Meet the Faculty of the 2019 AILA Fall Conference: Removal Skills Track and Worksite Compliance Enforcement Track

September 13, 2019
St. Regis Deer Valley Hotel, Park City, Utah

Meet Some of Our Removal Skills Track Speakers

Mark A. Davis

Name: Mark A. Davis

  • Firm:
    • Law Offices of Mark A. Davis
  • How did you get into this field?
    • As a prosecutor I defended against a few post-conviction relief cases. As fate would have it, I left the DA's office shortly thereafter and was referred cases because I understand how the DA approaches post-conviction and immigration related criminal cases.
  • What excites you most about this conference:
    • I'm excited for the opportunity to interact with the immigration law community to improve our joint collaboration in representing noncitizen defendants in the criminal court in both open and post-conviction cases.
  • Best quick tip:
    • Be prepared. Fight hard. Move on. Repeat.
  • Other interesting info you’d like to share:
    • I am competitive by nature. You might be a better lawyer, but I will not be out hustled.
Annaluisa Padilla

Name: Annaluisa Padilla

  • Firm:
    • Law Office of Annaluisa Padilla
  • How did you get into this field?
    • Drawn to it – I am an immigrant and went through the asylum process
  • What excites you most about this conference?
    • Adding tools to my toolbox to challenge the government
  • Best quick tip:
    • In removal proceedings – do not concede to anything – make the government prove their case!
  • Other interesting info you’d like to share:
    • I love sharks!
Martin (Marty) Rosenbluth

Name: Martin (Marty) Rosenbluth

  • Firm:
    • Polanco Law PC, Lumpkin GA office
  • How did you get into this field?
    • I got into this field after working on international human rights issues for several decades before law school. I was one of those folks who was 1,000 percent sure why I was going, and I was planning on continuing to do the same work, but with a JD. My first year of law school we started seeing 287(g) and S-Comm and other partnership agreements between ICE and local law enforcement under Obama/Biden. We were seeing moms and dads going out to buy a quart of milk for their kids and getting stopped for driving while brown by local cops and handed over to ICE and never seeing their families again. I didn't have to go overseas to fight gross violations of human rights. It was happening in outside my doorstep.
  • What excites you most about this conference?
    • Wow. This is a super urgent time to be learning and sharing defense against removal skills (a.k.a. defense against the dark arts.) I can't imagine a more important time for this CLE.
  • Best quick tip:
    • Know your court. Know your judge. Know your jurisdiction. And most importantly, know your client!
  • Other interesting info you’d like to share:
    • I am about to open a really nice B&B in Lumpkin, about 10 minutes from the court, to try to lure more attorneys to come to Lumpkin in person!
Ilana Etkin Greenstein

Name: Ilana Etkin Greenstein

  • Firm:
    • AILA (Immigration Justice Campaign)
  • How did you get into this field?
    • When I was 20 years old, I took a leave of absence from college and did an internship in the immigration unit at Greater Boston Legal Services. From then on, I was hooked!
  • What excites you most about this conference?
    • The opportunity to learn from my brilliant colleagues.
  • Best quick tip:
    • Pace yourself and maintain perspective. This is a marathon, not a sprint.
  • Other interesting info you’d like to share:
    • The year with the highest number of southern border apprehensions in the last two decades was 2000. I'm just saying...
Heather Drabek Prendergast

Name: Heather Drabek Prendergast

  • Firm:
    • Aljijakli, Kosseff & Prendergast, LLC
  • How did you get into this field?
    • First job out of law school.
  • What excites you most about this conference:
    • Connecting with colleagues and exchanging practice tips. These days it is also therapeutic to be able to talk to others who are struggling with the same issues.
  • Best quick tip:
    • Be persistent – the squeaky wheel gets the grease.

Name: Christina Brown

  • Firm:
    • The Law Office of Christina Brown
  • How did you get into this field?
    • I worked for a member of Congress and felt handcuffed by the lack of oversight on immigration issues, so I wanted to join the fight on the other side and try to get results that way.
  • What excites you most about this conference?
    • I am most excited about brainstorming with colleagues the best ways to fight back against the injustice we are seeing on an hourly basis in the immigration field.
  • Best quick tip:
    • Trust your clients with the legal theory in their case. They are part of the team, and if they understand what you are trying to prove, they can help you prove it.
  • Other interesting info you’d like to share:
    • I have fought tooth and nail in two different administrations trying to deny due process rights to asylum seekers from Central America.

Name: Mary Kramer

  • Firm:
    • Mary E. Kramer, PA
  • How did you get into this field?
    • I moved towards litigation and immigration consequences of crime from the earliest days of my practice because I enjoy researching, writing and advocacy. Complex criminal issues and political asylum are challenging and - hey! - get me out of the office.
  • What excites you most about this conference:
    • I'm excited for this conference because its location means I'll be meeting new people from around the country in a smaller setting than the annual conference allows, plus - it coincides with the next edition of my book, Immigration Consequences of Criminal Activity.
  • Best quick tip:
    • My best tips are in asylum cases, do not use the word "gang" to describe an illegal armed organization with ties to state actors, and never use the word "extortion."
Denise Gilman

Name: Denise Gilman

  • Firm:
    • University of Texas Law School Immigration Clinic
  • How did you get into this field?
    • My family and I traveled from Texas to Mexico regularly when I was a kid, so I developed a strong interest in Latin America and migration early on. When I received my law degree, I began working on international human rights issues in Latin America and then transitioned slowly to immigration and immigrants’ rights work.
  • What excites you most about this conference?
    • I’ve never been to Utah! I’m also always excited to gather with brilliant and committed immigration attorneys to see how we can manage the incredibly difficult challenges our clients are facing.
  • Best quick tip:
    • Good trial work just looks spontaneous but actually requires tons of preparation!
  • Other interesting info you’d like to share:
    • I’ve just come back from Nuevo Laredo, Mexico, where Remain in Mexico has just rolled out. The system is not set up to adjudicate asylum claims but rather to deny them. It’s a sham.

Meet Some of Our Worksite Compliance Enforcement Track Speakers

Kathleen Campbell Walker

Name: Kathleen Campbell Walker

  • Firm:
    • Dickinson Wright PLLC
  • How did you get into this field?
    • International trade along the southern border.
  • What excites you most about this conference:
    • Topical conferences always offer a great opportunity to dive deeper into the applicable law and policy as well as trends.
  • Best quick tip:
    • In worksite enforcement, it is a real challenge to address the differences in policies among the involved agencies on the same topic to advise clients. So, understanding the du jour positions of the agency players on topics and where to find updates is critical.
  • Other interesting info you’d like to share:
    • I started practicing in 1985 and being around at the ground floor of IRCA implementation until today has been a major roller coaster ride.
Kevin Lashus

Name: Kevin Lashus

  • Firm:
    • Fisher Broyles, LLP
  • How did you get into this field?
    • The events of September 11. My wife accepted a post-doc at Stanford, and I interviewed with Ron LeFevre (DOJ INS) and Bob Mueller (USA for the N.D.Ca) on September 7. On September 12, Bob Mueller became the Director of the FBI. I accepted my position as a TA in SF on September 14.
  • What excites you most about this conference?
    • Learning from my peers. We can beat the system if we pool our intelligence.
  • Best quick tip:
    • Use IER guidance on DACA as a shield to SSA’s ENCOR letters.
  • Other interesting info you’d like to share:
    • I’m a twin. My sister’s a 4th grade teacher!
Nicole (“Nici”) Kersey

Name: Nicole (“Nici”) Kersey - Conference Chair (Employer Compliance)

  • Firm:
    • Kersey Immigration Compliance LLC and Bose, McKinney & Evans LLP
  • How did you get into this field?
    • I spent my summers during college working as a tutor with the Indiana Department of Education’s Migrant Education Program and spent a year living in Mexico. After college, I worked as a paralegal for a non-profit immigration assistance center, for the federal government, and for a law firm, ultimately deciding that if I was going to work in the legal field, I might as well go to law school. I joined the immigration group at Seyfarth Shaw in Atlanta and quickly adopted worksite compliance as my niche.
  • What excites you most about this conference:
    • Learning the newest trends and strategies from so many experts and having the opportunity to socialize with practitioners I have admired for so long. I always feel like I am “fangirling” a bit at these things, getting to chat with people who are – in my world – celebrities. (I usually don’t ask for autographs.)
  • Best quick tip:
    • If you’re new to this area of law, make sure to meet some of the speakers in person. They are all volunteering their time to be at the conference, and they tend to be the sorts of people who you can call or e-mail when you have a case that you need help with. It’s much easier to reach out for help when you’ve made a personal connection.
  • Other interesting info you’d like to share:
    • I am learning to play the electric guitar with my 8-year-old daughter; she is way better than I am. I’ve never been to Utah before. And the conference is on my 40th birthday.
Bruce E. Buchanan

Name: Bruce E. Buchanan

  • Firm:
    • Sebelist Buchanan Law PLLC – founding partner; Siskind Susser, Of Counsel
  • How did you get into this field?
    • At a prior law firm where I was practicing employment/labor law, the immigration lawyer left and the Senior partner knew I had done a lot of compliance work at the NLRB, so he asked if I would take over immigration, including compliance. A few months later, a client was issued an NOI and away I went into the field of worksite enforcement.
  • What excites you most about this conference?
    • As a former Adjunct Professor in law school, I love the opportunity to speak and educate. Additionally, I always learn so much being around other lawyers in the field of employer immigration compliance.
  • Best quick tip:
    • You should always give training on immigration compliance after you review the company’s I-9 forms, whether in ICE audit or internal I-9 audit. In this manner, going forward the I-9 forms will be so much better.
  • Other interesting info you’d like to share:
Maggie Murphy

Name: Maggie Murphy

  • Firm:
    • Jackson Lewis P.C.
  • How did you get into this field?
    • I initially researched I-9 practice in my first year as a lawyer when my boss was hired by a production company to I-9 Russell Crowe and a team of actors and extras for a film about the Alamo. That film never happened, but my interest in I-9 compliance was born, and I’ve never looked back.
  • What excites you most about this conference:
    • The planning committee has worked very hard to put together a practical, skills-based conference to assist all practitioners with strengthening their compliance arsenal. I’m excited to hear from so many experts, and I think the materials and nuggets of information will be invaluable.
  • Best quick tip:
    • Training, training, training! Your employer clients should view annual I-9 and E-Verify compliance training as mandatory.
  • Other interesting info you’d like to share:
    • Two truths and a lie: I used to work at Paramount Pictures. I actually knew Russell Crowe when he lived in Austin in the 90s. My kids are dual citizens. Which is the lie? Come find me at the conference!
John Fay

Name: John Fay

  • Firm:
    • LawLogix, a division of Hyland Software
  • How did you get into this field?
    • An HR representative at one of my biggest L-1 Blanket clients (telecommunications firm) took it upon herself to audit their I-9s, and found a complete mess. In helping her, I developed a strange affinity for the I-9 process, and soon thereafter, made it my mission to demystify the form for HR. Later, I had the opportunity to help design an electronic I-9 system and became even more immersed in the subject.
  • What excites you most about this conference?
    • Interacting with some of the most experienced and knowledgeable worksite compliance attorneys in the country.
  • Best quick tip:
    • E-Verify may be dubbed as fast, free, and easy, but there are a myriad of potential issues for the unwary employer. One of the greatest values you can provide to your client is reviewing their I-9/E-Verify workflow and helping them develop a standard operating procedure document.
  • Other interesting info you’d like to share:
    • Based on annual US hiring statistics, the I-9 form should be the most widely completed US federal form that is subject to government inspection. And yet, many employers fail to complete the I-9 properly or even worse, don’t complete it at all.
Kimberley Best Robidoux

Name: Kimberley Best Robidoux

  • Firm:
    • Maggio Kattar Nahajzer + Alexander, P.C.
  • How did you get into this field?
    • Totally by accident! I started in the area of employment law and with the .com boom my focus shifted to immigration and with the significant INS I-9 audits of the hospitality industry in the late 1990’s my practice expanded to compliance issues to assist our clients.
  • What excites you most about this conference:
    • Sharing “war” stories and practical ways to deal with compliance issues.
  • Best quick tip:
    • This area is always changing no matter how “old” the law may be for I-9s.
  • Other interesting info you’d like to share:
    • There is never a dull moment when assisting clients with compliance matters!
Jeff Joseph

Name: Jeff Joseph

  • Firm:
    • Joseph Law Firm, P.C.
  • How did you get into this field?
    • I wanted to do human rights law, but did not get into the fancy law schools with big programs, but immigration seemed close and I have never looked back.
  • What excites you most about this conference?
    • This is a hot area of law and one we need to be marketing to all of our clients. The speakers and presenters are the top of the field in this area. I can’t wait to learn from them.
  • Best quick tip:
    • Saran Wrap works better if you put it in the freezer.
  • Other interesting info you’d like to share:
    • This summer I went hunting with an African tribe called the Hazabe or Hadza tribe. They all got really high smoking cannabis and then they took me hunting. We shot a cobra.
Eileen Scofield

Name: Eileen Scofield

  • Firm:
    • Alston & Bird
  • How did you get into this field?
    • My love of people and the law, coupled with the conflicting, overly complex, ever changing, expanding verification rules. Since 1986 when I stared to focus on this area of law, my goal has always been, and remains, to share my wisdom and ultimately make this process better, easier, and more efficient for employees, for employers, and for the government.
  • What excites you most about this conference:
    • Though there have been no statutory changes recently, the “landscape” has changed of late and there have been some significant recent regulations. This conference addresses this landscape, in conjunction with a deep history of the law, presented by those with unparalleled on the ground experience.
  • Best quick tip:
    • Use duct tape and the List of Acceptable Documents; assume being recorded; put me on your speed dial.
  • Other interesting info you’d like to share:
    • This is a truly fascinating area of law; so many moving parts, so many rabbit holes; so many ways to provide real and constant value to clients.