Immigration Team Leaves Littler for Greenberg
Multinational clients' need for mobility services expands as economy globalizes
A 16-person team of immigration lawyers and staff have left Littler Mendelson for Greenberg Traurig, giving Greenberg an Atlanta immigration practice while stripping Littler of its local group.
Ian Macdonald, who was the co-chair of Littler's global mobility and immigration practice, has joined Greenberg Traurig as a shareholder. Scott Decker, Emily Liss and Avani Patel have joined as associates. Twelve paralegals and other professionals also made the move.
Littler will refocus its immigration practice on Miami, where the leader of the group, Jorge Lopez, practices, said L. Traywick Duffie, Littler's Atlanta managing shareholder. "We're going to perform the same services as we always have for our clients, just out of Miami."
Macdonald, who spent five years at Littler, said Greenberg's more extensive international coverage and Washington lobbying practice were draws because his client base is multinational, including several Fortune 500 companies.
Greenberg, a 1,750-lawyer general practice firm, has five offices or alliances with other firms in Europe plus offices in Shanghai, Seoul, Tel Aviv and Mexico City. Littler, the country's largest labor and employment firm, has nine locations in Latin America, but none in Europe or Asia (although it has an alliance with a Chinese firm).
"Immigration is at the crossroads of politics and foreign affairs, so the ability to offer clients industry coalitions and engage in meaningful political lobbying is an important area that I needed and didn't have," Macdonald said.
"The ability to exert lobbying pressure in the immigration area through the Washington office gives our client base a distinct advantage. We can put them in front of issues instead of retroactively responding to situations," he explained.
Multinational companies have pressed for the United States to increase the number of worker visas for years, but Congress has not acted.
Greenberg supports changes to the nation's immigration law, Macdonald said. "We do not have a political agenda but a pragmatic agenda. Everybody, regardless of political background, agrees the current immigration policy needs to be revised."
In June the Senate passed a comprehensive, bipartisan immigration bill that would more than double the number of H1-B visas available annually for high-skilled workers, currently capped at 65,000 per year and create up to 200,000 new W visas for low-skilled workers. But negotiations have fizzled in the House.