Our good friend and eminent immigration lawyer has been selected as one of the recipients of the Who’s Who Legal Awards for 2018.
From Who’s Who Legal Awards website:
Each year Who’s Who Legal presents awards to the individuals and firms that have performed exceptionally well in our research. After an in-depth assessment of our findings, we have identified a lawyer and a firm of the year in each of our featured practice areas. We also announce awards for the leading firms in over 70 jurisdictions.
Corportate Immigration Lawyer of the Year 2018
Cyrus D Mehta and Partners
Cyrus D Mehta, a graduate of Cambridge University and Columbia Law School, is the founder and managing partner of Cyrus D Mehta & Partners, PLLC representing corporations and individuals in diverse immigration matters. He also advises lawyers on ethical issues. Based on over 20 years of experience in immigration law, Mr Mehta is able to comprehend all kinds of problems and provide effective, ethical and strategic solutions to his clients. He is also an Adjunct Professor of Law at Brooklyn Law School and is a prolific writer, blogger and speaker on contemporary immigration law topics.
WHAT ATTRACTED YOU TO SPECIALISE IN IMMIGRATION LAW?
It challenged me intellectually and allowed me to make a big difference in someone’s life. Immigration lawyers are also some of the finest people I have ever known who work with passion to ensure due process, fairness and justice.
WHAT WOULD YOU DESCRIBE AS THE GREATEST ACHIEVEMENT OF YOUR CAREER TO DATE?
The fact that I can win cases every day is the greatest achievement. Every win, big or small, is equally important for the client.
DESCRIBE THE IMPORTANCE OF PRO BONO WORK TO YOUR PRACTICE.
Pro bono is a must, and more so in the present times when immigrants are under attack by the Trump administration. Immigration lawyers today bear a great responsibility to restore America to its greatness as a nation of immigrants. It is also important to ensure that all immigrants in adverse circumstances have lawyers, especially in removal proceedings, and so immigration lawyers must also assume leadership roles to ensure the delivery of quality legal services.
HOW HAS IMMIGRATION LAW CHANGED OVER THE COURSE OF YOUR 20 YEARS IN THE FIELD?
When I first started, many types of applications for immigration benefits were considered to be relatively routine. These same applications 20-plus years later have grown in complexity and require much more effort, analysis and strategy. Immigration law has become far more interdisciplinary, and intersects with many other areas of the law such as corporate law, tax law and criminal law.
WHAT ARE THE GREATEST CHALLENGES FACING CURRENTLY CORPORATE IMMIGRATION PRACTITIONERS IN THE US?
The Immigration and Nationality Act is being reinterpreted under President Trump’s Buy American Hire American (BAHA) Executive Order leading to more challenges and denials of routine work visa applications such as the H-1B visa. BAHA is also incentivising government officials to reinterpret statutory provisions more strictly. Corporate immigration practitioners must remain on their toes to quickly gain mastery over these changes and to continue to effectively represent their clients, and not fear challenging adverse decisions through administrative appeals or in federal court.
TO WHAT EXTENT HAVE ATTITUDES TO IMMIGRATION LAW ENFORCEMENT CHANGED OVER RECENT MONTHS?
Under BAHA, enforcement has increased not just against unauthorised immigrants but also against employers who are perceived to be following practices that are inconsistent with the BAHA Executive Order. The Trump administration will try to criminalise conduct that was not perceived to be hitherto unlawful. It is important for corporate immigration lawyers to adopt best ethical practices on behalf of their clients and endeavour to preempt such governmental actions.
AS FOUNDER AND MANAGING PARTNER OF CYRUS D MEHTA & PARTNERS, HOW WOULD YOU LIKE TO SEE THE FIRM DEVELOP OVER THE NEXT FIVE YEARS?
I would like the firm to expand in what it does today, which is providing high-quality representation to clients in complex immigration matters. The firm should always maintain a reputation of possessing deep knowledge of immigration law that will stand out from amongst its competitors. I would like to nurture talented lawyers who will become leaders in the field, find innovative ways to provide excellent legal services and grow the firm. We should not grow for the sake of growth, but grow in order to meet the needs of clients who will value our unique legal services in extremely complex areas of immigration law.
WHAT ADVICE WOULD YOU SHARE WITH YOUNGER LAWYERS LOOKING TO SPECIALISE IN CORPORATE IMMIGRATION LAW?
You should realise early on whether you have a passion for immigration law and helping people. If you find it, then you will not mind working very hard and going beyond the call of duty for the client in an increasingly difficult and challenging environment. Try to stand out by being unique. It can either be specialising in a niche within corporate immigration law, such as employer compliance, or by aspiring to become a thought leader through speaking, writing, tweeting or undertaking bar association activities. Also, be prepared to embrace cutting-edge technology and always be ready to innovate and reinvent yourself.
Cyrus D Mehta is the managing partner of Cyrus D Mehta & Partners PLLC in New York City. He represents corporations and individuals from around the world in a variety of immigration matters, including business, employment, and entrepreneur and investor immigration. Based on over 25 years of experience in immigration law, he is able to comprehend all kinds of problems and provide effective, ethical and strategic solutions to his clients He is an adjunct professor of law at Brooklyn Law School where he teaches a course on immigration and work.
Mr Mehta is a former chair of the ethics and pro bono committees of the American Immigration Lawyers Association (AILA), and a member of the Commission on Immigration of the American Bar Association. Mr Mehta is the recipient of AILA’s Joseph Minsky Young Lawyers Award for outstanding contributions in the immigration field (1997), and AILA’s Michael Maggio Memorial Award for outstanding efforts in providing pro bono representation in the immigration field (2011).
Mr Mehta’s former roles include chair of the board of trustees of the American Immigration Council (2004-2006) and secretary of the New York City Bar Association (2003-2007), having also served as chair of the Association’s committee on Immigration and Nationality Law (2000-2003) He is also a member of the Alliance of Business Immigration Lawyers.
Mr Mehta graduated with a BA degree from St. Xavier’s College in Mumbai, and subsequently obtained an LLM from Cambridge University and an LLM from Columbia Law School.
WWL says: Cyrus Mehta is “the best lawyer in New York City”, say peers, who add, “He is at the top of his game and a leader in his field.”