Yana and TJ Albrecht, Bay Immigration Law
Yana Albrecht is a founding attorney at Bay Immigration Law, and her son, TJ Albrecht, is the firm’s managing director. Bay Immigration Law
Yana and TJ Albrecht are the mother-son team behind Bay Immigration Law, helping startups and founders achieve their immigration goals. Forty-one people nominated them for this list.
Most of the firm’s clients are young entrepreneurs who are “laser-focused on coming to the US to grow their startups and raise investments,” TJ said. Bay Immigration Law works out the strategy and logistics of immigration so clients can focus on their work, he added.
Botond Bognár, the cofounder of startup REscan in Menlo Park, California, said the firm had a “perfect hit rate” for its international team of five. And the entrepreneur Harshita Arora said many attorneys denied her case as a 16-year-old programmer from India before she hired Bay Immigration Law. Yana and the team helped her obtain an O-1 visa, and now she runs a payments startup funded by Y Combinator, Bloomberg Beta, and AngelList’s Naval Ravikant.
Sophie Alcorn, Alcorn Immigration Law
Sophie Alcorn is an attorney and founding partner of Alcorn Immigration Law. Alcorn Immigration Law
Sophie Alcorn, the daughter of an immigrant and an immigration attorney, is the choice attorney for startups funded by Sequoia Capital, Andreessen Horowitz, and Y Combinator. She was nominated for this list by talent partners at two venture firms, Homebrew and Menlo Ventures.
She runs her own practice from Mountain View, California, but serves the community in other ways: through a weekly advice column for TechCrunch and a podcast called “Immigration Law for Tech Startups,” where each week she dives into a policy issue, visa type, or news.
Alcorn also serves as a mentor at the startup accelerator 500 Startups and said she helped draft a new federal bill that could create a “startup visa” for foreign-born founders.
Hiba Anver, Erickson Immigration Group
Hiba Anver is a managing director and attorney with Erickson Immigration Group. Erickson Immigration Group
Hiba Anver, a managing director at Erickson Immigration Group, works with clients from scrappy startups to publicly traded corporations, helping them hire the talent they want.
She tells clients that visa applications for startups face higher scrutiny, and a successful strategy includes a hefty amount of documentation to show the business is “real,” funded, and growing.
It takes a little creativity, too. Anver said she represented a stealth startup that had little paperwork to show it could afford to pay a foreign worker. But she used net current assets, instead of cash in the bank, to prove the ability to pay — and won approval for the visa.
Anver, the daughter of immigrants, said she is the first woman and person of color to lead an internal legal team at Erickson, where she focuses on tech, finance, and investment clients.
Marcela Bermudez, Greenspoon Marder
Marcela Bermudez is a partner in Greenspoon Marder’s immigration and naturalization practice group. Greenspoon Marder LLP
Marcela Bermudez works with corporations, artists, athletes, and banks, but her specialty is helping startups in Latin America or other Spanish-speaking countries grow their businesses in the US. She led the formation of Greenspoon Marder’s Latin American immigration practice.
She’s helped startups and their executives and investors secure O-1, E-2, and L-1 visas.
Bermudez was also a lead attorney for Base Miami’s Market Entry Bootcamp, which provides Latin American startups with coaching and a network as they look to expand into the US.
Susan J. Cohen, Mintz
Susan Cohen is an attorney at Mintz and chair of its immigration practice. Mintz
Susan Cohen started Mintz’s immigration practice as a junior associate in the ’80s when she realized there was an unmet need for sophisticated immigration lawyers who also understood corporate law.
That tenacity has been a hallmark of Cohen’s career. She said she often tells entrepreneurs to meet with both corporate and immigration experts before they have incorporated a business, so they can design the corporate structure and equity distribution with the right considerations.
Mintz’s immigration practice also does a fair amount of counseling for venture-capital firms, she said, to secure visas and save the immigration status of the foreign-born founders they are investing in.
Jeptha Evans, McCown & Evans
Jeptha Evans is the cofounder and a partner of McCown & Evans. McCown & Evans LLP
Jeptha Evans has made a name for himself among startups and investors since starting his own firm in 2003. He’s worked with alumni of Y Combinator, the prestigious startup incubator, and he was nominated for this list by Emergence Capital, a venture firm that’s backed Zoom , Box, and Gusto.
He’s helped clients secure H-1B, O-1, and E-2 visas, which are investor visas available only to people from certain countries. He tells clients that while visa approvals have become more “rational” under the Biden administration, it’s essential to be honest in the application process.
“A misrepresentation can cause a lifetime ban,” he told Insider, adding that fraud investigations can be aggressive, and “noncompliance comes to light during M&A due diligence.”
Elizabeth Goss, Goss Associates
Elizabeth Goss is an attorney at the law firm Goss Associates. Goss Associates
Elizabeth Goss, who runs her own firm in Boston, is particularly experienced with international student entrepreneurs. She has helped professors and healthcare researchers get visas and has the distinction of securing the first “parole” under the International Entrepreneur category.
The program lets foreign-born founders stay in the country without a visa, but the rule has a difficult set of requirements that prevents most people from applying. Goss helped a Greek founder — whose startup, Selfie Networks, is backed by Lightspeed Venture Partners — get parole.
Goss said she has also helped startup clients secure OPT-, H-, E-, and O-class visas, as well as the EB-5 investor visa.