EB5 Investors Magazine is excited to present the top attorneys, business plan writers, and economists in the EB-5 industry. Our list includes the Top 25 EB-5 immigration attorneys, 15 corporate and securities attorneys, and 10 attorneys we recognize for their specific areas of expertise. We selected these EB-5 attorneys through a careful process of EB-5 community member votes, input from our editorial board and analysis from our in-house team. Candidates were evaluated based on their experience in the EB-5 industry, their track record and their reputation within the field. It is our hope that this annual Top 25 list will serve as a resource for investors and developers looking for counsel or professional EB-5 services, as well as a reference for EB-5 practitioners. For more information, or to contact any of these attorneys, we invite you to view their listings at www.EB5Investors.com/directories.
Brownstein Hyatt Farber Schreck LLP
Recognized for Practice in Specialized Field: EB-5 Hotel Financing Structures
A seasoned attorney, Jonathan Bloch provides creative and solution-oriented legal counsel in a variety of corporate and finance transactions. He represents corporations, investors and entrepreneurs in transactions including mergers and acquisitions, hotel and resort developments, fund formations, joint ventures and general corporate work.
Bloch assists clients in technology, real estate, hospitality and telecommunication companies, and manufacturing facilities and Internet distribution centers with the challenges of raising capital. He also has extensive experience negotiating and documenting financing through the EB-5 immigrant investor visa program, including advising real estate developers as well as energy infrastructure companies on obtaining loans through the EB-5 program. Bloch has been intricately involved in the EB-5 industry, having completed over $750 million in EB-5 financings within the last three years. He has extensive experience in structuring and negotiating sophisticated real estate transactions for private equity clients, as well as institutional investors and large-scale developers.
Due to his deep knowledge of issues impacting institutional borrowers and developers, he has established himself as a go-to resource nationally. He spent the past three years serving on the public policy committee of Invest in the USA (IIUSA), analyzing and responding to legislative issues and Senate Bill 1501.
Bloch also offers his clients’ insight from his firm’s Washington, D.C., office where a 20-year history provides thorough knowledge of the political and legislative landscape.
Prior to joining the firm, Bloch was a partner at Jeffer Mangels Butler & Mitchell in Los Angeles. He served as acting general counsel at a firm before joining private practice where he reviewed and negotiated limited partnership agreements and side letters for more than 30 partnerships, oversaw all legal issues and acted as the chief compliance officer for an SEC-registered investment advisor. Previously, Bloch was the founder and Senior Managing Director of a large fund-of-funds firm (over $700 million in investments), which was targeted at venture capital, growth equity, medium-size buyout funds and cleantech investing. The fund-of-funds firm was sold to a major international investment bank.
Pathways EB-5, Law Office of Jeffrey E. Campion
Recognized for Practice in Specialized Field: Program Advocacy and Regional Center Operations
For more than 15 years, Jeff Campion has owned, operated, and managed the Law Office of Jeffrey E. Campion, P.A., based in Weston, Florida. His office counsels high-net-worth individuals who are seeking residency and naturalization in the United States and represents developers and regional centers in setting up EB-5 compliant projects.
Campion focuses on representing high net-worth foreign clients and their businesses. He has lectured extensively in the United States as well as in Asia and Latin America on EB-5. He is the co-chair and founding member of the EB-5 Investment Coalition, is a member of the AILA EB-5 Committee and a former member of the IIUSA Best Practices Committee.
Campion began his own regional center, Texas Urban Triangle Regional Center, in 2011, and subsequently became CEO of Pathways. Pathways manages a family of nine regional centers that have USCIS approved geography covering 28 states, including most of the major metropolitan areas throughout the United States. Since Campion began working on EB-5 cases in 2009, he has seen the program change tremendously in terms of project variety, with clients now able to choose from several projects that may meet their goals and have a greater likelihood of returning capital. Indeed, he believes the EB-5 industry is just beginning and will boom in the next few years as traditional capital becomes more expensive, and large developers continue to recognize EB-5 as a viable financing tool.
With an ability to connect with people, Campion’s philosophy is that you cannot adequately represent anyone in immigration without understanding them individually. He knows how important immigration can be to a family that leaves behind everything they know to settle in a new country, with only the hope of a better life. Many of Campion’s high net worth clients come from Latin America, where they have been oppressed, persecuted and even kidnapped.
Campion was drawn to immigration law, and EB-5 in particular, because it allows people to come to the United States where they can live without persecution and enjoy the freedoms deserved by all.
Greenberg Traurig LLP
Recognized for Practice in Specialized Field: Program Advocacy and Lobbying
Laura Foote Reiff has been involved in EB-5 since the program’s inception in 1990. With roots as a business immigration attorney assisting with EB-5 direct investments, Reiff has grown to become co-chair of Greenberg Traurig, LLP’s business immigration and compliance group, a co-managing shareholder for the firm, and the leader of The EB-5 Immigration Coalition – a diverse organization of trade associations and businesses working to advance the EB-5 program.
A multi-disciplinary international law firm, Greenberg Traurig is comprised of more than 1,800 attorneys practicing in 38 offices worldwide. Reiff collaborates with Greenberg Traurig’s dedicated EB-5 team, which includes professionals such as economists and securities attorneys, to assist both investors and developers across the full spectrum of EB-5 matters.
As a founding member of The EB-5 Immigration Coalition, Reiff is actively committed to reforming one of the most challenging aspects of EB-5: the program’s policy complexities. She finds that the bureaucracy of interfacing with various agencies is frustrating and works against the EB-5 program’s underlying goal of creating U.S. jobs.
Despite the intricacies of navigating EB-5 policy, Reiff finds that working towards transparency in business immigration laws and regulations is one of the most rewarding components of her job. She has been involved with federal legislation for more than 15 years, and her endeavors as a registered lobbyist for The EB-5 Immigration Coalition allow her to have a direct effect in promoting and supporting the continuation of the EB-5 Immigrant Investor Program.
The ability to see families obtain their green cards is another reason that motivates Reiff, and she enjoys seeing projects flourish from start to finish. With more than 25 years of experience, she has gained a close understanding of how the EB-5 program has changed. From only allowing direct investments, to its revamp with the introduction of the Regional Center Pilot Program, to a current industry populated by better-quality projects sponsored by reputable names, Reiff feels that EB-5 has developed in an overall positive direction.
Bass Berry & Sims PLC
Recognized for Practice in Specialized Field: Real Estate and Lending Transactions
Michael Gibson is a member in the Washington, D.C. office of Bass, Berry & Sims PLC and counsels clients on traditional finance and real estate transactions, with a particular focus on EB-5 funding options working closely with developers, regional centers and other intermediaries. Prior to joining the firm, he was a partner at an AMLAW 100 firm.
Gibson has worked on transactions involving EB-5 capital utilized to finance and develop energy power plants, hotels and other infrastructure assets. His first transaction including EB-5 capital involved the financing of a parking deck asset and, in keeping with the industry’s progress, his subsequent transactions have evolved in sophistication and complexity. As EB-5 transactions have been underwritten and documented in a manner similar to traditional financing and real estate transactions, Gibson’s background has helped EB-5 lenders and developers utilize EB-5 capital while maintaining a fair and reasoned balance between the parties. By providing sound and creative solutions to EB-5 financings, he hopes to strengthen and grow the EB-5 program in the United States and its perception abroad.
In addition to his EB-5 experience, Gibson has represented borrowers and lenders in a variety of financing arrangements, including senior debt (secured by assets and/or cash flow), mezzanine debt, and construction and development financing. Gibson has assisted companies in financing and managing real estate used in their own business operations, and investors in real estate transactions involving occupied properties, including representation of real estate investors in multiple sale-leaseback transactions in the United States and abroad. He has worked with many industries, with particular focus on the hospitality industry.
Gibson earned his undergraduate degree from Boston College and a Juris Doctor from American University’s Washington College of Law. In 2014 and 2015, he was recognized by Legal500 in the area of Real Estate and Construction. Outside of his law practice, Gibson enjoys tinkering with and keeping old cars running and fly-fishing.
Kurzban, Kurzban, Weinger, Tetzeli & Pratt P.A.
Recognized for Practice in Specialized Field: EB-5 Litigation
Ira Kurzban was retained by one of the first EB-5 Regional Centers to represent individual investors and has since spent the last 20 years involved in the program. That case became a landmark for EB-5; Chang v. U.S. was a class action lawsuit in which Kurzban went up against USCIS after hundreds of investors’ I-829 petitions were unfairly denied.
Today, Kurzban, Kurzban, Weinger, Tetzeli, & Pratt P.A. is the go-to immigration litigation firm. Kurzban has been a partner in the firm’s Miami office for over three decades and is the chair of the immigration department. He and his team currently handle 90 percent of all federal litigation cases for the EB-5 program and have litigated class actions on behalf of thousands of investors over the past 20 years. They also litigate deportation proceedings resulting from I-829 denials, and undertake a large volume of EB-5 mandamus work resulting from governmental failure to render case decisions.
Kurzban is an authority on immigration law who frequently advises regional centers and agents on a wide range of EB-5 matters. Kurzban predicts the program will continue to develop because it is one of the few areas in immigration that appears to have bipartisan support and is creating jobs for American workers. As the author of Kurzban's Immigration Law Sourcebook, he works tirelessly to maintain up-to-date information for his publication.
A past national president and former general counsel of AILA, Kurzban has been listed for over 30 years in the Best Lawyers in America for his work in immigration and employment law, and has been named by the National Law Journal as one of the Top Twenty Immigration Lawyers in the United States. He was also recently named as one of the 500 best lawyers in the U.S. by LawDragon and as a star individual in Chambers. From his pro bono work, to his service with the Institute for Justice & Democracy in Haiti, passionate commitment to his fellow man is what makes Kurzban an exceptional attorney.
Global Law Group
Recognized for Practice in Specialized Field: Complex Legal and Regional Center Operations
In the early years of EB-5, investors involved in failed projects came to Linda Lau for assistance. For many it was too late, and Lau quickly realized it would be more effective if EB-5 investors be educated to do thorough research from the earliest stage to avoid failed projects. Lau has been working hard ever since her first EB-5 case in 1994.
Originally from Hong Kong, Lau understands the immigration process on a technical and personal level. As the president of Global Law Group in Pasadena, California, and a representative office in Shanghai, China, Lau leads a team of 40 dedicated professionals. The entire staff at Global Law Group exercises empathy and compassion toward their clients, allowing the practice to handle cases holistically. In addition to creating a compassionate environment, Lau also pushes herself and her staff towards the goal of 100 percent approval of cases. Her practice is founded on the mission to provide wise guidance and advocacy, and to be a trusted provider of legal services to entrepreneurs and global citizens.
With over 25 years’ experience, Lau’s practice handles investment immigration matters, allowing the firm to offer a range of services targeted towards all clients who need EB-5 assistance. Lau has helped over 60 regional centers successfully obtain designation with USCIS. She has also been involved in structuring over 150 EB-5 projects with project size ranging from a half million to a billion dollars.
Lau’s awareness that the complexities of immigration often transcend legal issues is fostered by her background in social work with her Christian world view, and the Global Law Group’s Global Dreambuilders Foundation is an integral part of the firm. The foundation benefits organizations that provide necessary services to the poor and needy around the world. Lau’s empathy for her clients and others, combined with her technical expertise, contributes to her standing as one of the leading EB-5 attorneys in the country.
Recognized for Practice in Specialized Field: Compliance and Special Cases
Since she filed her first I-526 petition in 1993, Dawn Lurie has developed the uncanny ability to forecast EB-5 program trends. She understands what government adjudicators are looking for and constantly endeavors to stay a step ahead of immigration concerns in the Capitol. Throughout her life and career, including the ups and downs of the EB-5 program, she has relied on enlightened intuition attuned to ethical concerns distinguishing right from wrong, and always utilizes this discretion when advising clients.
A shareholder in the Washington, D.C., office of Polsinelli, PC, Lurie counsels individual investors on immigration benefits and risks, and project developers on EB-5 compliance issues. Her peers recognize Lurie for her skill in resolving problem cases and bothersome Requests for Evidence. Lurie strongly believes in zealously representing her clients within the bounds of law, and has made a business decision to avoid diluting her duty of loyalty by representing multiple clients on each EB-5 project.
Lurie’s focuses on compliance, best practices and due diligence across all parties in an EB-5 project. She educates her colleagues and clients on measures to enhance the integrity of the EB-5 program and its stakeholders. Lurie actively reaches out to other industry leaders and lays down measures that will help the EB-5 program develop. She serves on several committees, including the Best Practices Committee for IIUSA, and regularly speaks and writes about immigration compliance matters.
Perhaps the best indicator of Lurie’s depth of EB-5 knowledge is the variety of people who seek out her advice, including banks and senior lenders, colleagues, and luminaries in the industry who Lurie herself looks up to. All of these people call Lurie when there is a problem, because they know she will look at every side of the issue and guide them in the right direction. Though her professional life keeps her busy, she is devoted to her family husband and two children. Lurie loves to travel and spends a good amount of time in North Africa and the Middle East.
McCarthy Nehring PS
Recognized for Practice in Specialized Field: Program Advocacy and Regional Center Operations
Joseph McCarthy is a founding partner of the Los Angeles and Seattle-based law firm, McCarthy Nehring PS, and American Dream Fund, an operator of multiple EB-5 Regional Centers nationwide. McCarthy holds a Juris Doctor with honors, a Masters of Geological Engineering, and a B.A. in Geology and Political Science. McCarthy’s primary area of legal expertise is immigration law, including all facets of EB-5 immigration. Through his involvement in EB-5, he has been involved in EB-5 capital deployment of greater than $800 million in job-creating enterprises.
McCarthy Nehring, PS has represented more than 40 regional centers nationwide; including preparing initial applications for regional center designation and preparation of their project materials. In his role as an attorney, McCarthy is a member of the American Immigration Lawyers Association (“AILA”) and served for four years as the Legislative Committee Chair for the Association to Invest in USA (“IIUSA”); a national trade association of EB-5 Regional Centers and service providers responsible for leading EB-5 reform in the United States Congress. In this capacity, alongside other IIUSA leadership, he participated in working on legislation currently before both the House and Senate that, if passed, would make the EB-5 Regional Center program permanent and enacted much needed reform to the immigrant investor program.
McCarthy is a widely recognized speaker about EB-5 immigration law both domestically and in China. He frequently speaks about EB-5 to developers and business professionals, government officials, attorneys, and individuals interested in immigrating through the EB-5 program. For his work in EB-5, he was acknowledged by the Los Angeles Business Journal as one of the “Who’s Who in Real Estate”. McCarthy also serves on the Editorial Board for the EB-5 Investors Magazine and recently authored multiple chapters of the EB-5 Handbook.
McCarthy is admitted to practice law before the Supreme Courts of the states of Washington and California, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit and the U.S. District Court for the Western District of Washington, Southern California, and Central California.
Visa Law Group PLLC
Recognized for Practice in Specialized Field: Leadership and Regional Center Operations
An immigration lawyer for more than 24 years, David M. Morris is co-chair of the American Immigration Lawyers Association’s EB-5 Investor Visa Committee and a senior editor of one of the leading EB-5 books, Immigration Options for Investors & Entrepreneurs (3rd ed.). Morris manages Visa Law Group’s Washington, D.C., office, which practices immigration and visa law exclusively.
With his leadership as Co-Chair, the AILA EB5 Committee, composed of 15 leading immigration lawyers in the EB-5 field, continues to be recognized as the pre-eminent authority for legal analysis and reporting within the industry. AILA’s outstanding technical work and outreach has helped regional centers and investors better understand the Program’s complex rules and policies. Not surprisingly, he was a leading voice in the broader 2015 legislative campaign to extend the program.
Morris is one of few professionals holding a valuable long-view of EB-5’s history. The perspective he gained between 1996 and 2000 makes him especially unique, when the program was effectively turned upside down. Prior to 2000, when the EB-5 program was still small but growing, Morris’ firm represented a large percentage of foreign investors. There was strong optimism that the pilot program would fully realize its legislative intent and provide a reliable path to residency as a result of investment and American job creation.
Morris was present when that changed literally overnight, when the federal government issued the Matter of Izummi precedent decision. He describes how the INS instituted immediate and sweeping rule changes, many applied retroactively, through a series of AAO decisions. The INS then formed special adjudication teams to deny or revoke almost every I-526 petition that had not yet resulted in conditional residency.
For Morris, the program’s darkest days have provided him with invaluable experience. There is no doubt in his mind that today’s EB-5 policies can all be traced back to issues raised in 1998.
Morris graduated from the University of Buffalo with a degree in political science, and earned his law degree from the University of Dayton. He is a distinguished speaker or moderator at nearly every major industry conference.
Seyfarth Shaw LLP
Recognized for Practice in Specialized Field: Compliance and Special Cases
Angelo A. Paparelli has been engaged with EB-5 issues since 1990, when Congress first created the Immigrant Investor Program. Before regional centers were authorized, Paparelli focused on direct pooled and individual investments. He often developed solutions to open questions that floated around the EB-5 community with no easy answers. By the end of that first decade, he had established a regional center. He is now a partner in the firm Seyfarth Shaw LLP, where he primarily works with regional centers, project developers and banks. Paparelli is known throughout the EB-5 industry as a lawyer’s lawyer equipped to take on difficult cases.
Having also practiced international business and tax law, Paparelli brings unique expertise to the EB-5 field. He visualizes creative solutions to intricate problems and sees EB-5 complexities arising from the lack of published governmental regulations, and the plethora of non-precedent administrative decisions and non-binding guidance. Without a substantial body of EB-5 legal authorities available for citation, Paparelli relies on logic, analogy and his broad knowledge of other immigration and corporate law categories where interpretations are settled.
To support the EB-5 community, Paparelli runs a free monthly telephone roundtable for experts in the EB-5 arena to discuss specific issues in detail. He has found that a penny-wise, pound-foolish mentality in the EB-5 community often leads to problem cases, and preventable RFEs and denials. He hopes that those interested in EB-5 will navigate its ambiguities by relying on experienced professionals.
Paparelli is an avid writer. He co-edited Forming and Operating a Regional Center: A Guide for Developers and Business Innovators and The EB-5 Book 2014-2015 Edition. He also was named in 2016 by Chambers & Partners and Legal 500 as a Band 1 immigration lawyer. You can find Paparelli’s musing on all things immigration law on his blog Nation of Immigrators. When he is not practicing law, he enjoys yoga, fitness, theater and, most importantly, spending time with his wife and two daughters.