What’s Happening?


Have news you want to share with the AILA community? It could be a professional announcement, notice of a move, an award you’ve won, or something a bit more personal, such as news of a wedding or a new addition to your family. Send a 500– to 700-character blurb to Rachel Pulda, Associate Director of Online Resources, at rpulda@aila.org and we’ll add it to our What's Happening page. Submissions may be edited at our discretion.


  • Arnulfo D. Hernandez, Managing Partner of Hernandez & Associates, P.C., was named to the 2019 Top Latino Lawyers by Latino Leaders Magazine.

    Christine M. Hernandez, Partner at Hernandez & Associates, P.C., was named a 2019 Top Latino Lawyer by Latino Leaders Magazine. Christine began her Presidency of the Colorado Hispanic Bar Association in January 2019
  • Lippes Mathias Wexler Friedman LLP is proud to announce that the firm has unveiled a newly redesigned website at https://www.lippes.com/. The new website features a modern look and feel with visitor-friendly navigation.
  • Klasko Immigration Law Partners is pleased to announce Jordan J. Gonzalez has joined the firm as an associate attorney. Jordan provides exceptional immigration law services to a diverse set of corporate and individual clients. In the increasingly difficult environment of U.S. immigration law, Jordan thrives in staying up to date on the latest policies to serve his clients with custom and creative solutions.
  • Shelly San Martin shares her latest volunteer adventure after volunteering with Al Otro Lado in Tijuana Mexico. “I have such an appreciation for what people are doing down there to help the immigrants. I made a Vblog while I was there because I wanted to share my experience with other attorneys and hope that maybe more people would volunteer with Al Otro Lado or with any other organization that is helping at the border.”
  • Arnulfo D. Hernández Managing partner, Arnulfo D. Hernández, of the Colorado criminal defense and immigration defense law firm, Hernández & Associates, PC, has been selected by his colleagues to receive the Law Week Colorado "Barrister's Best Immigration Lawyer" Award for 2019. The award is particularly notable as it is one of the few awards that is locally driven by Colorado attorney peer-review surveys. Arnulfo has been a member of the AILA since 2008.
  • Miroslava Orduño Rincón Recognized as Notable Woman in Law 2019. Crain’s Detroit Business released their list of the Notable Women in Law 2019. Miroslava was selected for her career accomplishments, track record of success in the field, contributions to the community and mentorship of others. She is recognized along with 21 other regional attorneys. Miroslava Orduño Rincón equally prizes corporate clients and those in need of pro bono legal services. She volunteers with the Michigan Immigrant Rights Center and is a member of the American Bar Association and Hispanic Bar Association of Michigan.
  • AILA Member Elizabeth M. Rosenman wrote an article for the October 2019 edition of the Washington State Bar Association magazine NWLawyer, “Finding a Way Out: An opportunity, asylum-seekers, and a second chance for a pro bono attorney.” Elizabeth M. Rosenman is a member of the WSBA and the Washington state chapter of the American Immigration Lawyers Association. A former editor of UCLA’s law review, she holds a master’s degree in journalism from Columbia University. She has written for The Hill, The Asylumist, the Los Angeles Times, and The Seattle Times, among other publications. She can be reached at elizr3@comcast.net.
  • Litwin & Smith announces its new Associate Attorney, Donald E. Smith, experienced in diverse business and employment immigration matters. Donald received his J.D (Juris Doctorate) from Golden Gate University of Law, San Francisco and Bachelor of Arts in Politics from the University of California, Santa Cruz.
  • On September 16, 2019, the Philadelphia Business Journal included Ron Klasko in its third annual Best of the Bar top lawyers list. Ron received recognition for his remarkable contributions to employment-based immigration, including successfully spearheading nationwide litigation challenging government denials and delays.
  • The Immigration Center for Women and Children (ICWC) opened it fourth office in Las Vegas, NV this summer. ICWC is a non-profit organization providing direct legal services and focused on humanitarian immigration relief for victims of crime, survivors of violence, and children who have been abused, neglected, or abandoned. Angel Graf is the new Directing Attorney of the ICWC office. Angel previously worked with the San Francisco office for five years as a Supervising Attorney. Prior to joining ICWC she was an Attorney Advisor for the Executive Office of Immigration Review.
  • From executive producer Selena Gomez, Living Undocumented follows eight undocumented immigrant families who have volunteered to tell their stories as they face potential deportation. Ranging from harrowing to hopeful, their journeys illuminate and humanize the complex U.S. immigration system and depict the struggles that many must endure in their quest to pursue the American dream. AILA members Andrea Martinez and Megan Galicia both participated in this documentary.
  • Ms. Momo Ren and Ms. Wenjie Sun opened their new firm, Sun & Ren PLLC this July at 14 Penn Plaza, Suite 1517, New York NY 10122. We are specialized in business immigration law, such as H-1B, L-1, O-1, TN, EB-1/2/3/5, E-1/2, etc. We strive to provide the highest quality legal services to our client in order to obtain the most favorable outcomes.
  • Kathryn R. Weber has been promoted to Senior Attorney at Scott D. Pollock & Associates, P.C. in recognition of her zealous advocacy for her clients, success in business development and leadership within the firm and in the immigrant rights community.

    For over fifteen years, attorney Kathryn R. Weber has protected immigrant and refugee rights. She helps individuals and organizations to successfully navigate complex immigration laws. She devotes countless hours to advocacy, government liaison, education, and mentoring through AILA, for which she is a past-chair of the Chicago Chapter. She is being recognized for her hard work with a promotion to Senior Attorney at Scott D. Pollock & Associates, P.C., effective October 1, 2019.

    Scott D. Pollock, the firm's founder, describes Ms. Weber as key to the firm's legal team: "Kathryn has had great success representing the firm's diverse clientele, while also gaining a national reputation as a leader of the immigration bar. Her dedication to her clients, wide range of practice, and devotion to standards of excellence in every case set her apart from many in our field. I am delighted to work with her and look forward to many years of ongoing professional development and victories she continues to bring to the firm."

    Ms. Weber began her career with a focus on family-based immigration, removal defense, and humanitarian protection. Over the years, she has grown a significant religious worker immigration practice, representing religious organizations and their employees.

    Ms. Weber holds a J.D. from the University of Minnesota Law School. She served on the AILA Chicago Executive Board for six years and has been a member of several national committees. She has been selected as an Emerging Lawyer in the State of Illinois for three consecutive years and has been included in Illinois Super Lawyers Rising Stars eight times.
  • Congratulations to Dale Schwartz for his article in Southern Lawyer titled, "Immigration Policy: Past, Present & Future."
  • Each year, the Catholic Lawyers Guild of Chicago hosts a Red Mass and Reception and presents an award for the Catholic Lawyer of the Year. We are pleased to be presenting this year's Catholic Lawyer of the Year Award to Royal F. Berg, who has served in a variety of roles for AILA during his career. Attached is a press release announcing the event and awardees. More details on Royal's contributions to the legal community can be found on our website www.clgchicago.org/redmass/.
  • Tallahassee immigration attorneys Neil Rambana and Elizabeth Ricci have both been granted an “AV Preeminent Rating” by Martindale-Hubbell® Peer Review Ratings. The AV Rating is the highest possible rating given by Martindale-Hubbell® Peer Review for a lawyer.
  • Douglas Russo has been named a partner at Rose Immigration Law Firm. The firm handles all aspects of immigration and international business cases with an emphasis on assisting musicians. Doug will continue to focus his practice on all aspects of immigration law, with an emphasis on assisting international businesses with professional-level workers and intracompany transferees. As a musician, he also assists international musicians and other entertainers. In 2014, he graduated with honors from Belmont University College of Law’s Charter Class, and in the same year, joined Rose Immigration Law Firm as an Associate. Doug has presented for the AILA annual conference in addition to presenting at regional and local conferences. He has also been active in the Nashville immigration community, where he has volunteered at the citizenship clinics sponsored by TIRRC.
  • Chicago-Kent College of Law opened an immigration clinic on August 19, 2019. 1Ls to LLMs will work on family-based and removal defense cases, with a special focus on asylum and humanitarian relief. The Clinic is directed by AILA member Victoria Carmona.
  • Fifteen Kerr, Russell and Weber PLC members were recently selected by their peers for inclusion in 2019 Michigan Super Lawyers List. Five of the Kerr Russell attorneys were also named as Rising Stars.
  • Inc. magazine revealed that Fakhoury Global Immigration (FGI) is No. 4494 on its annual Inc. 5000 list, the most prestigious ranking of the nation's fastest-growing private companies. As Fakhoury Global Immigration's founder and Managing Director, Rami D. Fakhoury states: "The great distinction of making the Inc. 5000 list is a testament to our immigration team's thought leadership and expertise, our ability to provide successful talent mobility strategies to our clients, and our commitment to continual improvement. All of these have enabled Fakhoury Global Immigration to achieve approval rates that are higher than the national average and have contributed to our impressive financial growth."
  • JSP is pleased to announce that the principals of the firm have named Claire Pratt as its Managing Attorney, effective July 1, 2019. Claire has been with the firm since 2008, became a principal of the firm in 2016, and recently completed her tenure as Chair to the American Immigration Lawyers Association's Northern California Chapter.

    JSP Founder & Principal Phyllis Jewell was named a Super Lawyer at the inception of the Northern California Super Lawyers list in 2004, and has been named to the list each year from 2004 to 2013, and 2015 to present. Only 5 percent of lawyers in a state are selected for inclusion in Super Lawyers. Principal Claire Pratt was also named to the Super Lawyers list for the first time, having received Rising Stars designation since 2015.

    Principal Chris Beckerson has been selected in Rising Stars from 2015 to present. In addition, Principal Jennifer Carr has been selected in Rising Stars from 2017 to present. To be eligible for inclusion in Rising Stars, a candidate must be either 40 years old or younger or in practice for 10 years or less. No more than 2.5 percent of lawyers in a state are named to Rising Stars.
  • Klasko partner, William (Bill) A. Stock, earned placement on Human Resource Executive magazine and Lawdragon's annual joint publication of this "best of" lawyer list for its 12th year.
  • Nachman Phulwani Zimovcak (NPZ) Law Group, P.C. - also known as VISASERVE - has relocated its Central New Jersey office to 907 Route 202 in Raritan, NJ 08869. This office is conveniently located near the Somerville Circle and it is also within walking distance (two blocks) from the NJ Transit Train Station-Raritan, providing direct access to Newark Penn Station. The convenient access to multiple major highways and public transportation nodes allows us to better serve our clients in Central New Jersey.
  • Elizabeth Ricci, a Tallahassee-based immigration attorney concentrating on complex legal issues, was selected to receive the Tallahassee Women Lawyers Diversity & Inclusion Leadership Award. The award, which was created in 2016, recognizes individuals, businesses, government entities and professional associations who display leadership in fostering diversity in their workplaces or industries and the surrounding community. The award is intended to highlight the contributions of those who advance the cause of justice and equality in the community and society through diversity and inclusion.

    Ricci was selected to receive the Tallahassee Women Lawyers Diversity & Inclusion Leadership Award for her efforts to value, promote and celebrate diversity through her immigration work for the LGBTQ+ community, foreign-born veterans and advocacy for members of minority religions. Ricci has taken on controversial immigration cases, pro bono in some instances, and serves on a variety of community groups and boards. She also promotes diversity within her law firm, Rambana & Ricci, PLLC.

    Ricci was presented with the award on June 12 during Tallahassee Women Lawyers' Diversity & Inclusion Celebration.

    Ricci received her Juris Doctor degree from Nova Southeastern University's Shepard Broad College of Law, and her bachelor's degree in International Business from Barry University. She has served on the Board of Directors for AILA's Central Florida Chapter.
  • Labor laws can be difficult to navigate, but when applied to agricultural employees, they become even more complicated. At the Sixth Annual Mid-South Agricultural and Environmental Law Conference, Brandon Davis, Partner at Phelps Dunbar, LLP in New Orleans, will discuss agricultural labor and immigration for farmers and agribusinesses. Brandon Davis, a member of the American Immigration Lawyers Association, will be presenting on immigration and agricultural labor. "Brandon is a nationally recognized authority in the areas of agricultural labor and immigration law, representing a wide range of agricultural operations," Pittman said. "He's an excellent resource, and we're very fortunate he's on board for our conference this year."

    For more information, including registration, on the Mid-South Agricultural and Environmental Law Conference, visit: https://nationalaglawcenter.org/midsouthcle2019/ or read this press release.
  • Rambana & Ricci, PLLC Immigration Attorneys was recognized during Florida State University's 2nd Annual Seminole 100 Celebration on March 2 at FSU's University Center Club in Doak Campbell Stadium. The 2019 Seminole 100, hosted by the Jim Moran Institute for Global Entrepreneurship at the FSU College of Business in partnership with the FSU Alumni Association and EY, recognized the 100 fastest-growing businesses owned by Florida State alumni. Learn more by reading their press release.
  • Sheela Murthy, the internationally renowned immigration lawyer based in Baltimore County has been recognized as being in the Circle of Influence, a prestigious recognition by The Daily Record on January 31, 2019. Ms. Murthy has previously been recognized among the 50 Most Influential Marylanders for her leadership in the law. The Circle of Influence has only three inductees this year who are recognized for their leadership across different fields and for their community involvement. With Ms. Murthy, it is a recognition of her as an outstanding lawyer, activist, public speaker, entrepreneur, innovator, philanthropist, and the overall impact of her life and work. Each year, approximately fifty individuals are selected as being among the most Influential Marylanders. The selection was made by the editors of The Daily Record from areas that include: civic leadership, communications, education, finance, business, health care, law, philanthropy, real estate, and technology. “This year’s Influential Marylanders demonstrate an impressive record of accomplishment, leadership and vision,” said Suzanne Fischer-Huettner, the publisher of The Daily Record. “The Daily Record is pleased to honor them for all they have done, and will continue to do, for Maryland and beyond.”

    Ms. Murthy will receive these coveted awards as an Influential Marylander in Law and for being inducted into the Circle of Influence, at a ceremonial dinner to be held in March 2019 in Hunt Valley, Maryland. As an immigrant to this great nation, Ms. Murthy is pleased with the recognition as it is an opportunity to showcase the achievements and accomplishments of immigrants in America, a nation of immigrants.

    About the Murthy Law Firm

    The Murthy Law Firm is the one of the largest law firms focusing exclusively in the area of U.S. immigration law (www.murthy.com). The Firm represents small and mid-sized companies, Fortune 500 companies, and individuals undergoing the U.S. immigration process. The lawyers and legal staff provide employers and employees with the latest guidance and the appropriate immigration strategies.
  • Joel Yanovich Elected as Member/Partner at Murthy Law Firm

    The Murthy Law Firm is pleased that the Members (Partners) of the Firm recognized Joel Yanovich and invited him to join their ranks as the newest Member of the firm, effective January 1, 2019.

    Joel joined the Murthy Law Firm in 2011, after having practiced for several years at a boutique business immigration law firm in Los Angeles. As the son of two immigrants, Joel understands the driving force that motivates so many to seek out their American dream. Joel regularly speaks with foreign nationals and employers to guide them on how the Murthy Law Firm can help them achieve their immigration goals. Joel also works closely with foreign national investors and entrepreneurs (under the EB5 program), to help them navigate the various immigration programs designed to attract job creators to the U.S. Joel also keeps a watchful eye on the world’s most popular legal website (www.murthy.com) by helping to draft, edit, and update legal content and coordinates the work of other writers at the law firm.

    About the Murthy Law Firm

    The Murthy Law Firm is the one of the largest law firms focusing exclusively in the area of U.S. immigration law (www.murthy.com). The Firm represents small and mid-sized companies, Fortune 500 companies, and individuals undergoing the U.S. immigration process. The lawyers and legal staff provide employers and employees with the latest guidance and the appropriate immigration strategies.
  • Christine M. Hernandez, Partner at Hernandez & Associates, P.C., was named a 2018 Top Latino Lawyer and also one of the Most Powerful Latinas in Law Business in 2018 by Latino Leaders Magazine. Christine began her Presidency of the Colorado Hispanic Bar Association in January 2019.
  • On February 2nd, 39 Freshman Ventures teams from the University of Mississippi's Sally McDonnell Barksdale Honors College convened at the Jackson Center to enjoy presentations about their trips throughout the U.S. to answer this year's question: What should we remember? Congratulations to the two winning teams of Freshman Ventures! Ava Cooper, Kaylee Goff, Amy Rhodes, and Kai Newman traveled to Washington, D.C., to ask, "What should we remember about legal immigration?" and where they interviewed Second Vice President Allen Orr. For more information, watch the finished project.
  • Murthy Law Firm Attorneys Recognized as 2019 Thought Leaders in Corporate Immigration

    Who’s Who Legal: Thought Leaders in Corporate Immigration for 2019 recently published the list of some of the world’s foremost immigration practitioners in corporate immigration law. The inaugural edition of Who’s Who Legal: Thought Leaders – Corporate Immigration for 2019 features those who are recognized as thought leaders across the nation and the world in U.S. corporate immigration law.

    There are only two attorneys recognized with this prestigious recognition / award in Maryland and both of the attorneys in Maryland are from the Murthy Law Firm. Kudos to the Murthy Law Firm for having both Sheela Murthy and Khorzad Mehta recognized from among peers across the nation for their thought leadership in corporate immigration.

    Through extensive interviews with the practitioners across the U.S. and in different regions, Thought Leaders – Corporate Immigration highlights giants in the field of corporate immigration. The lawyers are recognized not only to their in depth knowledge and experience guiding clients on sophisticated legal issues, but also for their ability to inspire, be creative, and care about their clients, going well beyond the confines of being just outstanding lawyers but strategic and outstanding leaders. Kudos to the Murthy Law Firm for this singular accomplishment.

  • The extended off Broadway run of The Courtroom features the story of Elizabeth Keathley, a Filipino immigrant with Chicago AILA member Richard Hanus as counsel, detailing Keathley's successful defense to removal proceedings, including the grant of a Petition for Review by the U.S. Court of Appeals, 7th Circuit. The play is presented in "site specific" locations and features verbatim transcripts of proceedings before the Immigration Court as well as the U.S. Court of Appeals. The cast includes Tony Award winners and nominees. It is the subject of a February 7, 2019, New York Times review and a final New York City presentation is scheduled for February 19, 2019. For more information see: http://www.thegreenespace.org/events/thegreenespace/2019/feb/19/micropolis-live-waterwells-courtroom/
  • Carolyn Lee, current Chair of AILA's EB-5 Committee, has kicked off 2019 with her own EB-5 practice! When asked what prompted the move, she replies: "I'm bullish on EB-5. This is the time to dig in and level up. I'm excited to do that with my clients and in my own practice." Carolyn has aeons of EB-5 experience and mounds of successful projects across America alongside thousands of investor cases. How can she achieve so much? When asked, she replies: "Sleep is for the weak." Learn more about Carolyn's new firm at https://carolynleepllc.com/. To write her with musings or concerns about EB-5, send her an e-mail at carolyn@carolynleepllc.com.
  • On January 15, 2019, Anu Nair of Klasko Immigration Law Partners was a panelist for the "Business After Hours" event and provided attendees an overview of the EB-5 Immigrant Investor Program and spoke on the latest developments affecting the program. She also included an update on the impending visa backlog for Indian foreign nationals.
  • We wanted to share that Florida immigration attorneys and AILA members Neil Rambana and Elizabeth Ricci are being recognized with a major award. Their law firm, Rambana & Ricci, P.L.L.C., has been selected as an honoree on the 2019 Seminole 100 list, which highlights 100 of the fastest-growing U.S. businesses owned by Florida State University alumni.
  • Nachman Phulwani Zimovcak (NPZ) Law Group, P.C., an immigration and nationality law firm, makes community service part of its mission every year. On an international level and through The Gabriel Project, NPZ helped to fund the building of a Health Care Center in the slums of Thane, near Mumbai, India. Every year during Thanksgiving week, lawyers David Nachman and Snehal Batra visit the slum to provide school supplies, medical supplies, and personal hygiene products.
  • In Separated at the Border, Diamond Herrera, a 24-year-old freelance journalist and Jason Taylor, an ex-Army Ranger and journalism professor team up to fight human trafficking and abuse at a privately-run immigrant youth detention facility in the Florida Everglades. Along the way, Di and Jason are forced to take on a Miami-based gang and a corrupt facility administrator while skirting the law and dodging a suspicious Broward County Sheriff's detective.

    Separated at the Border is an exceptional example of fast-paced, contemporary adult fiction that tells the story of a young woman's quest for professional and personal fulfillment while searching for a solution to the plight of incarcerated and abused immigrant children.

    Now available in trade paperback and ebook from all major booksellers, or directly from the publisher, MyakkaPress.com.

  • Butzel Long immigration law attorney Reginald A. Pacis has been appointed by Governor Rick Snyder to serve as a Commissioner to the Michigan Asian Pacific American Affairs Commission (MAPAAC). Pacis is one of 12 people appointed to serve on the Commission. His term runs through November 30, 2022. The MAPAAC helps address the needs and concerns of the Asian Pacific American (APA) communities in Michigan.
  • National award-winning immigration attorneys Helen Tarokic and Alexandra Lozano have published a groundbreaking new book on the oft-misunderstood T Visa, currently designated for victims of human trafficking. In Ignite your Practice with the T Visa: Guide for Immigration Lawyers, the authors dispel common myths surrounding human trafficking and demonstrate how the underutilized T Visa can provide a legal, 'fast-track' solution to immigrant visa challenges.

    Ms. Tarokic is available for interviews and/or commentary.
  • BUFFALO, NY - Eileen M. Martin, a partner with Lippes Mathias Wexler Friedman LLP, has been elected to the board of directors of World Trade Center Buffalo Niagara (WTCBN).

    Celebrating its 30th year, WTCBN, part of the World Trade Centers Association, assists companies in Western New York and Southern Ontario find success beyond their domestic markets.

    As co-leader of the immigration practice group at Lippes Mathias, Ms. Martin has more than 20 years of experience in immigration law assisting clients from around the world in various matters including work permits, employment-based immigration, port-of-entry issues, visa issuance, family-based immigration, immigrant and nonimmigrant waivers, and assessment of U.S. citizenship.

  • Blanca Zarazúa received the Ralph B. Atkinson Civil Liberties Award on Saturday, October 20, from 6 to 7:30 p.m. at the MIIS, Irvine Auditorium 499 Pierce St, Monterey. Secretary Leon Panetta, a former recipient of the award, introduced Ms. Zarazúa. Presented by the Monterey County Chapter of the ACLU of Northern California, the award honors Ms. Zarazúa for her work supporting immigrants and immigrant rights.
  • Raquel Hecht On November 1, 2018, Oregon AILA member Raquel Hecht was honored with the Gerald H. Robinson award for excellence in immigration advocacy. Raquel is pictured here with Senator Merkley of Oregon who also received an award for political advocacy on behalf of immigrants.

  • Cite as AILA Doc. No. 15071005.