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Basic Immigration Law 2012

Speaker(s): Anwen Hughes, Avram E. Morell, Charles Akalski Jr., Cyrus D. Mehta, Julie E. Dinnerstein, Karin Wolman, Mark R. von Sternberg, Marko C. Maglich, Noemi E. Masliah, Patricia L. Gannon, Thomas E. Moseley
Recorded on: Mar. 15, 2012
PLI Program #: 34768

Charles Akalski graduated with bachelor's degree in Psychology from SUNY Stony Brook in 1996 and began employment with legacy INS as a District Adjudications Officer (DAO) in the New York District Office the same year. His first assignment as a DAO was to the Refugee and Parole Unit where he worked until 1998 upon being reassigned to the Congressional Unit.  In 2002, Mr. Akalski was promoted to Supervisory District Adjudications Officer (SDAO) where he oversaw the day-to-day operations of the Employment Authorization and Legalization Unit.  In 2008, Mr. Akalski became the Section Chief of Adjudications 2 where he managed the Stokes and Marriage Fraud units in addition to the Adoption Unit and the Records Department among others.  In October 2009, Mr. Akalski assumed the position of Field Office Director managing the New York City Field Office's Naturalization Section. In July 2010, Mr. Akalski became the Field Office Director of the Garden City Field Office and led that office during a significant transitional period where half of the existing Garden City staff moved to the brand new Long Island Field Office, the first full-service field office of its kind on Long Island, located in Holtsville, NY.  Mr. Akalski was selected to be the first Field Office Director in charge of the Long Island Field Office and held that position when the office officially opened its doors to the public on October 12, 2010.  In December 2012, Mr. Akalski returned to the New York City Field Office where he is now in charge of the Adjudications 2 and 3 sections to include oversight of the District's 8 Application Support Centers, Customer Service Unit, Congressional Unit, CARRP Unit and Stokes (Marriage Fraud) Unit.

Anwen Hughes joined Human Rights First in 1999 and currently oversees Human Rights First's pro bono representation program for asylum seekers unable to afford paid counsel. Anwen provides training and support to volunteer attorneys at law firms in New York and New Jersey who represent asylum seekers through our program and assists in Human Rights First's local and national advocacy on asylum issues. Anwen graduated from Yale College with a B.A. in Classics, and from Yale Law School.


Cyrus D. Mehta, a graduate of Cambridge University and Columbia Law School, is the Managing Partner of Cyrus D. Mehta & Partners PLLC in New York City. He currently serves as the Vice Chair of AILA’s Ethics Committee overseeing the publication of the multi-volume AILA Ethics Compendium. Mr. Mehta is on the editorial board of the AILA Law Journal and Bender’s Immigration Bulletin. He is a board member of The New York Immigration Coalition and a board member of Volunteers of Legal Services. He is also special counsel on immigration matters to the Departmental Disciplinary Committee, Appellate Division, First Department, New York.

Mr. Mehta was formerly a member of AILA’s Administrative Litigation Task Force; AILA’s FOIA Strategy Committee; AILA’ s EB-5 Committee, former chair AILA’s Ethics Committee; former chair of AILA’s Pro Bono Committee, former chair of AILA’s New Member Division, former chair of the Board of Trustees of the American Immigration Council and former chair of the Committee on Immigration and Nationality Law of the New York City Bar and Secretary of the New York City Bar. Mr. Mehta is the former chair of the Board of Trustees of the American Immigration Council and former chair of the Committee on Immigration and Nationality Law of the New York City Bar Association. 

He is a frequent speaker and writer on various immigration-related issues, including on ethics, and is also an adjunct professor of law at Brooklyn Law School, where he teaches a course entitled Immigration and Work. Mr. Mehta received the AILA 2018 Edith Lowenstein Memorial Award for advancing the practice of immigration law and the AILA 2011 Michael Maggio Memorial Award for his outstanding efforts in providing pro bono representation in the immigration field. He has also received three AILA Presidential Commendations in 2010, 2016 and 2020. Mr. Mehta is ranked highly by Who’s Who Legal – Corporate Immigration Law 2021 and also by Chambers USA and Chambers Global 2021 in immigration law, among other rankings. 

Patricia Gannon practices in all areas of immigration law, with a focus on business immigration.  Many of her clients are in the telecommunications, pharmaceutical and banking industries.  She advises multi-nationals on employment verification matters and develops various compliance strategies and programs.

As a member of the Foreign American Counsel, Patricia concentrates her international practice on global immigration and provides outbound assistance to foreign companies.  Patricia facilitates and organizes global human resources through the implementation of visas and management of global mobility staff.

Prior to joining Wormser, Kiely, Galef & Jacobs, LLP, Patricia was a shareholder at Greenberg Traurig.  Prior to Greenberg Traurig, Patricia was the deputy district counsel for the former Immigration and Naturalization Service, where she spearheaded nationwide enforcement initiatives and worked with the Eastern Region Service Centers’ policy and enforcement of employment eligibility verification forms.  She also served as a special assistant to U.S. Attorney for the Eastern District of New York where she investigated and prosecuted many complex immigration civil cases.

Patricia has lectured nationally and internationally on immigration issues to bar associations and industry groups.  She has published numerous legal articles.


Co-Chair, Immigration Section, New York State Bar Association

Leadership Team, International Talent Mobility Team

Member, United States Chamber of Commerce, Employment Labor Committee, Immigration sub-Committee

Member, American Immigration Lawyers Association (AILA)

Nominated, Employer Sanctions Legislative Committee and the Anti-Exploitation Task Force Committee to draft legislation before the House and Senate Committee

Awards & Recognition

Recipient of the InterContinental Finance Magazine’s Legal Excellence Award, 2011.

Listed, Best Lawyers 2013, 2014

Listed, Legal 500 US 2009 Edition

Listed, Who’s Who Legal

Nominated for the Attorney General award for Outstanding Compliance with EEO hiring practices

Outstanding Performance in Investigation and Prosecution, Department of Justice


Avram Morell is a member of Pryor Cashman’s Immigration Law Group. His experience includes a wide range of areas of immigration and nationality law, including counseling employers in the hiring of foreign employees, representing entrepreneurs and investors seeking permission to live and work in the United States, obtaining immigrant and non-immigrant visas for professionals in a variety of industries, advising employers on all areas of immigration compliance, guiding individuals through the permanent residence and naturalization application processes, developing corporate immigration policies, and creating global mobility guidelines and procedures.

Mr. Morell is ranked among the leading immigration lawyers by Chambers USA and US Legal 500 and lectures regularly on immigration law to professional associations, educational institutes, and private businesses. He is the author of articles on areas of immigration law in state-wide, national and international publications and has contributed to Immigration Law and Procedure, the leading treatise on immigration law. Mr. Morell has also served in key capacities for the American Immigration Lawyers Association on the national Department of State Liaison Committee, the national Verification and Worksite Enforcement Liaison Committee, the Liaison Committee to the New York District Office of USCIS, and the Liaison Committee to Customs and Border Protection in New York and New Jersey. 

Mr. Morell is a 1993 graduate of Benjamin N. Cardozo School of Law, where he was a Samuel Belkin Scholar.

Karin Wolman is Principal of the Law Office of Karin Wolman, PLLC, serving businesses of all sizes, non-profit organizations and individuals, across industries from healthcare and the sciences, academia, finance and technology, to the performing arts and entertainment, fine and graphic arts and new media, culinary arts, fashion and beauty, architecture and design. Ms. Wolman is a frequent speaker at local and national conferences on topics in immigration law ranging from aliens of extraordinary ability to naturalization, for organizations including the American Immigration Lawyers Association, the Practising Law Institute, New Jersey Institute of Continuing Legal Education, and New York State Bar Association. Ms. Wolman has been recognized among the top 5% of attorneys in the New York Metro area by SuperLawyers, and has a 10/10 “Superb” rating on Avvo. A graduate of Columbia University and UCLA School of Law, she worked at the Brooklyn Academy of Music when the O & P visa categories were first introduced. She has served since 2002 as moderator of the AILA InfoNet forum on O & P visas, as well as other forums, plus the Vermont Service Center liaison committee for AILA national and local committees for the New York chapter of AILA.

Noemi E. Masliah is the principal of The Masliah Firm PC in New York City. She has been engaged exclusively in the practice of immigration law since 1980 and has spoken and written frequently on a broad range of immigration topics. Her practice covers all categories of employment-based cases for both temporary and permanent visas. She also represents individuals in family-based immigration matters and citizenship applications. She has received several community awards for her activism in immigration reform, specifically in connection with the discriminatory impact of the US immigration laws on the LGBT community.  She served on Lambda Legal’s Board of Directors for many years. Ms. Masliah was a co-founder of Immigration Equality. Most recently, she has been involved in the sanctuary movement, helping establish an immigration clinic at Congregation Beit Simchat Torah where she is a Board Director. A long-time and active member of the American Immigration Lawyers’ Association, Ms. Masliah served as a Trustee of the American Immigration Council.

Thomas E. Moseley practices immigration law in Newark, New Jersey concentrating in federal court litigation and removal defense. He received his A.B. from Harvard College and his J.D. from Harvard Law School and previously served as Chief of the Immigration Unit in the United States Attorney’s Office for the Southern District of New York. He is a past chair of the Immigration Section of the Federal Bar Association and has lectured on immigration before the Federal Bar Association, New Jersey ICLE, the Practicing Law Institute, and the American Immigration Lawyers Association (“AILA”). He is the recipient of AILA’s 2016 Jack Wasserman award for excellence in immigration litigation.

Julie E. Dinnerstein is a graduate of Columbia College and Columbia Law School where she served as an editor on the Columbia Law Review.  Prior to opening a private practice, Julie worked at Sanctuary for Families for over fifteen years where she helped to develop the Immigration Intervention Project’s team of attorneys and paralegals from a department of one (herself) to a thriving four-borough practice with over fifteen full-time staff members representing immigrant victims of domestic violence, human trafficking and related gender-based harms in a variety of immigration matters.  In addition to her private practice, Julie works with the City University of New York’s Citizenship Now project where she continues to serve low income New Yorkers.  Julie's past experience includes working at the New York Immigration Coalition and Cleary Gottlieb Steen & Hamilton and clerking for the Honorable Jack B. Weinstein.  She has written extensively on immigration options for immigrant victims of domestic violence.

Mark R. von Sternberg is a Senior Attorney with Catholic Charities Community Services/Archdiocese of New York where he concentrates on litigation before the Executive Office for Immigration Review. Mr. von Sternberg serves as an adjunct faculty member at Pace University School of Law where he teaches general immigration and comparative refugee law; he is also an adjunct faculty member at St. John’s University School of Law where he teaches an immigrant and refugee rights clinic. Mr. von Sternberg received a J.D. degree from Vanderbilt University School of Law in 1973 and an LL.M. degree (in International Legal Studies) from New York University School of Law in 1984. He has lectured at law schools and at professional associations regarding immigration matters and has written extensively, particularly in the areas of refugee law, international humanitarian law, and human rights. Mr. von Sternberg is the author of an internationally recognized treatise regarding the refugee definition as applied in the United States and Canada. In 2002, he received the American Immigration Lawyers Association Pro Bono Award. Mr. von Sternberg is a former chair of the American Bar Association’s Immigration and Naturalization Committee and of the New York City Bar Association’s Immigration and Nationality Law Committee. Mr. von Sternberg has served as an active participant in significant international conferences regarding asylum such as the Refugee Rights and Realities Conference in Nottingham, England and, more recently (September 2012), the UNHCR's Expert Roundtable on "International Protection for Persons Fleeing Armed Conflict and Other Situations of Violence" in Cape Town, South Africa.

Marko C. Maglich is a Principal in the White Plains, New York, office of Jackson Lewis P.C. Mr. Maglich practices immigration law exclusively, and is a member of the firm’s Immigration practice group. The practice deals with all aspects of business-related visas, compliance by employers and individuals with U.S. immigration law (including in M&A transactions and workplace enforcement), and proceedings before the Departments of State, Homeland Security, and Labor.  His practice includes family-based immigration, and removal and admissibility issues on criminal and other grounds.  Having formerly practiced in the area of trusts and estates, Mr. Maglich regularly handles the immigration aspect of tax and immigration planning for high net worth families and individuals.  Mr. Maglich also leverages a network of practitioners around the world to co-ordinate "outbound" (non-U.S.) Immigration for Jackson Lewis and its clients.

Mr. Maglich has been a speaker, author, and teacher on immigration topics for organizations and schools including Human Rights First, the Practising Law Institute (PLI), the American Immigration Lawyers Association (AILA), and the New York State Society of CPAs.  Mr. Maglich earned his J.D. at Fordham University School of Law in 1999, his A.B. from Sarah Lawrence College, and a Diploma from the London Academy of Music and Dramatic Art (LAMDA).  He is admitted to practice in New York State and Federally in the Southern District of New York.