Corporate Immigration 2015: Analysis

Our brand new Corporate Immigration edition features 545 of the world's best lawyers, stretching out over 38 jurisdictions and 345 law firms.

The corporate immigration landscape is dominated by specialised independent law firms. No firm stands out for its international depth like Fragomen Del Rey Bernsen & Loewy, which once again leads our research with lawyers in America, Europe and Asia-Pacific. Meanwhile, US immigration giant Berry Appleman & Leiden also impresses with its number of listings. Beyond this we have selected some truly outstanding boutiques and have also highlighted the 10 most highly regard lawyers in North America, as well as the top five across Europe; Latin America; Asia-Pacific; and Africa and the Middle-East.

Who's Who Legal: Corporate Immigration 2015
Most Highly Regarded Individuals
Lawyer Firm
North America
Cyrus Mehta Cyrus D Mehta & Associates, New York
Bernard Wolfsdorf Wolfsdorf Rosenthal, Santa Monica
Ronald Klasko Klasko Immigration Law Partners, Philadelphia
Angelo Paparelli Seyfarth Shaw, Atlanta
Jacqueline Bart BartLAW Canadian Immigration Barristers and Solicitors, Tornto 
Charles Kuck Kuck Immigration Partners, Atlanda
Ira Kurzban Kurzban Kurzban Weinger Tetzeli and Pratt, Miami
Gregory Siskind Siskind Susser, Memphis
Eleanor Pelta Morgan Lewis & Bockius, Washington DC
Denyse Sabagh Duane Morris, Washington DC
Latin America
Enrique Arellano Enrique Arellano Rincon Abogados, Mexico City
Daniela Lima Berry Appleman & Leiden, Sao Paulo
Ariel Orrego-Villacorta Barrios & Fuentes, Lima
Maria Luisa ("Isa") Soter da Silveira Veirano, Rio de Janeiro
Carolina Garutti Emdoc, Sao Paulo
Marco Mazzeschi Mazzeschi - Corporate Immigration and Citizenship Law, Milan
Laura Devine Laura DevineSolicitors, London
Nicolas Rollason Kingsley Napley, London
Karl Waheed Karl Waheed Avocats, Paris
Gunther Mävers michels. pmks, Cologne
Asia Pacific
Eugene Chow Chow King & Associates, Hong Kong
Poorvi Chothani LawQuest, Mumbai
Arnold Conyer Diamond Conway, Sydney
David Ryken Ryken & Associates, Auckland
Yoshio Shimoda ILS Shimoda Office, Tokyo
Africa and the Middle East
Liam Schwartz Liam Schwartz & Associates, Ramat Gan
Maria Celebi Bener Law Office, Istanbul
Chris Watters Chris Watters Attorneys, Johannesburg
Tsvi Kan-Tor Kan-Tor & Acco, Ramat Gan
Gary Eisenberg Eisenberg & Associates, Cape Town

Immigration powerhouse Fragomen retains its position at the head of the list with 33 listings from around the globe. The Atlanta office garners four listings this year including the “fabulous” Daryl Buffenstein who testifies before US Congress on various corporate immigration issues. Kevin Miner is a “specialist” on compliance issues and Kyle Sherman is recommended for his practice representing employers in connection with applications and petitions for immigrant and non-immigrant employees. Deborah Marlowe represents international companies in alien employment certification proceedings before the US Department of Labor and is “held in high esteem” by peers and clients alike.

In New York founding partner Austin Fragomen is a “true figurehead” who has gained a wealth of experience over the course of his career on a variety of business immigration matters. Michael Patrick is another “top name” and specialises in risk management for global immigration programmes. The “eminent” Ethan Kaufman manages teams overseeing immigration programmes of Fortune 500 companies.

Texas-based Steven Ladik provides counsel to sports industry clients and is “simply top notch”.

Bo Cooper enjoys a “great reputation” in Washington, DC and leads the firm’s government strategies and compliance group. Sonal Mehta Verma has over 13 years of experience and is described as “great to work with”. Daniel Brown is “much in demand” thanks to his expertise on I-9 and E-Verify issues.

In California Cynthia Lange leads the firm’s high tech practice. She is a “notable expert” on tech-related immigration matters.

In Phoenix Bonnie Gibson is a “top talent” and advises on compliance issues in mergers, acquisitions and contracting relationships. Michael Turansick is “trusted adviser” to a number of individuals, start-up, medium-sized and large multinational companies.

New Jersey-based Lance Kaplan oversees the firm’s interests in all non-US locations and is viewed as a “valuable asset” by his clients.

The firm is also represented in a number of offices outside the US thanks to its wide-reaching international presence. In London Caron Pope is a “well-known figure” in the market and has extensive experience in all categories of applications under the points-based system. She is joined by the “sensational” Charlotte Slocombe who is the partner responsible for the consular and documents teams throughout EMEA.

Asia-Pacific regional managing partner Robert Walsh is “highly experienced” in providing advice and visa services to companies in a variety of sectors including financial services, mining and resources and information technology. He is joined by Alex Paterson who advises international and national companies on requirements, category availability, sponsorship requirements and obligations.

In Mexico City Jean Carlos Aguilar Noble is a “well-reputed name” in the market. He provides strategic planning advice to multinational companies doing business in Mexico. 

At Berry Appleman & Leiden, 15 lawyers are recommended for their specialist skills in corporate immigration. The San Francisco office is a “hub of talent” and is home to the “renowned” Warren Leiden. His decades of experience make him a “key figure” in the marketplace. David Berry is “greatly respected” for his practice focusing on helping human resources and global mobility professionals optimise their programmes. Larry Drumm handles employment visas, intracompany transferees, investors and trainees and is praised for his “excellent attention to detail”. Jessica Marks is likewise commended for her “strong” immigration practice.

In Northern Virginia Michelle Funk is a “standout” individual. She represents health-care providers and technology firms, among others, on a variety of matters. Liane Cooney is a “real asset” to the firm according to clients and her practice covers both non-immigrant and immigrant business visa issues.

Managing partner of the Houston office Shawn Orme handles the immigration-related aspects of corporate mergers and acquisitions. He is recommended for his “creativity and diligence”. Dallas-based Edward Rios is “highly recommended” for his practice focusing on immigration strategies for multinational companies and investors.

In DC, Lynden Melmed is a “font of knowledge” thanks to his experience in the legislative and executive branches of federal government.

Outside the US Daniela Lima is managing partner of the São Paulo and Rio de Janeiro offices. She provides “sound advice” to multinational companies transferring executives to Brazil and is one of the most highly regarded lawyers in Latin America this year.

Texas-based firm Foster is well represented once again with eight lawyers listed. Clients “wouldn’t hesitate to recommend” Gary Endelman for his expertise in business-related immigration. Charles Foster is an “impressive figure” in the market and is noted for his “first-class capabilities”. José Pérez is “trusted adviser” to many clients in the health-care field and is actively involved in employment-based immigration and consular issues. Robert Loughran is a “leading light” in Texas and has published a number of articles relating to the EB-5 field. Ryan Chargois is also a “deserving inclusion” according to our sources.

Cyrus Mehta is “one of the most creative thinkers on immigration law” according to his peers. Based in New York, he is “extremely well thought of” across the globe and is our most highly recommended lawyer in North America this year. Bernard Wolfsdorf at Wolfsdorf Rosenthal in Santa Monica is likewise lauded for his “exceptionally good” skills. He is a “leading authority” on global corporate immigration. Three other individuals feature from the firm including the “terrific” Avi Friedman and Naveen Rahman Bhora. Friedman focuses on in-person attorney/client representation at US consular posts in Canada and Mexico while Bhora is a “firm favourite” for clients in the exceptional ability and outstanding researcher spheres. Cliff Rosenthal specialises in the entertainment industry and is a “must for inclusion” according to our sources.

Ronald Klasko at Klasko Immigration Law Partners “dominates the market” and advises multinational corporations, employees, hospitals, universities and investors on a range of immigration matters. He is joined by William Stock who is praised for his “sound and sensible advice” and Elise Fialkowski who handles all aspects of employment-based immigration.

Seyfarth Shaw’s Angelo Paparelli is “internationally renowned” for his wide-ranging practice encompassing compliance audits, counsel and due diligence in M&A matters and visas. He is a “real leader” in the field thanks to his depth of expertise and frequent blog writing. Sharon Cook Poorak is another “exceptionally good” practitioner at the firm and works from the Atlanta office. In Boston co-chair of the firm’s national immigration practice group Russell Swapp represents academic institutions, multinational corporations and medical and financial institutions. He is noted for the “commitment and dedication” he shows to his clients. He is joined by the “fantastic” Dyann DelVecchio at the same office. Jacqueline Bart at BartLAW is our most highly regarded Canadian practitioner this year. She provides “detailed advice” and is a “real pleasure to work with” according to our sources.

In Atlanta Charles Kuck of Kuck Immigration assists employers and employees with business and professional visas, labour certifications and consular representation. He is praised for providing “tailored advice to client needs”. His colleague Dustin Baxter is also recommended for his practice encompassing all areas of US immigration and nationality law.

Ira Kurzban at Kurzban Kurzban Weinger Tetzeli and Pratt is a “powerhouse of knowledge” and boasts decades of experience in the field. He leads a trio of lawyers from the firm, including the “brilliant” Helena Tetzeli who is recommended for her “personable approach”, and John Patrick Pratt who is “highly rated” for his employment-based immigrant and non-immigrant petitions.

In Memphis, founding partner of Siskind Susser Gregory Siskind is a “dean of the immigration bar” and has testified as an expert in front of the US House of Representatives immigration subcommittee. There are three further listings from the firm including Lynn Susser who is reputed as a “wonderful manager of client expectations”. Ari Sauer assists businesses in obtaining visas, permanent residence and citizenship for employees and their families. He is known for his “straightforward and pragmatic advice”. Elissa Taub is also a “worthy inclusion” in this year’s edition and practises primarily in the area of physician immigration.

Morgan Lewis & Bockius’ Eleanor Pelta assists clients in gaining temporary and permanent visas for all types of business, scientific and executive personnel. She is praised for her “finely tuned skills” in this area. Eric Bord is another “top name” at the DC office and his practice emphasises compliance and risk management for global immigration programmes. James Vázquez-Azpiri in the San Francisco office is “extremely knowledgeable” on immigration compliance matters in the context of mergers, acquisitions and corporate restructuring and in London Tracy Evlogidis is a “specialist” in global mobility.

At Duane Morris Denyse Sabagh heads the immigration practice group and is a “key player” in the market with a wide-ranging practice. John L’Esperance has a number of technology companies as clients who would recommend his work “without a doubt”. Lisa Spiegel concentrates on issues related to the employment of foreign nationals and Jet Stigter is also a “remarkable” figure in the California market.

Enrique Arellano at Enrique Arellano Rincón is “the best lawyer in Mexico”. He provides “first-class” consular assistance to foreign and local corporations and individuals. In Peru Ariel Orrego-Villacorta is a “top-tier” practitioner at Barrios & Fuentes. He is rated for his “sharp intellect and solutions-oriented approach”. At Veirano Advogados, Rio de Janeiro-based Maria Luisa (“Isa”) Soter da Silveira possesses “unparalleled abilities” in the immigration field. She advises corporate clients across a range of industries including banking, oil and gas and telecommunications. She is joined by the “outstanding” Gabriela Lessa who provides visa assistance to companies relocating to Brazil. Also in Brazil, Emdoc’s Carolina Garutti is in charge of the outbound immigration services department. She is “trusted adviser” to many local and international companies and works alongside Renê Ramos, who is also recommended this year.

At his own firm in Milan Marco Mazzeschi “continues to impress” clients and peers with his “extensive knowledge” of the corporate immigration market. He is our most highly nominated European lawyer this year. In London, Laura Devine is “among the top players” thanks to her “prowess” and “impressive capabilities” in immigration law. She is joined by Sophie Barrett-Brown who specialises in the points-based system and investor applications. In the New York office Anastasia Tonello “continues to shine” thanks to her “versatility and creativity”.

At Kingsley Napley Nicolas Rollason is described as a “superstar” by his peers. Head of the business immigration department, he provides strategic advice on global immigration needs. He is joined by the “stellar” Elspeth Guild who is an expert in the field of European immigration law. Andrew Tingley and Ilda de Sousa are also listed this year for their work on complex applications and appeals. In Paris Karl Waheed at his own firm is a “stand out” individual and is described as a “font of knowledge” on corporate immigration matters. Cologne-based Gunther Mävers at michels.pmks is a citizenship and work permit law “guru” and also makes our most highly regarded list this year.

The “eminent” Eugene Chow resides in Hong Kong at Chow King & Associates and “really knows his stuff” according to our sources. He represents business investors in acquiring visas or permanent residence in the US and Hong Kong along with corporate clients wishing to transfer key personnel. Founder and managing partner of LawQuest Poorvi Chothani remains “in high demand” thanks to her knowledge of the immigration regulations both in India and abroad. In Sydney at Diamond Conway Arnold Conyer holds an “impressive record”. He advises a range of clients including banks, IT companies and high net worth individuals. Auckland-based David Ryken at Ryken & Associates is part of the “premier league” of immigration lawyers in the Asia Pacific region and has a wealth of experience in the sector. Yoshio Shimoda at ILS Shimoda Office is “lauded” for his “extraordinary capabilities” in immigration procedures in Japan.

Liam Schwartz is a “world-renowned” lawyer based in Israel and clients and sources “strongly endorse” his practice consisting of advising a range of corporate and private clients in Israeli and US immigration and consular matters. He is joined by Shanni Alexandrovitz who is “first port of call” for clients requiring advice on visas relating to extraordinary ability, investors and artists and entertainers.

Maria Celebi at Bener Law Office is the “go-to lawyer” in Turkey and enjoys a “sterling reputation” in the market.

In Johannesburg Chris Watters is an “accomplished” practitioner with over 25 years’ experience in the field.

Kan-Tor & Acco’s Tsvi Kan-Tor is an “esteemed” individual in the Israeli market and possesses “an astute legal mind” according to our sources. He is joined by Amit Acco, who is a “great tactician”, and Cindy Azoulay, who heads the US immigration department.

In Cape Town Gary Eisenberg at his own firm is an “incredibly resourceful” practitioner and an “expert” on South African immigration law.

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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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