AILA 2011 FEDERAL COURT IMMIGRATION LITIGATION CLE PRACTICUM
THURSDAY - FRIDAY, MARCH 3-4, 2011
ATLANTA MARRIOTT MARQUIS
Russell Abrutyn practices immigration law at Marshal E. Hyman & Associates in Troy, Michigan. He is admitted to
practice in Michigan and Washington State, the Second, Sixth, and Ninth Circuit Courts of Appeals, and the federal
district courts in Michigan and Washington. He currently serves on AILA’s Amicus Committee and the State Bar of
Michigan’s Unauthorized Practice of the Law Committee. As a member of the Amicus Committee, he was a co-recipient
of 2010 Jack Wasserman Memorial Award.
Matt Adams is the legal director for Northwest Immigrant Rights Project (NWIRP) in Seattle, Washington. NWIRP
provides direct representation to immigrants who have been placed in deportation/removal proceedings, as well as those
who are seeking legal status and citizenship. Mr. Adams focuses on litigation in the federal courts. firstname.lastname@example.org.
Maria E. Andrade, practices removal defense, federal court litigation and illegal re-entry defense and complex
immigration matters in Boise, Idaho. She serves on the AILA Amicus Committee; the American Immigration Council’s
Legal Action Center’s Advisory Committee and is on the board of the National Immigration Project of the National
Lawyer’s Guild. Ms. Andrade maintains a small caseload of civil cases in federal courts including wage and fair housing
Vikram K. Badrinath is a sole practitioner in Tucson, AZ, where he practices all facets of immigration law. He is a
certified specialist in immigration and nationality law from the California Board of Legal Specialization, State Bar of
California. He is admitted to practice in Arizona, California, Hawaii, and the District of Columbia. He is a participating
attorney in the BIA’s Pro Bono Project, and received a pro bono award from the U.S. Department of Justice.
Maria T. Baldini-Potermin is the founder of Maria Baldini-Potermin & Associates, PC in Chicago. She focuses on
removal/deportation defense, federal litigation, waivers, naturalization, family-based immigration and immigration
consequences of criminal dispositions. In 2010, AILA awarded to her the Edith Lowenstein Award for Excellence in
Advancing the Practice of Immigration Law. She is author of the Immigration Trial Handbook, serves as update editor for
Immigration Law & Crimes, and is an expert author-consultant for Interpreter Releas and Immigration Briefings, all
published by Thomson West. In 2004, Ms. Baldini-Potermin received the AILA Chicago chapter’s Minsky Mentor
Award. She speaks frequently at local and national conferences and has served on numerous local and national
Howard Belodoff is the Associate Director and Director of Litigation of Idaho Legal Aid Services in Boise, Idaho. He
also has a private practice devoted to public interest cases. Since 1978 he has specialized in complex trial and appellate
civil rights cases in federal courts involving in a variety of substantive law areas and Indian law. His work has established
several case precedents of national significance involving prison and jail inmates, institutionalized and mentally ill
children, homeless persons, Native American trust land, housing discrimination, privacy, and attorney fees. He was
named a “2010 Super Lawyer” for the Rocky Mountain Region.
Andres Benach is a partner in the employment and immigration practice at Duane Morris, concentrating on litigation
matters before the federal and immigration courts, specifically in complex matters regarding removability, inadmissibility,
citizenship and the immigration consequences of criminal convictions. He has over 10 years of immigration experience
handling matters involving naturalization, asylum, removal, adjustment of status and waivers of inadmissibility. Mr.
Benach is a graduate of George Washington University Law School and Boston College.
Elisabeth (Lisa) S. Brodyaga 1974: J.D., with Honors, Catholic University, Washington, D.C.; 1974-76: Taught legal
writing, and related projects at Catholic University and Antioch Law Schools in Washington, D.C.; 1976-1977: Private
Practice in San Jose, California; 1978 to present: Private Practice in the Rio Grande Valley, Texas; 1981 to present:
Certified in Immigration and Nationality Law by the Texas Board of Legal Specialization. 1985 to present: Co-founder,
Officer, and Attorney for Refugio Del Rio Grande, Inc. a §501(c)(3) "refugee camp" with attached law office, on a 45 acre
wilderness near San Benito, Texas. 2008 to present: Of Counsel, Reina, Bates & Kowalski, Immigration Law Group.
Since the late 1970's, I have been deeply involved with Central American asylum seekers. Between 1996 and 2001, I
litigated the issue of the retroactivity of the repeal of §212(c) relief, and represented about 60 LPRs under deportation
orders, some all the way to the Supreme Court, until St. Cyr was decided. Next, I devoted most of my energy to a similar
struggle challenging the Fifth Circuit’s conclusion that a state law characterization of a drug offense as a felony mandates
a determination that it is an aggravated felony. This ended in victory with the Supreme Court decision in Lopez v.
Gonzales, 127 S.Ct. 625 (2006). Then I worked on behalf of LPRs with two or more convictions for simple possession,
which the Supreme Court recently held to not constitute an aggravated felony, Carachuri-Rosendo v. Holder, 130 S.Ct.
2577 (2010). Most recently, I have been working with U.S. citizens who are having difficulty obtaining passports. We
settled one class action, Castelano et al. v. Clinton et al, CA M-09-057, but serious problems persist. I have several class
actions pending, including, most recently, a challenge to the treatment of U.S. citizens birthed by midwives, when they try
to enter the U.S. Castro et al v. Freeman et al, No. B-09-208. To keep my sanity, I raise animals, including horses, and a
few head of cattle. To atone for all the paper I waste on briefs and the like, I plant trees.
Diane Butler graduated with honors from the University of Wyoming in 1983. After spending time in Shanghai, China
working for the Canadian law firm of Bull, Housser & Tupper, she received her law degree from George Washington
University in Washington, D.C. in 1992. She is a past Chair of the AILA CBP Liaison committee and current member of
the AILA FOIA committee. Diane was named as a “Top Business Immigration Lawyer” in Seattle Business Monthly
(2008), as well as a “Top Lawyer” by her peers in the 2005 Seattle Magazine poll results, is rated “AV” by Martindale-
Hubbell, which identifies a lawyer with very high to preeminent legal ability, recommended by Chambers USA:
America’s Leading Lawyers for Business, Immigration (2008-2010). When she's not practicing immigration law, she can
be found practicing her accordion.
Benjamin Casper is the director of the Pro Bono Litigation Project of the Immigrant Law Center of Minnesota where he
coordinates impact immigration litigation before the BIA, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Eighth Circuit, and other
federal courts. Benjamin also has a solo immigration law practice dedicated to appellate litigation based in West St. Paul,
Emily Creighton is a staff attorney at the American Immigration Council’s Legal Action Center. She has represented
amicus curiae before the Board of Immigration Appeals and in various federal courts around the country. Ms. Creighton
earned her law degree from the American University Washington College of Law in 2006.
Melissa Crow is the Director of the American Immigration Council’s Legal Action Center. Ms. Crow served as the
Acting Deputy Assistant Secretary for Policy, and previously as a Senior Policy Advisor, in the Office of Immigration and
Border Security at the Department of Homeland Security. Prior to joining DHS, she was a partner with Brown, Goldstein
& Levy in Baltimore, Maryland, where she developed a thriving immigration practice. Before entering private practice,
Melissa served as Counsel to Senator Edward M. Kennedy during the 2007 debates on the U.S. Senate's comprehensive
immigration reform bill. She has taught in the Safe Harbor Clinic at Brooklyn Law School and the International Human
Rights Clinic at Washington College of Law.
Alina Das is a supervising attorney with the Immigrant Rights Clinic at NYU School of Law. She and her clinic students
engage in cutting-edge litigation and advocacy to advance the rights of immigrants facing deportation and detention in the
United States. Prior to joining the Immigrant Rights Clinic, Alina was a staff attorney and Soros Justice Fellow with the
New York State Defenders Association Immigrant Defense Project, where she engaged in a wide range of litigation and
advocacy on immigration and criminal justice issues. Prior to joining the Immigrant Defense Project, Alina clerked for
the Hon. Kermit V. Lipez of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the First Circuit. Alina is a graduate of Harvard University,
NYU Wagner School of Public Service, and NYU School of Law.
Jodi Goodwin is the founder and Senior Attorney at the Law Office of Jodi Goodwin in Harlingen, Texas, where she has
practiced exclusively immigration law for fifteen years. She frequently speaks at legal education seminars and mentors
new practitioners. Ms. Goodwin was the 2007 recipient of AILA's Arthur C. Helton Human Rights Award which she
regards as her crowning achievement in her legal career. Ms. Goodwin was counsel in Ramirez-Peyro v. Holder and
Matter of Baires-Larios. While not teaching or volunteering, Ms. Goodwin specializes in removal defense, federal
criminal defense, and complicated waiver applications.
Karen Grisez is full time Public Service Counsel in the Washington, D.C. office of Fried, Frank, Harris, Shriver &
Jacobson LLP. She is a member of the American Immigration Lawyers Association, and a member of its national Pro
Bono Committee. She is also a member of the Board of Trustees of the American Immigration Council (formerly AILF).
Karen was an editor of AILA’s Litigation Toolbox and the Handbook on Waivers and Relief from Removal. Karen
currently serves as Chair of the ABA Commission on Immigration and is a former co-chair of the ABA Section of
Litigation’s Immigration Litigation Committee. She is also a member of the Board of Directors of the Capital Area
Immigrants’ Rights (CAIR) Coalition. Ms. Grisez received her Bachelor’s degree from the University of Maryland and
her J.D. from the Columbus School of Law, Catholic University of America. She has successfully represented numerous
asylum applicants and other immigrants before the Asylum Offices, Immigration Judges, the BIA and in federal court and
litigates a variety of other immigration-related matters. She also speaks frequently on immigration-related topics.
Matthew L. Guadagno is currently a clinical adjunct professor at the Fordham University School of Law. Previously, he
worked for thirteen years at a law firm in New York City specializing in deportation defense and federal litigation relating
to immigration. He has argued numerous cases in the federal courts that have resulted in precedent decisions. Mr.
Guadagno currently serves on the Amicus Committee of the American Immigration Lawyers’ Association.
Kara Hartzler is the Legal Director and Criminal Immigration Consultant at the Florence Immigrant and Refugee Rights
Project in Florence, Arizona. She has authored numerous articles and resources for criminal defense attorneys and teaches
a course in Immigration & Crimes at the University of Arizona law school. Ms. Hartzler regularly appears before the U.S.
District Court and the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals. She has been awarded the Robert J. Hooker Award from the
Arizona Public Defender Association, and in February 2008, she testified before the U.S. House of Representatives on the
detention and deportation of U.S. citizens in ICE custody.
Joseph Hohenstein has been a practicing immigration attorney for 15 years. He was an Independence Foundation fellow
(1996–97) and worked with the Philadelphia volunteers for the indigent program. Mr. Hohenstein specializes in complex
litigation in federal and immigration courts, especially relating to criminal issues and asylum/withholding. He has also
worked on behalf of immigrant victims of domestic abuse, and has handled cases dealing with the controversial use of
secret evidence in immigration proceedings.
Philip Hwang is the Director of Policy and Programs at the Lawyers’ Committee for Civil Rights of the San Francisco
Bay Area. He oversees the organization’s direct services programs and policy work and litigates cases in the area of
immigrant and refugee rights. During his tenure at Lawyers’ Committee, Philip has worked on lawsuits against the United
States for the abuse of immigrants and refugees and litigated first amendment challenges to local ordinances on behalf of
Mary Kenney is a senior attorney with the American Immigration Council’s Legal Action Center. Ms. Kenney has
litigated cases at the Board of Immigration Appeals and in federal courts around the country. Prior to joining AILF, she
served as executive director of the Texas Lawyers’ Committee, a statewide immigrant and refugee rights project. She also
worked as a legal services attorney in West Virginia.
David W. Leopold, AILA President (2010-2011), practices business and family immigration, removal defense, and
federal court litigation in Cleveland, Ohio. His past AILA positions include director of the Board of Governors, ICE
liaison committee chair, due process committee chair, and Ohio Chapter Chair. Mr. Leopold is a co-founder of the AIC
(formerly AILF) Litigation Institute, a senior editor of the Immigration & Nationality Law Handbook, and contributing
author to the Visa Processing Guide and Consular Posts Handbook.
Laura Lichter, First Vice President of AILA, practices immigration law in Denver with an emphasis on removal defense,
complicated family and naturalization applications, administrative appeals, and litigation. Ms. Lichter serves on AILA’s
Board of Governors and is a former Colorado chapter chair. She previously chaired AILA’s ICE liaison committee and
EOIR liaison committee. She graduated from Swarthmore College and earned her J.D. at the University of Colorado.
Jeremy L. McKinney practices exclusively in the area of immigration and naturalization and is a North Carolina board
certified immigration law specialist. Mr. McKinney is immediate past chair of the Carolinas chapter, and is Vice Chair of
AILA's EOIR Liaison Committee and a member of AILA’s Amicus Committees. He also teaches immigration law at Elon
University School of Law as an adjunct professor. From 2002–08, he served on the North Carolina State
Bar’s immigration specialization committee. Mr. McKinney graduated magna cum laude with a B.A. in English from
Virginia Commonwealth University and earned his J.D. from Campbell University School of Law.
Hans Meyer is the Policy and Legal Director for the Colorado Immigrant Rights Coalition (CIRC), where he focuses on
research, advocacy and litigation related to anti-immigrant and attrition legislation and policies impacting the immigrant
community, including Arizona style legislation, 287(g) agreements, state laws relating to immigration status, and the
Secure Communities program. He also has a private law practice specializing in immigration law, criminal defense and
the immigration consequences of crimes. He was a trial attorney with the Colorado State Public Defender for four years,
where he represented indigent clients in felony and misdemeanor cases and provided training and technical assistance
regarding immigration consequences. Hans is a member of AILA, the National Immigration Project, the ACLU, NACDL,
and the Colorado Criminal Defense Bar. He received his J.D. from the University of Denver Sturm College of Law in
Thomas E. Moseley practices immigration law in Newark, New Jersey concentrating in federal court litigation and
removal defense. He received his A.B. from Harvard College and his J.D. from Harvard Law School and previously
served as Chief of the Immigration Unit in the United States Attorney’s Office for the Southern District of New York. He
is a past chair of the Immigration Section of the Federal Bar Association and has lectured on immigration before the
Federal Bar Association, the Practising Law Institute, and American Immigration Lawyers Association. He has argued
immigration cases before the Second, Third and Fifth Circuits and before the Supreme Court.
Samuel Paz since 1974, Mr. Paz has practiced law specializing in civil litigation of civil rights in federal courts, He is a
recipient of approximately 30 honors for his legal work, has lectured in Europe and Israel on human rights and publish
over 30 articles and is a frequent guest lecturer. Recent cases include Gavira v. County of Los Angeles, (death by
strangulation and beatings by deputies); Ortega v. County of Los Angeles,(death of inmate by denial of medical
attention); Moye v. Baca, lack of security causing death by inmate-on-inmate beating; Whitfield v. State, (failure to
provide care causing a double suicide of two teenagers); and Chavez v. Martinez, 538 U.S. 760 and 337 F.3d 1091 a
shooting by police in which a coercive interrogation was upheld as a constitutional violation.
Scott D. Pollock has practiced immigration law since 1985 and is a frequent speaker at AILA conferences. He has
contributed articles to AILA’s Immigration & Nationality Handbook on F-1 and H-1B visa categories, obtaining agency
and criminal records, and employment options for students and exchange visitors. He currently serves on AILA’s Amicus
committee, and previously served as AILA’s Chicago Chapter chair, national chairperson of its Consumer
Protection/Authorized Representation (CPAR) task force, a member of the Nebraska Service Center Liaison, Consumer
Protection, and Business Litigation committees, and numerous local chapter committees, including chairperson of the
Chicago chapter’s Asylum Office and Immigration Judge liaison committees. He has been a three-time faculty member
for the American Immigration Council’s Litigation Institute.
Thomas K. Ragland is a Partner in the Immigration Practice Group at Duane Morris LLP in Washington, D.C. His
practice focuses on federal court litigation, removal defense, immigration consequences of criminal activity, asylum,
waivers of inadmissibility, citizenship, worksite enforcement issues, and defense against terrorism- and security-related
bars to admission. Thomas is Chair of the Litigation Committee, AILA DC Chapter; Co-Chair of the D.C. Bar
International Law Section, Immigration and Human Rights Committee; and a Member of the Advisory Board of the
American Immigration Council’s Legal Action Center. He is a frequent writer and speaker on immigration issues.
Trina Realmuto is a Staff Attorney at the National Immigration Project of the National Lawyers Guild, where her
litigation work focuses on holding law enforcement accountable for abuse and misconduct against noncitizens, post
departure motions to reopen, reinstatement of removal and judicial review. Trina previously worked for the Legal Action
Center of the American Immigration Counsel and for the law firm of Van Der Hout, Brigagliano & Nightingale. Trina has
litigated several precedent decisions on behalf of plaintiffs and amicus curiae, written numerous practice advisories, and is
a frequent presenter on immigration issues.
A. James Rockefeller, Esq. has been a member of the Georgia Bar Association (1995) and Florida Bar Association
(1989). He received a bachelor of arts in Political Science from the University of Chicago and a law degree from John
Marshall Law School, Chicago. He spent a total of ten (10) years as a prosecuting attorney in Miami/Dade (Florida) and
in Houston County (Georgia), before joining another local law firm as “of counsel.” He launched the Rockefeller Law
Center in 2005. The Rockefeller Law Center is a general trial practice (Criminal Law, Personal Injury, Civil Rights,
Family Law – particularly for military members and dependents) law firm, handling matters in state and federal courts in
most of Georgia and parts of Florida. Jim also recently successfully prosecuted a Hague Convention case in the Middle
District of Georgia. Mr. Rockefeller holds memberships in Georgia Trial Lawyers Association, American Association of
Justice, National Lawyer’s Guild, and Georgia Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers Association. He also founded
Families Against Methamphetamine Abuse, Inc. (FAMA), a 501(c)(3) organization dedicated to education and support on
addiction issues for the general public and families stricken with methamphetamine abuse.
Charles Roth is director of litigation at the National Immigrant Justice Center. He focuses on federal litigation in the
courts of appeals and the U.S. Supreme Court. He also oversees NIJC’s detention project, whose four attorneys work on
issues relating to immigrant detainees in the Chicago area and elsewhere. He is an update editor for Daniel Levy’s U.S.
Citizenship and Naturalization Handbook. Prior to working at NIJC, Mr. Roth worked along the US-Mexico border,
including three years as supervising attorney at Casa de Proyecto Libertad in Harlingen, Texas, where he represented
detainees at the Port Isabel Service Processing Center.
Denyse Sabagh, head of Duane Morris LLP’s immigration department, practices in the areas of immigration and
nationality law and litigation. Ms. Sabagh is past president and general counsel of AILA and currently serves on the Board
of Governors. She has appeared in national and international media as an expert in immigration issues.
Simon Y. Sandoval-Moshenberg is an associate with Lichtman and Elliot, P.C. of Washington, D.C. His practice
consists mainly of removal cases and immigration litigation. Simon previously worked with Victor M. Glasberg of
Alexandria, Va., where he gained extensive experience in plaintiff’s-side federal civil rights and employment litigation,
having represented both documented and undocumented immigrants in litigating and settling a broad range of cases
against law enforcement officers, governmental bodies, and private corporations.
Claudia Slovinsky heads the Law Offices of Claudia Slovinsky in New York City. Established in 1980, the firm handles
business and family immigration cases as well as deportation, asylum, naturalization, and appellate and federal litigation.
Ms. Slovinsky is a past chair of the Committee on Immigration and Nationality Law of the New York City Bar
Association (2003-2006), serves on the Legal Action Center committee of the American Immigration Council (formerly
the American Immigration Law Foundation) and the advisory board of the American Friends Service Committee
Immigrant Rights Program and is participant in the Judge Katzmann Study Group on access to justice in removal
proceedings. She is a frequent national lecturer on immigration issues both to the immigration bar and lay audiences and
is the author of numerous articles in professional publications. She teaches Refugee and Asylum Law at New York Law
Philip Smith, a partner in the law firm Nelson | Smith, LLP in Portland, Oregon, is a member of the State Bars of
Tennessee and Oregon, and the Federal Bars of the U.S. District Court of Oregon, the Court of Appeals for the Ninth
Circuit and the United States Supreme Court. Philip previously served as AILA’s Chapter Chair for Oregon. Philip
represents non-citizens in Immigration Court and the federal courts, defending against deportation and applying for relief
from removal. Prior to his legal career, Philip served as a Peace Corps volunteer in Sri Lanka.
Brian Spears is an expert in civil rights litigation in Federal and State Court, with an emphasis on constitutional law, civil
rights, and governmental liability in the law enforcement and custodial setting. He is admitted to practice before the
United States Supreme Court, the 11th, 5th and 9th Circuit Courts of Appeal, and in the State Courts of Georgia and
California. He has litigated cases throughout the southeastern United States, including Florida, Georgia, South Carolina,
Tennessee and Kentucky. A 1971 graduate of the University of Michigan, (B.A., Ed.), Mr. Spears received his Juris
Doctorate from Golden Gate University School of Law in 1975, and practiced law in San Francisco, California, before
moving his practice to Atlanta, Georgia, where he was admitted to the Georgia Bar in 1978. Mr. Spears serves on the
Executive Board of the National Police Accountability Project of the National Lawyers Guild and is the Chair of the Civil
Rights Section of the Georgia Trial Lawyers Association.
Kip Evan Steinberg is in private practice in San Rafael, CA. His federal court cases include Aboushaban v. Mueller, 475
F.Supp. 2d 943 (EAJA); Shirmohamadali v. Heinauer, 535 F. Supp 2d 1059 (mandamus); Young China Daily v.
Chappell, 742 F. Supp. 552 (H-1B). He was also co-counsel in the landmark asylum case, INS v. Cardoza-Fonseca, 107
S.Ct. 1207 (1987). Mr. Steinberg has taught immigration law at Hastings College of the Law and is a former Chairperson
of the National Immigration Project of the National Lawyers Guild. He is currently litigating a challenge to the USCIS
policy of limiting expedited processing of FOIA requests to “Track Three”. The case is Hajro v. USCIS, No. C 08-1350
PSG (N.D. Cal.) The pleadings may be found at www.legalactioncenter.org.
Erich C. Straub is an attorney concentrating in family-based immigration and deportation defense. He is listed in the
2006-2010 editions of Best Lawyers in America and the 2009-2010 editions of Super Lawyers in the area of immigration
law. From 2007-2009, he was chairperson of the Wisconsin Chapter of the American Immigration Lawyers Association
(AILA). He presently serves on AILA’s National Liaison Committee to the Executive Office of Immigration Review.
Mara Verheyden-Hilliard, co-founder of the Partnership for Civil Justice Fund (www.JusticeOnline.org), litigates
complex constitutional law and civil rights cases. She recently secured the largest monetary settlements for protestors’
rights in U.S. history totaling $22 million and including extensive changes in the law and police practices. She has been a
spokesperson for the movement opposing the Iraq War and in defense of targeted Arab and Muslim communities after
September 11th. She is co-chair of the National Lawyers Guild Mass Defense Committee. She is a 1994 graduate of
Columbia University Law School and has appeared extensively in the mass media.