Most Highly Regarded Firms: Corporate Immigration 2013

In this section we analyse the findings of our research in greater depth to identify the firms and practitioners who stand out worldwide. This year we identify 476 lawyers from 393 firms in 31 countries, with global powerhouse Fragomen fielding 32 lawyers from 15 different jurisdictions to this edition. Berry Appleman & Leiden has an impressive 13 individuals recognised from its offices in the US and Brazil. Eight practitioners from FosterQuan are singled out this year, all of whom hail from the firm's offices in Texas.

We also select the 15 leading individuals who are most highly regarded internationally in this field worldwide.

Most Highly Regarded Individuals
Lawyer Firm
Bernard P Wolfsdorf Wolfsdorf Immigration Law Group, Santa Monica
Cyrus D Mehta Cyrus D Mehta & Associates PLLC, New York
Ira Kurzban Kurzban Kurzban Weinger Tetzeli and Pratt PA, Miami
Charles Kuck Kuck Immigration Partners LLC, Atlanta
Gregory Siskind Siskind Susser, Memphis
H Ronald Klasko Klasko Rulon Stock & Seltzer LLP, Philadelphia
Angelo Paparelli Seyfarth Shaw LLP, Los Angeles
Eleanor Pelta Morgan Lewis & Bockius LLP, Washington, DC
Liam Schwartz Liam Schwartz & Associates, Ramat Gan, Israel
Marco Mazzeschi Mazzeschi – Corporate Immigration and Citizenship Law, Milan
Kehrela Hodkinson Hodkinson Law Group, London
Henry J Chang Blaney McMurtry LLP, Toronto
Laura Devine Laura Devine Solicitors, London
Enrique Arellano Enrique Arellano Rincón Abogados SC, Mexico City
Gunther Mavers Mütze Korsch Rechtsanwaltsgesellschaft mbH, Cologne




Chart one




As can be seen in the chart above, this year our corporate immigration research identifies 476 lawyers from 393 firms in 31 countries. The legal marketplace has undergone notable changes in the past year, reflected in the figures in our research. This practice area remains one of the few that is dominated by specialist boutiques and small and medium full-service firms, resulting in a two-tier market. Multinational immigration firms such as Fragomen are the closest entity to a global powerhouse in this practice sector, and indeed it is this firm that leads the research with 32 inclusions from 15 jurisdictions – a jump from 27 listings in 2012.

In New York, Austin T Fragomen Jr has had a long and esteemed career in corporate immigration, and has served as staff counsel for the US House of Representatives subcommittee on immigration, citizenship and international law. He is a “recognised authority in the field”. Ethan E Kaufman and Michael D Patrick are both highly recommended for their expertise in this area and are among the “top guys” at the firm. Ellen G Yost is “very good” at assisting clients on Canadian/US immigration matters, particularly under free trade agreement rules. In New Jersey, Lance Kaplan is the managing partner of the firm’s international practice group and oversees its operation in non-US locations. He is well known for his work before the United Nations and has testified before the US House of Representatives and Senate on immigration matters. In Boston, Lawrence D Bastone is an experienced, federal law expert, and in Michigan Scott F Cooper trains Fortune 500 companies, universities, national institutions and investors on employment-based immigration compliance. Managing partner of the Chicago office, Michael F Turansick is “highly rated” and enjoys a client list that includes start-ups and large multinational companies in the pharmaceutical, technology, telecommunications and professional services industries. The firm is well represented in Atlanta with four leading lawyers including the “outstanding” Daryl R Buffenstein who is “highly recommended and a mentor to many immigration lawyers”. We list four lawyers in DC, most notably Bo Cooper who received numerous recommendations from high-profile lawyers, and four lawyers in California, with Cynthia J Lange standing out as an “awesome practitioner”. In Phoenix, Bonnie K Gibson is “one of the best in the country” and is renowned for her employment and worksite immigration practice, particularly in compliance and training. Alongside her is the “highly recommended” Rodney Malpert, the co-managing partner of that office and reorganisation and labour expert.

Outside of the US the firm has a far-reaching presence. In Singapore, Mark Buchanan practises exclusively in immigration and emigration in Asia and is considered “excellent”. Becky Xia is responsible for the firm’s China practice and specialises in assisting corporations on investor visas, work permits, compliance strategies and expatriation. In London, Caron Pope is a name that was repeated by our contributors for her “responsive and helpful solution-orientated” approach. Alongside her is the “impressive” Charlotte Slocombe, head of the outbound team in London. The firm also has listings in Costa Rica, Belgium and Australia.

Berry Appleman & Leiden LLP has an incredible 13 lawyers from the US and Brazil featuring in our edition. In California, the “legends” Jeff Appleman, David Berry and Warren Leiden are highly recommended for the length of their practices and depth of expertise. Grace Hoppin is “excellent and very knowledgeable” about the US Department of Labour immigration rules. Jet Stigter is well known and a recurring inclusion in the edition. In Texas, managing partner of the Houston office and a co-manager of the global migration practice, Shawn Orme is “highly respected”. He provides counselling and representation on the immigration aspects of M&A and corporate alliances. Jeremy Fudge divides his time between Dallas and Houston and advises energy, engineering and construction companies on business visas, company immigration practice and post-M&A restructuring. Managing partner of the Dallas office, Steven Ladik is “highly regarded” for his “creative and solutions-focused” approach. He has a specialised national practice representing professional sports and entertainment clients. Paige Taylor splits her time between Dallas and Houston where she represents and assists entertainers, athletes, scientists, researchers and health-care professionals on work permits, intra-company transfers and reorganisations. The firm is represented in Brazil by the “well-liked” Daniela Lima, the practice director and Latin America regional migration manager. She oversees the São Paulo and Rio de Janeiro offices and specialises in inbound and outbound immigration law, relocation, business development and executive transfers.

In Texas, FosterQuan LLP has an impressive eight lawyers nominated for this edition. Charles Foster is a “highly regarded and much recommended” specialist in the field. He has over 40 years experience in law and leads the task force on immigration in Texas. Gordon Quan is a “definite inclusion” and enjoys a “good reputation” as chair of the Texas chapter of the American Immigration Lawyers Association (AILA). Senior counsel Gary Endelman is “fondly thought of” and a prolific essayist with a focus on federal immigration reform, often in collaboration with “one of the leading lights” of immigration law: Cyrus D Mehta of Cyrus D Mehta & Associates PLLC, who enjoys a “stellar reputation” and is one of our most highly regarded lawyers in this year’s edition.

From the Wolfsdorf Immigration Law Group in California, the “outstanding” Bernard P Wolfsdorf is our most highly regarded lawyer of the year for the third year running. He received the most votes overall, from both national and international contributors and is a “recognised authority in the field”. As a past president of AILA, he is “well known” and acts for clients on work visas, investor visas and intra-company transfers in a range of industries, as well as educating and advising on compliance strategies. Avi Friedman is “first rate on compliance and employment issues” and focuses on consular liaison and non-immigrant visas. Cliff Rosenthal specialises in business and entertainment immigration, and also advises on non-corporate immigration matters.

Also based in California is Angelo Paparelli of Seyfarth Shaw LLP, a leading full-service, national firm with a developed immigration team. He is “exceptionally knowledgeable” and “well liked” among clients and peers. He advises on post-M&A personnel restructuring, compliance audits and due diligence during corporate ventures. He is among our most highly nominated lawyers this year and is considered “legendary”. His colleague in Atlanta, Sharon Cook Poorak, is a senior counsel at the firm as of November this year, and brought with her over 25 years of immigration expertise. She provides the firm’s clients with regulatory advice and compliance solutions as well as advising them on case matters. In Boston, Dyann DelVecchio is a “well-known name in immigration circles”. She is a “wonderful lawyer”, who represents corporations, entertainers, athletes and educational institutions on work visa matters, and is “exceptional” on student and academic visa issues.

Ira Kurzban of Kurzban Kurzban Weinger Tetzeli and Pratt PA in Florida has an international reputation for passionate advocacy and is considered the “godfather of immigration practice in this region”. He is one of the most highly nominated lawyers in the edition this year. John Patrick Pratt and Helena Tetzeli also feature from the firm. Also among the most highly regarded lawyers is H Ronald Klasko of Klasko Rulon Stock & Seltzer LLP in Philadelphia, where he “dominates the market”. He received numerous international and national votes for his work as the former AILA president and has appeared before the US House of Representatives immigration subcommittee. William Stock, a well-known name in the field, is “greatly recommended”, as is Elise Fialkowski who focuses on employment-based immigration. The firm is represented in New York by the “excellent” managing partner of that office Suzanne Seltzer, who acts for major research foundations, Ivy League universities, hospitals and health care professionals. She is “really respected”, say sources.

At Siskind Susser in Memphis, Gregory Siskind is regarded as “very smart” and features as one of our most highly nominated lawyers. Lynn Susser is an immigration and nationality lawyer and the firm’s managing partner. They are joined in this edition by three other practitioners.

Kuck Immigration Partners LLC boasts managing partner and international migration expert, Charles Kuck, who is “lauded” for his understanding of labour and immigration issues and “always shares his knowledge freely”. His clients include technology firms, investors and entrepreneurs. He is one of our most highly regarded lawyers. Dustin Baxter also features for his work representing clients before federal courts and on consular matters.

From Morgan Lewis & Bockius LLP, leader of the immigration team Eleanor Pelta “deserves to be on the list”, say sources. A former president of AILA, she is “a wonderful boon for the immigration profession” and provides an “excellent client service and is very knowledgeable about the law”. She is among the most highly regarded lawyers worldwide. Also featuring from her firm are Eric Bord and James Vázquez-Azpiri.

Miller Mayer LLP in New York lists three lawyers this year. Stephen Yale-Loehr stands out as “top tier” and has been a key figure in the legal market for investor work and policy advice for over two decades.

From Liam Schwartz & Associates in Ramat Gan, Israel, once again Liam Schwartz received numerous votes in the research. “He is a terrific leader in the field and is very generous with his knowledge”, earning him a position among the most highly regarded lawyers in the field. Senior associate Shanni Alexandrovitz is “an inclusion for sure” for her management of the US visa practice.

In Toronto, the stand out lawyer in our research this year is the co-chair of the international trade and business group, Henry J Chang of Blaney McMurtry LLP. His reputation precedes him as the “go-to guy for Canadian/US immigration matters”. He is one of our most highly regarded lawyers and is thought of as “extremely experienced, a good teacher and always reachable”.

Undoubtedly the most mentioned lawyer in our research in Mexico is Enrique Arellano of Enrique Arellano Rincón Abogados SC. He has “cornered the corporate immigration market and is a pleasure to work with”. He is among the most highly nominated lawyers worldwide and is considered “an excellent attorney”. “If issues are raised in Mexico,” says a contributor, “I contact Enrique to assist.”

In Wancai, Hong Kong, Eugene Chow of Chow King & Associates is a name regarded as “extremely good” and repeatedly endorsed for running a top citizen and nationality practice that counsels and acts for business individuals, investors and companies on Hong Kong/US immigration.

In Europe, the legal marketplace is dominated by medium-sized, immigration boutiques. With an established name and respected practice, Laura Devine of Laura Devine Solicitors is “the major player” in the London market. “She is so easy to work with, a brilliant woman; a great attorney, and a great advocate for her clients”. Sophie Barrett-Brown is “praiseworthy” for her work on regulation, compliance and strategy for a range of companies, particularly in the investor field. Paul Samartin heads the US practice in London and is an “excellent lawyer who knows his stuff”. His counterpart Anastasia Tonello heads the US practice in New York and is “really sharp” on consular affairs.

Kehrela Hodkinson at Hodkinson Law Group is “the premier US/UK immigration attorney in London”, and is thought of as a “fantastic lawyer”. Her practice covers academic visas, investor visas, work permits, relocations, intra-company transfers and many other areas.

At Mütze Korsch Rechtsanwaltsgesellschaft mbH in Cologne, Gunther Mävers is an “absolute winner” in this field. He is the highest-nominated lawyer in Germany this year and is well known for his experience and EU business immigration expertise. Similarly, Marco Mazzeschi at Mazzeschi Corporate Immigration and Citizenship Law in Milan is the highest-nominated lawyer in Italy in this year’s research and is “number one by far” in that country.

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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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