Baker Donelson’s national Immigration Team partners with businesses and individuals throughout the world to provide consistent, effective solutions to complex immigration problems. We provide results in which our clients have confidence. For details on the full breadth and scope of our practice, see Our Approach.
Our immigration lawyers and professional staff are driven by our focus on providing high-quality, personalized client service. Each of our immigration lawyers is a recognized professional in his or her own right, and they all work together to seamlessly provide consistent and effective results. Our national Immigration Team consists of the following attorneys:
Robert C. Divine chairs the Immigration Group from its Chattanooga and Washington, D.C. offices. Mr. Divine served in Washington, D.C. from July 2004 until November 2006 as the first Chief Counsel of United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS), the world’s largest immigration services agency within the Department of Homeland Security (DHS). From July 2005 until July 2006, he served as Acting Director and then Acting Deputy Director of USCIS. He is the author of Immigration Practice, a 1,600 page practical treatise on all aspects of U.S. immigration law that is revised and reprinted annually to reflect the law’s constant changes. He has practiced immigration law since 1986 and has been a leader in the American Immigration Lawyers Association (AILA). Currently he chairs AILA’s national liaison committee to the Department of State. He has also litigated significant business matters, including class action employment discrimination, contract, commercial, product liability, antitrust, ERISA benefits, business torts (including RICO, misrepresentation, Consumer Protection Act), and immigration-related criminal matters.
Robert N. Johnson
Robert Johnson has more than 20 years of experience representing business clients in immigration matters. He represents U.S. and foreign-based multinational corporations in the hiring of foreign executives, managers and specialists and their transfer to the United States. In addition to immigration counsel, Mr. Johnson routinely advises Japanese, Swedish, British, German and Canadian companies on a wide variety of corporate, commercial, finance, securities and intellectual property matters as well. Mr. Johnson has published numerous articles on a variety of business immigration topics and regularly conducts in-house Immigration training seminars. He lived and worked in Japan for two years and is conversationally fluent in Japanese.
L. Mabel Arroyo
L. Mabel Arroyo is a shareholder in the Nashville office. Fluent in both English and Spanish, Ms. Arroyo understands the complexities of U.S. immigration laws and proactively helps businesses and individuals with corporate immigration issues. She assists manufacturers, health care corporations and other companies in connection with visa applications, day-to-day operational questions and administrative proceedings before the United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS), the U.S. Department of Labor and U.S. Embassies and Consulates throughout the world. A native of Puerto Rico, she began practicing immigration law in Tennessee in 1997. Ms. Arroyo regularly lectures in the Middle Tennessee area on various immigration topics and frequently contributes immigration law articles to Hispanic newspapers and periodicals.
Dawei Zhang, of counsel in the Firm’s New Orleans office, concentrates his practice in the areas of maritime transportation and immigration. Prior to attending Tulane Law School, he was employed by the Legal Affairs Department of China Council for the Promotion of International Trade and the China Maritime Arbitration Commission in Beijing, China. After receiving his J.D. and LL.M. in Admiralty degrees from Tulane, Mr. Zhang has worked on all manner of shipping and maritime cases in the United States. Over the past several years, Mr. Zhang has also focused part of his practice on employment-based immigration matters. Born in Beijing, China, Mr. Zhang is bilingual, fluent in both Mandarin and English.
Melanie C. Walker
Melanie Walker, associate in the Firm’s Chattanooga office, is a member of the Immigration Group within the Labor and Employment Group. She assists clients throughout the world with their business-based temporary and permanent immigration status needs, and dedicates a large portion of her practice to the EB-5 immigrant investor category. Ms. Walker has a wide range of experience coordinating with other professionals in the disciplines of securities law, real estate and corporate finance, to develop immigration-compliant offering documents and has represented investors, developers and regional centers with their EB-5 filings.
Miriam Thompson is an immigration associate in the Chattanooga office and is a member of the Firm’s Labor & Employment Group. She focuses on advising clients on employment-based temporary and permanent immigration needs. Prior to joining Baker Donelson, Ms. Thompson worked at a high-volume corporate immigration firm. During law school, she interned with the Nevada Supreme Court and served on the editorial board of the Nevada Law Journal and the moot court team. Before law school, Ms. Thompson worked in finance for several years. She is a dual U.S./German citizen and is fluent in German and English.
Geoffrey Tobias is senior counsel in the Firm’s Baltimore office. Over the course of his 40-year legal career, Mr. Tobias has participated in litigation in virtually every state, handling products liability matters and representing a wide range of individual and commercial clients in cases involving maritime, trucking and immigration issues.
His immigration practice includes the representation of United States employers of foreign workers; professionals and foreign investors in the United States; and individuals seeking permanent residence and American citizenship. He is experienced in representing clients in all of the CIS (INS) regions, as well as before the Administrative Appeals Unit and Board of Immigration Appeals in Washington.
Dilnaz Saleem is of counsel in our Houston office. She offers strategic counsel on all aspects of business immigration, including labor certification PERM applications, immigrant visa petitions, consular processing and adjustment of status applications, reentry permits and naturalization applications. She also manages H-1B petitions, TNs, L-1s, E visas and O visas. Her practice focuses on counseling large multinational corporations on immigration issues arising from corporate reorganizations, mergers and layoffs; managing PERM recruitment programs; immigrant visa petitions under the extraordinary ability, outstanding researcher, multinational manager and executive, and national interest waiver categories; as well as policy and procedures development.
Baker, Donelson, Bearman, Caldwell & Berkowitz, PC, is the 60th largest law firm in the United States of America. Through strategic acquisitions and mergers over the past century, the Firm has grown to include more than 800 attorneys and public policy and international advisors. Baker Donelson has 24 offices located from Baltimore, Maryland to Orlando, Florida to Houston, Texas.
If you are interested in joining our team, either as an attorney or legal assistant, please contact Sasha Constante.
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