Lawyer Monthly - Women In Law Awards 2024

Jennifer L. Family Law Litigation Lawyer of the Year Canada Donovan 12

Leslie A. Corporate Immigration Lawyer of the Year USA Holman 18

Women Law AWARDS 2 0 2 4 Celebrating Trailblazing Women in Law Welcome to the Lawyer Monthly Women in Law Awards 2024 edition. In this special edition we are excited to spotlight Jennifer L. Donovan, Founder and Partner of J. Donovan Law Group, on our front cover. Named Family Law Litigation Lawyer of the Year – Canada, Jennifer shares her vision for creating an inclusive and supportive legal environment, particularly for women and mothers in the legal profession. We also feature Jasmine Gevorkyan, Esq., Founding President of Gevorkyan Law Firm, A.P.L.C., and Personal Injury Lawyer of the Year - USA. Jasmine’s story highlights her exceptional leadership, dedication, and the inspiring journey she has undertaken in a traditionally maledominated field. Leslie A. Holman, Founder of Holman Immigration Law and Corporate Immigration Lawyer of the Year – USA, provides valuable insights into her path in immigration law, reflecting on the challenges and rewards of promoting diversity and uniting people through her work. Summer H. Murshid, Shareholder at Hawks Quindel and Labor and Employment Lawyer of the Year – USA, discusses her journey from a young attorney to becoming a shareholder. Her dedication to advocating for workers’ rights and the mentorship she received from incredible female leaders offer a powerful narrative of resilience and success. Ellie Shefi, Founder of MTC Consulting and Discrimination and Human Rights Lawyer of the Year – USA, shares her recent efforts in increasing social equity and empowering women. Her expanded platforms for mentoring and advocacy reflect her deep commitment to human rights and women’s voices. These notable entries, along with many others, showcase the remarkable achievements and contributions of women who are redefining the legal profession. We celebrate all the exceptional women featured in this edition, whose work continues to inspire and shape the future of law. Enjoy the read! Best regards, Editor, Lawyer Monthly

Featured Winners Jasmine Gevorkyan Esq. Gevorkyan Law Firm, A.P.L.C. Joanne Claypole IPOS Mediation Jennifer L. Donovan J. Donovan Law Group Carmen Kiavila Kiavila Avocats Leslie A. Holman Holman Immigration Law Georgina Montgomery Rutter Mills Summer H. Murshid Hawks Quindel Ellie Shefi MTC Consulting 8 12 18 28 24 32 36 38


Founding President Gevorkyan Law Firm, A.P.L.C. Valley Executive Tower, 15260 Ventura Blvd., Suite 1110, Sherman Oaks, California 91403 Tel: (818) 905-0200 | Fax: (818) 817-9701 Personal Injury Lawyer of the Year 9 Lawyer Monthly Women in Law Awards 2024 Jasmine Gevorkyan Esq. Empowering Women in Law: A Journey with Jasmine Gevorkyan, Esq. In the traditionally male-dominated field of law, women leaders like Jasmine Gevorkyan are pioneers of excellence, compassion, and advocacy. As the Founding President of Gevorkyan Law Firm, A.P.L.C., Jasmine embodies exceptional leadership, combining loyalty, dedication, and a profound commitment to her firm’s success. This dialogue delves into Jasmine’s exceptional qualities and leadership principles that have shaped her law firm and inspired others. Jasmine Gevorkyan’s leadership has revolutionized the dynamics of her all-female law firm, fostering an environment that promotes inclusivity, confidence, and unparalleled excellence. Through her mentorship, she has empowered her team and countless women in the legal field to excel, challenging stereotypes and breaking barriers within the legal profession. Jasmine’s journey into leadership was ignited by personal tragedy. At the age of 13, her mother’s passing due to medical malpractice fueled her determination to advocate for justice. This experience propelled her to pursue a career in law, where she has since helped thousands of injured individuals obtain the justice they deserve. Despite facing discouragement as a new immigrant from Armenia and uncertainty about her potential as a female lawyer, Jasmine persevered. Overcoming these challenges, she was USA “I am dedicated and will continue to dedicate myself to the advancement of women’s leadership in the legal profession, advocating for gender equality, and promoting opportunities for female attorneys and women in the legal field to thrive.”

10 Lawyer Monthly Women in Law Awards 2024 admitted to law school at 19 and achieved the milestones of becoming both a lawyer and a mother by the age of 23. At the beginning of her career, she worked as an insurance defense attorney, representing major transportation companies and insurance carriers. She has litigated and tried numerous catastrophic injury and wrongful death cases to verdict. Her experience on the other side of the courtroom gave her valuable insight into the most effective way to build strong cases and fight insurance companies. After gaining significant trial experience as a defense attorney, Jasmine confidently launched her law practice in 2011, with a focus on advocating for the rights of injured individuals, including those facing economic disadvantages. Having witnessed firsthand the impact of different leadership styles, Jasmine was committed to fostering an environment where her team felt empowered, valued, and motivated. Through hard work, dedication, and exemplary leadership, Jasmine’s solo law practice grew into a more prominent, multi-member firm, ultimately gaining esteem and recognition within the community. A hallmark of Jasmine’s leadership lies in her ability to empathize with her team members and understand their individual needs and aspirations. She addresses challenges by providing guidance and support to her team while ensuring accountability. Reflecting on her experiences working for other attorneys, Jasmine continually refines her leadership style to benefit her team and law firm as a whole. In essence, Jasmine Gevorkyan’s leadership style exemplifies resilience, adaptability, and unwavering dedication to her team’s success. Jasmine has been continuously recognized as a Top Female Attorney by Top Women Attorneys in Southern California, a Top 40 Under 40 Attorney by the National Trial Lawyers, Excellence in Civil Litigation by The Lawyers of Distinction, Lead Counsel Rated in the Legal Discipline of Personal Injury Law, Women’s Council & Awards Nominee published in the Los Angeles Business Journal, Litigator of the Year by the American Institute of Trial Lawyers, America’s Top 100 Personal Injury Attorneys, America’s Most Honored Professionals by the American Registry, the Finest Lawyers in the World by Primerus, Top 100 Civil Plaintiff’s Lawyer by the National Trial Lawyers, Nationally Ranked Top 10 under 40 for Excellence in Personal Injury by NAOPIA, and from Personal Injury Lawyer of the Year

11 Lawyer Monthly Women in Law Awards 2024 2015 to 2022 a Los Angeles Super Lawyer Rising Star by Super Lawyers. Jasmine is admitted to practice in all State Courts of California and in the United States District Court, Central District of California. She has been certified by Pepperdine University’s Straus Institute in Negotiation and Dispute Resolution, along with being certified by Westlaw. Jasmine is committed to advancing women’s leadership in law, advocating for gender equality, and promoting opportunities for female attorneys and women in the legal field to thrive. Her goals include mentorship, diversity initiatives, and creating pathways for women to excel in all areas of the legal profession. Through her mentorship, she has empowered her team and countless women in the legal field to excel, challenging stereotypes and breaking barriers within the legal profession. For nearly two decades, Jasmine’s exceptional leadership and trial advocacy skills have led to multi-million-dollar recoveries for her clients, laying the foundation for a thriving legal empire. Her journey as a female leader in law showcases resilience, determination, and unwavering commitment, serving as an inspiration for others to pursue their dreams. Jasmine’s dedication to empowering women and driving positive change within the legal profession symbolizes female empowerment and serves as a beacon of inspiration for generations to come. “Through hard work, dedication, and exemplary leadership, Jasmine’s solo law practice grew into a more prominent, multi-member firm, ultimately gaining esteem and recognition within the community.” USA

Founder and Partner J. Donovan Law Group 23 Avonlea Court, Professional Building, Fredericton, NB E3C 1N8 Office: (506) 406-8080 | Fax: (506) 406-6300 | Email: Family Law Litigation Lawyer of the Year 13 Lawyer Monthly Women in Law Awards 2024 Jennifer L. Donovan Jennifer, can you share with us the core mission of the Jennifer L. Donovan Law Group and how it influences your approach to law? The core mission of J. Donovan Law Group is to provide excellent legal services to everyone we can while being relatable and down to earth. From the moment I decided to go out on my own and start J. Donovan Law Group, I wanted my firm to be nontraditional. I wanted the predominant image of my firm to be that of working hard/ playing hard, one of fun, comprised of relatable, hardworking women and mothers, with the girl next door vibes. Our office décor inspires spa vibes, too, which is quite nontraditional. Now, 5.5 years later, we have kept our individuality from traditional law firms and have amassed a large following who, I believe, would quickly agree that we have lived up to the image I sought to create almost 6 years ago. J. Donovan Law Group is different. I believe my colleagues would agree as well. That core mission has influenced my approach to law, mainly in how I interact with my clients and my team and how I market our legal services. It is a huge compliment when a client says that I am so easy to talk to, that I made them feel quickly at ease, that I am a great listener, and that, like other mothers, I too have to balance the high demands of being a parent while working full time. Welcome to a special front cover feature for the Lawyer Monthly Women In Law Awards, where we spotlight Jennifer L. Donovan, founder of J. Donovan Law Group. In this exclusive interview, Jennifer shares her insights on creating a nontraditional law firm that champions inclusivity, accessibility, and a supportive work environment, especially for women and mothers in the legal field. With a unique approach to client relations and a strong emphasis on community and mentoring, Jennifer’s narrative is both inspiring and empowering. Join us as we discuss her innovative strategies, her impactful community initiatives, and her vision for the future of legal practice. Canada

14 Lawyer Monthly Women in Law Awards 2024 lawyer. They often don’t realize that they will likely need to seek the services of many other professionals as well, depending on the nature of their relationship and the needs at the time of a breakup. The more informed and helped people are, the better able they are to make good decisions. My desire to create a safe place for people and their families going through a major life change like separation, to meet and discuss their needs with a variety of professionals from many sectors, is what inspired me to do the first-ever Divorce Expo. The primary objectives of the Divorce Expo are to inform, empower, and educate people and their families who are finding themselves having to navigate the complexities of separation or divorce. It will happen at a convention center and host keynote speakers on topics relevant to families, including co-parenting specialists, advisors breaking down budgets, and how to manage a tight cash flow, or tips for running a home on one income now. The mantra is leave the judgment at the door, hold your head high, cut the stigma and come and be empowered! It is time to evolve. Separation and divorce happen every single day, and that is not going to change. Let’s face it. Let’s help those people and their families come out of it better and stronger. The last time we spoke in 2023, you spoke eloquently about the unique challenges faced by women in the legal profession. Since then, have there been any significant developments or new strategies you’ve employed to further navigate or mitigate these challenges? Being a woman in any profession imposes challenges not experienced by male counterparts. J. Donovan Law Group, being owned and led by a very determined woman with a vision for more that never ends, is acutely aware of the needs of working women. Whether we are dealing with maternity leaves, a staff member needing time off to care for aging parents, or having to stay home suddenly because a child is sick and can’t go to school and there is no other childcare option, my mindset is “do what you got to do.” When needed, I will shoulder extra responsibility for my staff if one of them is needed at home or elsewhere. We are a strong cohesive unit, with each of us always eager and ready to help another. It is about being there for each other and understanding what is needed. I encourage my team to reach as high as possible and will help each of them succeed in any way they desire. Women helping women is our daily goal. Jennifer, you are currently undertaking a significant project with the first Divorce Expo in New Brunswick, a groundbreaking event. What inspired you to initiate it, and what are your primary objectives for this expo? About 1.5 years ago, the idea of a divorce expo came to my mind. I primarily practice family law - separation and divorce - and all matters arising therefrom. For the last 20 years, I have been helping people navigate breakdowns in their relationships. With each and every new client, at the first consultation, I spend time advising them of other professional services outside of legal, including financial advisors, trustees in bankruptcies, therapists, counselors, social workers, real estate agents, bankers, and so on. When people find themselves at the end of a relationship, the first professional they tend to think of needing is a Family Law Litigation Lawyer of the Year “We are a strong cohesive unit, with each of us always eager and ready to help another. It is about being there for each other and understanding what is needed.”

15 Lawyer Monthly Women in Law Awards 2024 How do you envision the Divorce Expo benefiting attendees, and what key resources or experiences will it offer? Firstly, by attending, guests will see that they are not alone. Separation or divorce can isolate people and undoubtedly affect their mental and physical health. Being around other people going through a similar life change or having already gone through a separation will hopefully create positive feelings of togetherness and comfort, or having someone to lean on, discuss with, and share tips for overcoming common issues. We have 25 vendors who have come on board with the same mindset of helping, informing and empowering people and families going through the end of a major relationship. The vendors will have booths where they will showcase their services and invite attendees to ask questions and discuss how they may be of service. Knowledge is power. Connections can be powerful. There will be keynote speakers as well, along with a panel discussion consisting of myself, my team members and professionals from other disciplines, who will address key issues that are common in most separations, with the focus being on how to arm and educate attendees with valuable information, resources and skills. The venue will be set up for an easy flow, with areas where people can relax and take it all in. Attendees can be as engaged as they want to be, from the attendee who wants to visit each vendor and has a long list of questions to the attendee who simply wishes to observe and take home pamphlets, books, and other written materials prepared specifically for the Divorce Expo. If someone leaves stronger than when they arrived, we will have succeeded in our mission. You’ve recently been chosen to star in a TV episode that showcases extraordinary New Brunswickers, which is quite an honor. What message do you hope to convey about the legal profession and your community through this opportunity? When I was first asked to star in the documentary, I thought it was a joke. I was skeptical at first but then quickly became excited to see what the opportunity was all about. Then, when I learned that it was not a joke but a real show that would air on TV and other channels, I was nervous! Me? Why me?! We have already spent a day filming and a camera crew is planning to attend to the Divorce Expo to gather more content and footage. No pressure, right?! By starring in the documentary, I hope to convey the message that lawyers are normal people too. We care, have large hearts, and strive to make our communities stronger. We are parents too and deal with a lot of the same problems that non lawyers do. Most of us had wanted to be lawyers from a young age, and the day we did become a lawyer is a day we will never forget. We care about our clients and when we win, we celebrate those wins, but when we lose, we hurt. I am from a small town, grew up in the country, where my bus ride to school was 45 minutes each way. I am a woman who has followed her dreams since day one and never gave up. I hope the documentary showcases just how relatable I am, how down-to-earth I am, and how much I love what I do. I hope my passion for being a lawyer is seen and felt by those who watch. I hope that by being featured, I inspire others to become lawyers or at least encourage them to follow their own dreams. If I am able to change one person’s negative perception about lawyers, then that will be a win for me. My authentic self is fun-loving, laid back, easygoing most times, with a huge heart and laugh to match. I hope by being my authentic self on the show that people see lawyers another way, as cool and fun, and easy to talk to. Like my law firm, I see myself as a nontraditional lawyer. I hope the audience agrees with me after watching. You continue to be a trailblazer, how do you see your role evolving in the next few years to continue inspiring female attorneys? I have a desire to start business coaching. How to run and manage a very successful law firm 101, or any business for that matter. I never saw myself as an entrepreneur before J. Donovan Law Group was born at the start of 2019. I thought I knew very little about running a business. I flourished very quickly in my new role as owner/operator of JDLG. More and more, I am being asked to speak to large groups about my business style and the keys to my success. Other women are now asking me how they can do it. Non lawyers are asking me for general business advice. I shine when I discuss business and ways to market and how to increase revenue and reach more clients. Not many women own law firms on their own and employ close to 25 people on their own backs. More women should, but it’s nontraditional! Again, I am nontraditional. I hope to become a bigger resource for other female lawyers, both for those on my team and off. Recently, I received an email from another female lawyer who I respect a great deal Canada

16 Lawyer Monthly Women in Law Awards 2024 and who has been practicing family law longer than I have. She was inviting me to speak at a conference. Her words made me tear up; she called me a “rockstar” and conveyed to me just how respected I am in the legal community. It was so touching. I know that people know who I am in New Brunswick, but to know that they are really watching and want to learn from me is very humbling and warms my heart and cheeks. Your firm’s active participation in this year’s International Women’s Day across multiple cities is admirable. Can you share a memorable moment or impact from this year’s celebrations? International Women’s Day is a big day for me and my team. We are women! We love supporting women and we love seeing other women killing it! It is a special day for us to leave work early and celebrate being successful women, mothers, sisters, friends, grandmothers, aunts and so on. It was an honor for us to represent in Fredericton, Moncton and Miramichi this year. Other female groups wanted us to participate in their celebrations. We certainly felt the love from the community at large. I believe our communities see us as positive role models. Many people respect how we conduct ourselves and the love and, kindness and generosity we habitually show to the public. A memorable moment from this year’s celebrations was when one of the organizers of an event we were invited to and attended said that their group had “moved up in the world” by having us agree to attend and speak to their attendees. They made us feel that by accepting their invitation to attend and say a few words to their guests had elevated their event. What a compliment!! How does your firm decide on the themes or messages to share when speaking to groups of women, and what has been the response? There are a lot of demands placed on women to succeed not only at work but also at home, to be all things to everyone. Most women are exhausted, yet they get up every day with the same vigor to do it all again. Why? Because most women measure their success by how helpful they are to those they love, and by how much they “There are so many life lessons to be learned in this field such as the importance of diversity, human rights, politics, and cultural uniqueness.” Family Law Litigation Lawyer of the Year

17 Lawyer Monthly Women in Law Awards 2024 are able to meet the needs of others. When we speak to groups of women, our themes and messages tend to focus on making women feel heard and seen. We see YOU! Our themes and messages are ones that relate to what they may be going through, their fears and worries but also their joys and triumphs. What does it mean to be a woman in 2024. We draw upon our work and the experiences of our clients for subject matters of great interest and applicability, as well as from our own personal experiences. Being relatable is key! Other women want to know how I do it, how we do it. It is storytelling with a personal touch, allowing people into our worlds, both the glamorous side and the not-so-glamorous side. I will often ask my team for ideas and they are always quick to share. Being all of different ages and stages in life, we all have those topics that are important to us individually. Your commitment to community involvement and mentoring professional women is inspiring. Since our last discussion, can you share a standout moment or achievement in your community engagement that has been particularly meaningful to you? J. Donovan Law Group was nominated in late 2023 for a Fredericton business excellence award in the area of “Community Impact”. That nomination meant so much to me and my team. We made it to the final round with two very large organizations and ultimately did not win the award (but were still so proud nonetheless). It felt like a David and Goliath situation when compared to the other two organizations, but being in the running for a community impact award with them was a big achievement in and of itself. Little ol’ me and my team compared to an international company and a company with locations throughout Atlantic Canada was a win for JDLG all on its own. So, after I wiped away my tears, I smiled big, believing that the other two organizations likely believed that JDLG was a fierce competitor in winning that award. That moment at that award ceremony made me realize that not only do I know that we are impacting our communities in a very positive way, but so do our business peers, and that was a huge win regardless of no trophy. I wanted to win the award so badly, not just for me but for my whole team. I prayed for it. And in the process of not “winning” it, I received a much greater gift, the gift of confirmation of belonging high amongst those others who also give and give and give to their communities. Finally, as an influential woman in law, what advice would you offer to young women aspiring to enter the legal profession, especially in specialized areas like yours? I would encourage women aspiring to enter the legal profession to seek out a mentor. A mentor can be an invaluable resource for guidance, support and connections. Success in law requires connecting with your colleagues, team, clients, referral sources and other professionals. Working in isolation will not likely cut it. Get out and network. Attend events. Volunteer in your community. Go to court as an observer. Find a summer student placement at a firm of interest to you. Get to know as many lawyers as you can. Find one that resonates with your vision of how you want to be as a lawyer. Copy their style while you learn your own. Avoid doing what others believe you should. You alone are the only one who knows what will truly make you happy. Working as a lawyer can be so incredibly rewarding. If you find yourself not happy with what you are doing, stop and change it quickly. Don’t settle for anything less than being authentically happy. I am beyond happy with being a lawyer and don’t feel like I work at all. Doing what you love is not work. You can be highly successful and love what you do. At first, you will not have a clue what to do or where your career should go. Go with it at first until you learn more and more. Treat your clients like family and be relatable to them. And most importantly, remember that law is no longer an old boys’ club! Canada “Don’t settle for anything less than being authentically happy. I am beyond happy with being a lawyer and don’t feel like I work at all.”

18 Lawyer Monthly Women in Law Awards 2024

Founder Holman Immigration Law 110 Main Street, Suite 3B, Burlington, VT 05401 Tel: 802-860-3333 | Fax: 802-860-3337 Corporate Immigration Lawyer of the Year 19 Lawyer Monthly Women in Law Awards 2024 Leslie A. Holman As the leader of Holman Immigration Law, could you share what inspired you to specialize in Immigration and Nationality Law? I did not set out to become an immigration lawyer. In fact, when I graduated from law school, I was uncertain about what I wanted to do with my degree. It was the late 1980s and I, like many others, was lured to Wall Street and recruited for, among other things, corporate transactional work. While I found it interesting, it did not “move” me. Ironically, what moved me most was dance. I have danced for more than half my life, and despite my grueling work schedule as a young lawyer, I still found time to attend dance and/or drum classes three times a week. My chosen form of dance is West African and at dance classes dancers and drummers would ask me questions about their immigration status. They saw me as a resource because in addition to being a dancer and lawyer, I also spoke French. The problem was that I didn’t know immigration law. I referred them to those who did, however, they continued to come to me with questions and/or requests to clarify what their lawyer had said. In trying to explain to them what they had been provided I quickly realized that the complexity and rigidity of immigration made it almost impossible for people to navigate the system, even when they had help, let alone if they did not have counsel. I also saw the desperation of many as I learned their stories. I realized that I stayed up late to help not because I had to In this discerning interview, Leslie A. Holman, founder and leader of Holman Immigration Law, shares her journey into Immigration and Nationality Law. She reflects on the path that led her to specialize in this complex field, driven by a passion that emerged organically through her social interactions and her passion for dancing. Leslie candidly discusses the challenges she has faced as a woman in law and how she navigates the emotional aspects of her work while maintaining a high level of professional effectiveness. With a practice spanning both family and corporate immigration, Leslie offers valuable insights into the rewarding impact of her work, particularly in uniting people and promoting diversity. USA

20 Lawyer Monthly Women in Law Awards 2024 for “work” but because I had to, for them. Thus, in 1998 I decided to limit my focus to immigration, and I have never looked back. Reflecting on your journey in the legal profession, what have been some of the most significant challenges you’ve faced as a woman in law, and how have you overcome them? March full speed ahead, don’t take no for answer, there is nothing you can’t do! When I became a lawyer in 1988 I didn’t really think about whether the profession was open to me or whether my gender raised barriers. In hindsight, perhaps there were unseen or latent obstacles, but I truly did not even contemplate their existence. I was lucky, people such as Ruth Bader Ginsberg blazed the trail for me. In answering this question I did remember that as a trial lawyer in the early 90’s I was mistaken for the court reporter at a deposition, referred to as the “secretary” because I had a pencil and pad in hand (I still remember and use those) but I didn’t pay attention or let them get in the way. I just kept going and did what I felt best. I also that think that those who practice in this field are likely more aware of the issues surrounding bias and discrimination. I often say that immigration lawyers are really social workers in disguise. We collectively work to bring families together, save people from harm, and assist employers who desperately need the talent that immigrants provide. Our area of practice is based on the concept of acceptance and equality and those that enter into this field already have that as a framework. Thus, and I posit that if gender bias is a concern or has already posed an obstacle for a new lawyer, immigration may be the most accepting of all legal specialties. Immigration law is constantly evolving. How do you stay ahead of the curve in terms of legal developments and policy changes to best serve your clients? Staying on top of legal developments in immigration is perhaps one of the most difficult things about this area of practice. Legal developments, however, include not only changes to the laws and regulations but rather the processes and procedures that must be followed to comply with law. For example, on January 31, 2024 the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Service (“USCIS”) issued a final rule that on April 1st of this year, changed almost all of its filing fees. The short notice was not so much the problem but rather for many types of filings it was literally impossible to determine what fees were now required. While we were ultimately able to obtain additional necessary guidance from USCIS, for clients whose cases had to be filed prior to the clarifications, we literally had to make what we hoped were educated guesses. While in most areas of law an educated guess is a reasonable thing on which to rely, in this area it is not as immigration is perhaps the most unforgiving.In tax it is possible to file for an extension if you need more time. You “I often say that immigration lawyers are really social workers in disguise.” Corporate Immigration Lawyer of the Year

21 Lawyer Monthly Women in Law Awards 2024 can correct an error with an amendment. Both of these are rarely possible in immigration. In addition, there is little “uniformity” in procedure or adjudication. Officers in all areas have vast discretion and every USCIS office, U.S. Port of Entry, and U.S. Consulate has its own specific requirements. In most instances there is no way to contact a live being for clarification. of applications there is no or no easy opportunity for review or appeal. Thus, not only is it important to stay abreast of all changes it is imperative. I served as the President of The American Immigration Lawyer’s Association’s (“AILA”) from 2014-2015 and I remain an active member for it Board of Directors. I became involved with AILA because I truly believe that to practice in this area membership is the most important “tool” you can have. Among so many other things it provides daily critical updates on immigration laws, Practice Pointers on older and emerging issues, access to mentors, subtopic list serves and, constant roundtables and learning opportunities. To ensure that we are as informed as possible I read updates on immigration law daily. AILA’s Recent Update’s page is my “home page.” I am also a member of AILA’s Business Immigration Law’s Steering Committee. We discuss current trends in immigration, oversee a list serve, and provide round tables during which we provide answers to members on current and trending issues. My work with and for AILA benefits its members and my clients. In addition, we have stringent checklists and procedures that our office follows in every case, and we never rely on doing something a particular way because we did it that way the week before. We check form fees and edition dates the day that we put something in the mail. We routinely check the status of cases to ensure that we don’t miss something time-sensitive. When we see that a change has occurred that might impact a client, we reach out to them to let them know while the waters may be roiling, we are continuing to navigate for them. In your work with individuals, employers, employees, and corporations, what do you consider the most rewarding aspect of your immigration practice? My practice is split between family and corporate immigration. Each brings with it a unique benefit. When it comes to family-based immigration, I have had the benefit of, among other things, seeing families reunited, victims of trafficking saved, and children receiving the benefit of meeting a grandparent in person or receiving desperately needed critical medical care. Because of the depth of information and time required to prepare an immigration case and see it to fruition, you tend to know so many intricate details about someone’s life. You have been an integral part of someone’s journey. My clients tend to send updates and greetings for years and years after the conclusion of their case because they consider us part of their U.S. “family.” There is nothing more rewarding. With regard to corporate immigration, our clients would never go through the difficult processes required to hire if they did not need to talent and dedication that foreign born workers offer. So many, call us and their first sentences involved telling us how important the foreign worker is to them and that they are already “family” or an integral part of their team. As I think about on it, the common denominator is that whether it be family or corporate immigration it is a uniting of people and an educator of the value of diversity. One of the most important lessons these past few difficult years have taught is that we need to embrace, accept, and treasure our differences. We were founded as a melting pot. It made us who we are. Through my clients I experience first-hand people embracing a world where differences are viewed as a positive rather than a negative. USA

22 Lawyer Monthly Women in Law Awards 2024 Could you describe a particularly memorable case or project that highlighted the impact of your work on an individual’s life or a community? A quick and easy answer would be to say that we literally rejoice in each and every approval we receive as again, you know so many details of your client’s lives that it feels personal. However, I was recently able to quickly help someone in critical need. A woman who was visiting the U.S. with her husband for three months when immediately before they were to depart he had a major stroke. The laws are such that there was literally no way for her to remain in the U.S. while has in the hospital. Thus, she would without our assistance have had to return to her home country and seek to then reenter. Unfortunately, there was no way to guarantee that she would be permitted to do so. I was able to work with local U.S. Customs and Border Patrol and they provided a special accommodation and also agreed to provide further assistance if additional time was needed. Not only was this a win for my client but I felt that it was a win for one of my career accomplishments, working not only with clients but with the government. The legal field, particularly specialties like immigration law, can be emotionally taxing and often involves high-states situations. How do you manage the stress and emotional aspects of your work while maintaining a high level of professional effectiveness? Good question and I am not sure I do it as successfully as I would like. As I stated earlier, I have danced for more than half of my life and it was ultimately led to decision to enter this field of law. Physical movement is an outlet for me, and I make sure to include it in my schedule almost every day. I am fortunate in that I live in Vermont and New Hampshire have easy and immediate access to the great outdoors. If I cannot attend a dance class I will make time for a walk along the rivers near my homes. For a bit of time during each day, I look at what’s around me and take in only the beauty and serenity of my surroundings. It recharges and grounds me. It allows me to approach upcoming difficulties with a bit of calm. In addition, every morning I take a few minutes to read “The Daily Stoic” and I try to apply its principles to what I do. It helps, a lot. Given Vermont’s close proximity to Canada, could you share insights into common reasons and processes involved for Canadians seeking immigration assistance through your firm, and how does this impact your approach to their cases? Canadian immigration issues are interesting in that certain of our laws can be unintendedly harsh for those who live nearby. For example, two individuals who live literally 25 miles apart but who are divided by a border may develop a relationship that turns into marriage. They developed their relationship by visiting with each other. Once engaged and/ or married, however, their ability to visit each other may be curtailed while they wait for the process (which is often at least two years) that will allow them finally to join their partner. I am fortunate in that for almost thirty years I’ve been able to liaise successfully with our local ports of entry. My knowledge and access to procedures and trends allow me to prepare and assist clients in managing a seemingly interminable or nonsensical process, especially when the laws are not clear and enforcement can seem arbitrary. As Corporate Immigration Lawyer of the Year

23 Lawyer Monthly Women in Law Awards 2024 a result, the majority of our Canadian clients continue to be able to at least visit their loved ones while their cases pend. Further, Canadians are considered “non-controlled” visitors to the U.S. which means that their entrances and exits to and from the U.S. do not need to be recorded and they, unlike other nationalities, do not need to be provided with a specific departure date. Changes implemented in 2013 however, resulted in the recording of such entrances and the provision of a specific departure date for a Canadian may be entirely unaware. Further, even if no specific date of departure is provided one branch of the Department of Homeland Security takes the position that even if no specific departure date was provided an individual can be barred from reentering the U.S. again for either 3 or 10 years for presumably overstaying a date for which there is no record. We provide thousands of Canadians with the tools they need so that they can successfully, manage continued travel to the U.S. without hitting an invisible wall. What advice would you offer to young women in considering a career I law, especially in specialized fields such as immigration law? When I first started practicing law, there was little talk of “life balance” or “taking care of yourself.” Rather, you started out of the gate running and knew that for many years your life would not be your own. Thankfully, I think that this has changed and might be one upshot of the recent pandemic. No matter what we do for “work” we need also to take care of ourselves and our families and this has to be part of our work equation. That is not to say that there won’t be times when they need to put a client’s work first because of a strict deadline, but even in those times, it is possible to incorporate family. I rarely, if ever, missed having dinner with my children. If I could not get away, they came to the office, and we “picnicked” at the conference room table. While on AILA’s executive committee, I traveled frequently. I taught my kids about where I was going and told them what I was hoping to accomplish. They felt connected to me and the world. They asked questions. When I could, I brought them. There are so many life lessons to be learned in this field such as the importance of diversity, human rights, politics, and cultural uniqueness sharing them with one’s family and children will provide them with tools they need to become caring conscious and kind beings. It will also and most importantly allow them to enjoy their career and look at it as positive and not an interruption. Looking to the future, what are your aspirations for Holman Immigration Law, and how do you envision your practice evolving to meet the changing needs of your clients? If you listen to or read any news it should come as no surprise that our country’s immigration laws are in desperate need of overhaul. Unfortunately, the lives of the most deserving and have been stymied by politics. Immigration is one of the top and most divisive items on political agendas. Our laws, practices and procedures for immigration could change quickly and drastically. We are already gearing up to anticipate potential changes based on prior administrations so that we can be ahead of the game and guide our clients correctly. “There are so many life lessons to be learned in this field such as the importance of diversity, human rights, politics, and cultural uniqueness.” USA

24 Founder MTC Consulting Discrimination and Human Rights Ellie Shefi In this thought-provoking interview, Ellie Shefi, a recognized advocate for women’s empowerment and human rights, shares her recent work and insights since we last spoke in 2022. With a focus on increasing social equity and safety, she discusses the evolution of human rights and how women’s voices have grown stronger, particularly following the global response to Mahsa Amini’s death in Iran. Ellie describes her expanded platforms for empowering women, including the founding of a womenled publishing house and book-writing retreats, which have helped nearly 40 women become best-selling authors in the past year alone. Her passion for advocating and mentoring others shines throughout this conversation, illustrating her dedication to helping others achieve their goals. Email:

Lawyer of the Year 25 Lawyer Monthly Women in Law Awards 2024 revolutionary protest has turned into a longer-term human rights movement that maybe, someday, will result in legal protection. But, to me, the shift is the bravery of women leaning into the power of their voices. It was Amini’s story—a story of literally silencing one woman’s voice—that sparked an entire movement of thousands of women and girls. And really, at the end of the day, laws only budge when enough voices are heard and not drowned out. Recognizing that, giving women a platform to lean into the power of their voices and share their stories has become a dominant part of my work in the last two years. Wow, that’s really powerful. Can you update us a bit more on those and other developments in your career? While I still work with organisations to increase opportunities for women, I’ve tremendously expanded my platforms to directly work with them so that they can stand up, show up, speak up, create impact, and be a force for good. Because I truly believe that the world is waiting for every woman’s story, I launched a publishing house that is run by women, for women. And I developed book-writing retreats, where I personally mentor women to get their stories out of their heads and into their hands. Over the past year alone, I guided nearly 40 women to successfully write best-selling books that drive change. It’s a powerful accomplishment for women to use their voice to facilitate impact and leave a lasting legacy. And it’s amazing to be a part of it! Also, in the last two years, I’ve significantly increased my speaking appearances. In addition to my signature keynote, “Ignite Your Impact: You Were Made to Change the World,” I speak to women on topics including becoming resilient, mastering their mindset, and creating a life they love. Ellie, when we last spoke with you in 2022, you were working not only with governments and NGOs, but also for-profit organisations to shore up social safety and equity as the pandemic starkly exposed discrimination and human rights violations toward the working poor, particularly women, who bore the brunt of the economic hardship. What evolutions, if any, in human rights have you seen since then? It’s too often a traumatic, awful, and, frustratingly, not unusual event that leads to exposure of human rights violations, like the death of Mahsa Amini in Iran. However, what has been unusual since 2022 is the number of women who are speaking out, owning their voices, and stepping into whatever power they may have. We saw this with the women’s uprising in Iran (and globally) that erupted in the wake of Amini’s death. What started as a USA “Giving women a platform to lean into the power of their voices and share their stories has become a dominant part of my work in the last two years.”

26 Lawyer Monthly Women in Law Awards 2024 You present your stories to women to inspire them, empower them, and help them be instruments of change. AND then you personally help them write and publish their stories, shine their light, and live their legacy. You’re really mentoring them for the whole journey. How has this been rewarding for you personally and professionally? When I help women transform on an individual level, their personal transformation also has a tremendous impact on their families, communities, and the world-at-large. I know that our greatest growth can occur when we see each other, hear each other, include each other, respect each other, and support each other. When women embrace their voices and come out of the shadows, they have an unmatched power to lead positive change—socially and legally. So I will continue to use my voice to guide other women to use theirs. It’s no secret that I wear a lot of hats, including attorney, advisor, author, advocate, speaker, strategist, coach, consultant, mentor, media host, publisher, and philanthropist. And while that keeps me quite busy, I genuinely love all of my roles! Each is rewarding for me personally and professionally. I’m very fortunate to be regularly recognized for this work. Beyond being named one of the Most Influential Women Leaders to Watch and a 50 under 50, I’ve recently been nominated in seven categories of the 2024 Women Changing the World Awards; and I’m proud to be a finalist in the Thought Leader of the Year, Woman in Education, Woman in Literature, and Woman in Media categories. I’m also honored to be chosen to be part of the US delegation of the Female Founders Trade Mission to London and Paris in May. It’s an exciting time! You’ve come so far in your journey. Yet, you’ve had to overcome many obstacles. You’ve spoken about the idea that we all carry scars and that we can choose whether and how those scars define us. Could you share your insights on how individuals can turn life-altering challenges into opportunities for personal growth and empowerment? I have overcome so many life-altering challenges (abuse, rape, domestic violence, homelessness, and cancer, to name a few), so I absolutely believe that challenges are doorways to opportunities for growth! I engage in the following daily practices that allow me to soar to the Discrimination and Human Rights Lawyer of the Year “My big vision is to be a catalyst for change—one who lifts others up and emboldens them to fly.”

27 Lawyer Monthly Women in Law Awards 2024 heights of success while navigating even the most trying events and circumstances. I control the words I use, the meanings I assign to things, and the perspectives I maintain. I control my focus, seek the good, find the solution, recognize the opportunity, and identify the blessing and lesson in everything. I reframe whatever challenging situation I may be facing into an empowering narrative, remain the master of my mind, and shift from feeling overwhelmed, helpless, scared, and angry, to seeing possibility and forging a path forward. I live in gratitude; seek, allow, and receive help; and protect my peace. I hold firm boundaries and show myself grace. Looking ahead, what are your future goals or aspirations within the discrimination and human rights realm? How do you plan to continue advocating for women’s advancement? My big vision is to be a catalyst for change—one who lifts others up and emboldens them to fly. I will continue to share my message, advocate for others, and be a lighthouse of possibility. I will continue to create opportunities for women to believe in themselves, stand in their power, show up, speak up, and shine their light. Whether I’m guiding women to get their books written and published or teaching women to find their voice, craft their message, and amplify their impact, I will help them drive change and do the meaningful work that they love. And I will continue to create safe, supportive spaces where women see, hear, celebrate, and support one another so that they can build the confidence to go into the world, share their stories, and be a force for good. It’s my life’s mission! USA

Shareholder Hawks Quindel Tel: (414) 269-1210 | Email: Labor and Employment Lawyer of the Year 29 Lawyer Monthly Women in Law Awards 2024 Summer H. Murshid Summer, as a featured attorney in this special Women in Law publication, could you share your insights and experiences about navigating the legal profession as a woman, particularly in the areas of employment law and advocacy for workers’ rights? As a young female attorney starting out in my career 15 years ago, it took me a little while to find my footing and feel comfortable asserting myself around older, more experienced attorneys in the field. My ability to grow into the role I am in now, including moving into a shareholder role, is largely attributable to incredible female mentors early in my career. They were able to provide guidance, constructive criticism and encouragement, which created a work environment that gave me confidence in assessing cases, negotiating with opposing counsel and building a rapport with my clients. I am forever grateful to them for their support and for their faith in me to do work that I wasn’t sure I was ready to do myself. As part of our special Women in Law publication, we are delighted to feature an interview with Summer H. Murshid of Hawks Quindel law firm. Summer has built a distinguished career in employment law and advocacy for workers’ rights, navigating the legal profession with resilience and dedication. In this interview, she shares her journey from a young attorney finding her footing to becoming a shareholder, thanks to the guidance of incredible female mentors. Summer also discusses her motivations, approaches to complex cases, the importance of nonmonetary victories for her clients, and how she balances her demanding career with her personal life. Join us as we delve into Summer’s insights and experiences that have shaped her impactful career in law. USA

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