Blog : Immigration Practice

Suhi Koizumi Among NAPABA’s ‘Best Lawyers Under 40’

The National Asian Pacific American Bar Association (NAPABA) selected Minami Tamaki LLP attorney Suhi Koizumi and 17 others to receive its 2017 Best Lawyers Under 40 Award (BU40 Award).

The BU40 Award recognizes talented individuals in the Asian Pacific American legal community who are under the age of 40 and have achieved prominence and distinction in their respective fields — be it the practice of law, academia, business, civic and charitable affairs, the judiciary, or politics — and who have demonstrated a strong commitment to Asian Pacific American civic or community affairs.

The BU40 Award will be presented on Nov. 2, 2017, during the 2017 NAPABA Convention in Washington, D.C. For a complete list of this year’s award winners, visit http://www.napaba.org/news/362444/NAPABA-Announces-Its-Best-Lawyers-Under-40.htm.

In its announcement, NAPABA stated: “The 2017 class of honorees continues the BU40 Award legacy of excellence and leadership in both the legal and Asian Pacific American communities. NAPABA congratulates the 2017 BU40 Award winners and looks forward to their future successes.”

Suhi is a Senior Associate in our Immigration Practice Group, where she partners with executives and legal and human resources personnel to address a wide spectrum of immigration issues of corporate clients.

She is a past president of the Korean American Bar Association of Northern California and has been recognized by Super Lawyers in the Rising Star category from 2010 through 2017. She has served as General Counsel for the Asian Business League of San Francisco and as a board member of the Korean American Chamber of Commerce. Suhi also regularly volunteers at immigration clinics where she advises indigent clients and has promoted the rights of women fleeing from persecution at the Center for Gender and Refugee studies.

What We’re Witnessing as Business Immigration Attorneys

What We’re Witnessing as Business Immigration Attorneys

After only eight months in office, we are beginning to see the impact of the government’s implementation of Trump administration policies regarding business immigration, as they chip away at many of the benefits your company and its foreign national employees have come to enjoy over the years.

Here is a high-level overview of what we are witnessing:

  • Greater scrutiny and vetting by adjudicating officers, consular officers, and officers at the border.
  • Issuance of Requests for Evidence (RFEs) with much greater frequency and with aggressive new issues.
  • A spike in site visits by the USCIS fraud unit.
  • Harsh adjudication by TN officers in Toronto, Peace Arch, and land borders near Quebec.
  • Mandatory interviews imposed for employment based applicants for adjustment of status.
  • Language added from Trump’s Executive Order to “Buy American Hire American” to all field guidance for consular officers that instructs officers to seek out potential fraud and abuse, and deny work visa applications for U.S. job offers where the officers construe that job can be performed by a U.S. worker.
  • Greater interagency data sharing — between USCIS, USCBP, the Dept. of State, and IRS, and regarding old filings submitted in the past.
  • Lengthier and more arduous USCIS forms, e.g. I-485 applications to adjust status, where up to 70 new questions have been added.
  • The ongoing suspension of premium processing for H-1Bs.

Much of it feels quite mean-spirited and without regard to the impact it may have on businesses, employees, and their families.

Nevertheless, we will continue to advocate tirelessly on behalf of our clients.  Our attorneys remain at the forefront of immigration legal thought at the national and local level and will continue to help navigate you through these challenging times.

Minette A. Kwok is a Partner with Minami Tamaki LLP and a Certified Specialist in Immigration and Nationality Law, as designated by the State Bar of California Board of Legal Specialization. Our immigration practice has been recognized by “Best Law Firms.” a list by U.S. News – Best Lawyers.

Four Minami Tamaki LLP Attorneys Selected for 24th Edition of The Best Lawyers in America

Four Minami Tamaki LLP Attorneys Selected for 24th Edition of The Best Lawyers in America

Minami Tamaki LLP Partners Dale Minami, Minette Kwok, and B. Mark Fong and Senior Associate Olivia Serene Lee were recently selected by their peers for inclusion in the 24th Edition of The Best Lawyers in America.

Dale and Mark were selected for the list in the practice area of Personal Injury Litigation – Plaintiffs. It is the fifth year in a row that they received this honor.

Minette was selected for inclusion in the practice area of Immigration Law. It is Minette’s fourth consecutive time on The Best Lawyers in America list.

Olivia was also selected for inclusion in the practice area of Immigration Law. It’s Olivia’s inaugural listing in The Best Lawyers in America.

Best Lawyers is a respected peer review publication in the legal profession. Recognition in Best Lawyers is widely regarded by both clients and legal professionals as a significant honor, conferred on a lawyer by his or her peers.

The Best Lawyers lists of outstanding attorneys are compiled by conducting exhaustive peer review surveys in which tens of thousands of leading lawyers confidentially evaluate their professional peers. If the votes for an attorney are positive enough for recognition in Best Lawyers, that attorney must maintain those votes in subsequent polls to remain in each edition.

Lawyers are not permitted to pay any fee to participate in or be recognized by Best Lawyers.

Congratulations to Our Firm’s 2017 Northern California Super Lawyers


SUPER LAWYERS 2017 (Photo by Gary Wagner) – BACK ROW (L-R): Seema Bhatt (Rising Stars); Donald K. Tamaki (10-plus years); La Verne A. Ramsay; Suhi Koizumi (Rising Stars); Sean Tamura-Sato (Rising Stars); Olivia Serene Lee (Rising Stars); Heather Osuna; B. Mark Fong (Super Lawyers); FRONT ROW: Jack W. Lee* (10-plus years); Lisa P. Mak (Rising Stars); Minette A. Kwok (10-plus years); Dale Minami (Top 10, Top 100, 10-plus years)

We’re proud to announce that all of Minami Tamaki LLP’s Partners and more than 70 percent of our Associates were selected as Northern California Super Lawyers for 2017. Super Lawyers is a rating service of outstanding lawyers who have attained a high-degree of peer recognition and professional achievement.

Three of our Partners have been named Northern California Super Lawyers for the last 14 consecutive years. Dale Minami was named to the Top 10 and Top 100 lists.

Dale Minami – Personal Injury
Super Lawyer Top 10, 2017 (5 years)
Super Lawyer Top 100, 2017 (10 years)
Super Lawyer, 2017 (10+ Years)

Minette A. Kwok – Immigration
Super Lawyer, 2017 (10+ Years)
Super Lawyer, Past Top 50 Women, Northern California (3 years)

Jack W. Lee – Consumer and Employee Rights (*Retired)
Super Lawyer, 2017 (10+ Years)
Super Lawyer, Past Top 100 (1 year)

Donald K. Tamaki – Corporate and Nonprofit Counseling
Super Lawyer, 2017 (10+ Years)

B. Mark Fong – Personal Injury
Super Lawyer, 2017 (8 Years)
Super Lawyer, Past Top 100 (2 Years)

Sean Tamura-Sato – Consumer and Employee Rights
Rising Stars, 2017 (5 years)

Suhi Koizumi – Immigration
Rising Stars, 2017 (8 years)

Olivia Serene Lee – Immigration
Rising Stars, 2017 (4 years)

Lisa P. Mak – Consumer and Employee Rights
Rising Stars, 2017 (3 years)

Seema Bhatt – Personal Injury
Rising Stars, 2017 (inaugural year)

Congratulations to all of you!

Olivia Lee Leads AILA NorCal to Highest Honors in National Organization

Olivia Lee Leads AILA NorCal to Highest Honors in National Organization

PHOTO: AILA NorCal Chair Olivia Lee (second of left) with other chapter leaders accepting the Platinum Chapter Award.​

The Northern California Chapter of the American Immigration Lawyers Association (AILA) received the Platinum Chapter Award, the organization’s highest honor for chapters, at AILA Annual Conference last week in New Orleans, Louisiana.

Olivia Serene Lee, an associate in our Immigration Practice Group, has served as 2016-2017 Chair for AILA NorCal. She has served on the AILA NorCal Executive Board for the past four years.

Under Olivia’s leadership, AILA NorCal has been at the forefront in proactively responding to the institutional assault against immigrants. When the Trump administration attempted to enact a travel ban on Muslims, AILA NorCal was one of the first groups to respond, providing services at aiports, and offering assistance to those impacted.

She has been actively involved in AILA NorCal since 2009, leading and organizing more than 30 Continuing Legal Education programs in all aspects of immigration law, including prosecutorial discretion, export control, PERM, waivers, asylum, and events with immigration judges, USCIS, CBP, DOL and asylum officers. She also served as faculty on local and national AILA CLE panels on topics such as O-1s and H-1Bs.

AILA is the national bar for immigration attorneys, and AILA NorCal is one of its larger chapters, with over 850 members.

Suhi Koizumi Receives Unity Award from Minority Bar Coalition

Congratulations to Minami Tamaki attorney Suhi Koizumi on receiving a 2016 Unity Award from the Minority Bar Coalition! The Unity Award is given to members who have best shown a dedication to working in a unified manner to advance the cause of diversity in the legal profession.

Suhi received the award on November 19, 2016, at the Minority Bar Coalition Unity Awards event held at UC Hastings College of the Law. San Francisco Superior Court Judge Teri L. Jackson was the event’s keynote speaker. San Francisco Superior Court Judge Daniel A. Flores served as emcee.

The Minority Bar Coalition is a network of over 25 diverse bar associations dedicated to working in a unified manner to advance the cause of diversity in the legal profession. MBC does this by sharing best practices and resources in bar association programming and advocacy, finding issues of common cause, and building shared platforms.

Suhi recently served as the 2015-2016 President of the Korean American Bar Association of Northern California (KABANC). For three decades, KABANC has served the Korean American community and encouraged the professional growth of Korean American lawyers and law students in Northern California.

 

Minami Tamaki LLP Invited to Participate in White House Call on Proposed International Entrepreneurship Rule

White-House-New-Entrepreneurship-Rule

White House officials invited Partner Minette Kwok from the Minami Tamaki immigration practice group to participate in an August 26 conference call announcing President Obama’s proposed International Entrepreneurship rule that would allow foreign national entrepreneurs to build their startups in the U.S.

The call was led by Tom Kalil, Deputy Director for Policy at the Office of Science and Technology Policy, and Doug Rand, Assistant Director for Entrepreneurship at the White House Office of Science and Technology.

Under this proposed rule, DHS may parole, on a case-by-case basis, eligible entrepreneurs of startups who hold a significant ownership interest and have an active and central role to its operations. The startup must have been formed in the United States within the past three years, and the enterprise must have substantial and demonstrated potential for rapid business growth and job creation.

“This proposed rule is a breath of fresh air in this difficult political environment right now,” said Kwok. “It promises to give talented foreign national entrepreneurs the chance to carry out their vision, improve the economy; encourages the injection of innovative new ideas that will keep the U.S. market competitive, and promotes job creation.”

“It’s an exciting new law, and the provisions are reasonable and attainable, and overdue.”

Kallil and Rand reminded the call participants that 40 percent new businesses are generated by immigrants – businesses such as EBay, Google, Whatsapp, Instagram, and Qualcomm.

Under the proposed rule, entrepreneurs may be granted an initial stay of up to two years to oversee and grow their startup entity in the United States.  A subsequent request for re-parole (for up to three additional years) would be considered only if the entrepreneur and the startup entity continue to provide a significant public benefit as evidenced by substantial increases in capital investment, revenue or job creation.

 

‘Best Lawyers’ Selects Three of Our Partners for 2017

Minami Tamaki LLP Partners Dale Minami, Minette Kwok, and B. Mark Fong were recently selected by their peers for inclusion in The Best Lawyers in America© 2017.

Dale and Mark were selected for the list in the practice area of Personal Injury Litigation – Plaintiffs. It is the fourth year in a row that they received this honor.

Minette was selected for inclusion in the practice area of Immigration Law. It is Minette’s third consecutive time on the The Best Lawyers in America list.

Since it was first published in 1983, Best Lawyers® has become a guide to legal excellence. Best Lawyers lists are compiled based on an exhaustive peer-review evaluation. Over 79,000 leading attorneys globally are eligible to vote, and we have received more than 12 million votes to date on the legal abilities of other lawyers based on their specific practice areas around the world.

Attorneys named to The Best Lawyers in America were recognized by their peers in the legal industry for their professional excellence in 142 practice areas. For the 2017 Edition of The Best Lawyers in America, 7.3 million votes were analyzed, which resulted in almost 55,000 leading lawyers being included in the new edition.

Olivia Serene Lee to Chair AILA NorCal Chapter for 2016-2017

OLeeOlivia Serene Lee, an associate in our Immigration Practice Group, was selected as the 2016-2017 Chair for the Northern California Chapter of the American Immigration Lawyers Association (AILA NorCal).

Olivia began serving as Chair on July 1. She has served on the AILA NorCal Executive Board for the past three years.

She has been actively involved in AILA NorCal since 2009, leading and organizing more than 30 Continuing Legal Education programs in all aspects of immigration law, including prosecutorial discretion, export control, PERM, waivers, asylum, and events with immigration judges, USCIS, CBP, DOL and asylum officers. She also served as faculty on local and national AILA CLE panels on topics such as O-1s and H-1Bs.

“It’s an honor to serve the AILA community,” said Olivia.  “Our Chapter is incredibly diverse, ranging from nonprofit attorneys, experts in crimmigration issues, advocates for universal representation in immigration court, to family and business immigration attorneys.  We must stay dialed-in to the current affairs at home and around the world that may impact immigration. With the presidential elections this year, immigration issues will be at the forefront of political debates, and the outcome of our presidential elections may have a lasting impact on our immigration system.”

Olivia recently participated in an immigration lobby day in Washington, DC, to advocate for immigration reform, and she served as the chapter co-liaison to the San Francisco USCIS Field Office. She also spoke on a NAPABA panel in Arizona on the topic of immigration.

AILA is the national bar for immigration attorneys, and AILA NorCal is one of its larger chapters, with over 850 members.