Bar Association.

He is a frequent speaker and writer on various immigration-related issues, including on ethics, and is also an adjunct professor of law at Brooklyn Law School, where he teaches a course entitled ‘Immigration and Work’. Mr Mehta received the AILA 2018 Edith Lowenstein Memorial Award for advancing the practice of immigration law and the AILA 2011 Michael Maggio Memorial Award for his outstanding efforts in providing pro bono representation in the immigration field. He has also received two AILA Presidential Commendations in 2010 and 2016.  

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.

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