As head of Minami Tamaki’s immigration practice, Suhi Koizumi works closely with executives and human-resources leaders to help growing companies hire elite international talent.
“The US immigration system moves slowly, and the standards can seem arcane,” Koizumi said. “The case strategy and preparation process takes time and is iterative.”
Koizumi’s name was shared with Insider by Renegade Partners, a new venture firm started by the venture capitalists Renata Quintini and Roseanne Wincek and the veteran operator Susan Alban.
Nhu-Y Le, Legalpad
Nhu-Y Le is the vice president of client services at Legalpad. Legalpad
Hundreds of startups have placed their trust in a fellow startup, Legalpad, to secure their work visas. Founded in 2018, Legalpad uses data-driven processes to simplify the immigration system for founders, including top graduates from Techstars, Y Combinator, and 500 Startups.
Nhu-Y Le, who goes by Y, pronounced like the letter E, is the vice president of client services and “the glue that holds the entire client services and attorney teams together at Legalpad,” a spokeswoman said.
Before Legalpad, she worked as an immigration attorney at Microsoft, where she managed a high volume of visa cases and led internal training on immigration law and best practices.
Anna Morzy, Greenberg Traurig
Anna Morzy is an attorney and shareholder at the law firm Greenberg Traurig. Greenberg Traurig
Anna Mary, herself an immigrant, is an attorney and shareholder in the Chicago office of Greenberg Traurig. She’s helped startups and their executives secure O-1 and H-1B1 visas, available only to people from Chile and Singapore.
Mozy’s clients include startups backed by Sequoia Capital, Andreessen Horowitz, and Accel.
She tells startup clients that it’s important to show regulators what the company does and how it will grow in order to win approvals. “It is key to show that your business has appropriate funding and can effectively explain its plans in the US,” she said.
Ting Ni, ImmiPartner
Ting Ni is an attorney and co-founder of ImmiPartner. ImmiPartner
Ting Ni’s client roster varies from entrepreneurs who are just getting their businesses off the ground to unicorn companies with hundreds of employees. She locks arms with them through funding rounds and acquisitions, which she said often lead to immigration considerations.
Ni began her career working with scientists, academics, artists, and musicians needing visas and green cards, but being based in the Bay Area, she fell into working with startups as well. In 2018, she started her own firm, ImmiPartner, to help growing companies build their workforce.
Infinilake, a startup created by former Uber and Confluent engineers, said Ni took the company from “zero to one” in terms of hiring its first foreign worker and learning best practices. And the healthcare company TigerConnect said she’s secured four different visa types for its staff alone.
Peter Roberts, Roberts Immigration Law Group
Peter Roberts is an attorney at Roberts Immigration Law Group. Roberts Immigration Law Group
Peter Roberts is the go-to immigration attorney for entrepreneurs and executives entering the storied startup accelerator Y Combinator. The program nominated him for this list.
Roberts, who started his own firm seven years ago, also spends hours each year giving free advice to entrepreneurs on Hacker News, the online messaging board run by Y Combinator.
He said he’s undeterred by tricky cases. “As tough and confusing the US immigration system is, there’s almost always a solution for accomplished and smart founders,” Roberts told Insider.
Michael Serotte, Serotte Law
Michael Serotte is a senior partner at Serotte Law. Serotte Law
Michael Serotte has one foot in immigration law and another in the world of startups. He’s an immigration partner at Unshackled Ventures, a venture firm that invests in immigrants, where he helps the firm’s growing portfolio of companies hire and retain the best talent from anywhere.
Serotte also serves as immigration counsel to StartX, an accelerator associated with Stanford University.
He tells clients to apply the same determination they have at work to the immigration process.
“Just because other lawyers said it can’t be done doesn’t mean it can’t be done,” Serotte told Insider, adding that attorneys are like founders. “If you give up, you lose. We hate to lose.”
Jason Susser, Siskind Susser
Jason Susser is an attorney at Siskind Susser. Siskind Susser
Jason Susser has built a practice advising foreign-born entrepreneurs and their startups, venture capitalists, and other innovation-centric clients on immigration. He’s helped hundreds of students from one of the top US business schools, teaching them how to build the kind of track record that will help them secure an O-1 visa, for example.
“It’s so much more difficult to start a process like that when the founder is weeks away from running out of work authorization,” he said.
A coauthor with his partner Greg Siskind of “Immigration for Startups: A Guide for Founders,” Susser has seen startups he’s advised grow from one employee to dozens and hundreds. He became an immigration lawyer after five years as a paralegal and clerk in the same field.
Tahmina Watson, Watson Immigration Law
Tahmina Watson is an attorney at Watson Immigration Law. Watson Immigration Law
Tahmina Watson, an immigrant herself, got high marks from the 13 people who nominated her for this list. They describe her as a passionate lawyer who goes the distance for her clients.
System1, an ad-tech company, has been able to hire 20 employees through the H-1B visa program with Watson’s help, according to one of the company’s human-resources leaders.
Watson already wrote a book on startup immigration, titled “The Startup Visa,” now in its second edition. She’s also a podcast host and frequent contributor to Entrepreneur magazine.
Watson said she tells her clients that “every case is a story, and we need to make sure your story is presented as simply yet as effectively as possible to ensure your case is successful.”
Katie Wu, Global Immigration Partners
Katie Wu is an associate attorney at Global Immigration Partners. Fragomen
Katie Wu, an associate with Global Immigration Partners in Los Angeles, understands that there’s no one-size-fits-all immigration solution for startups. She works closely with clients to demonstrate that they are eligible for certain visas that have difficult sets of requirements.
“Hiring a competent immigration attorney will save a lot of heartache and grief in the long run,” Wu said.
Wu’s name was shared with Insider by 17 people, including startup founders and human-resources leaders. They said Wu stands out from other attorneys because of her attention to detail, responsiveness, and her rare ability to translate legalese.
Wu said she’s helped workers with exceptional abilities seek O-1 and EB-1A visas and national-interest waivers, which spare companies from the cumbersome labor certification process.