Jun. 21, 2018

Whiteman Osterman & Hanna Expands Region's Largest Immigration Practice

With an unprecedented increase in immigration enforcement activity and changing policies in both family and employment-based immigration under the Trump administration, Whiteman Osterman & Hanna (WOH) has expanded its Immigration practice under the leadership of practice Co-Chairs, Leonard D’Arrigo and Seth Leech, with the acquisition of two local immigration law firms in an effort to expand the practice’s service offerings. This phase of WOH’s immigration group expansion follows the recent addition of an entirely new deportation/removal defense practice.

The Firm recently welcomed Brian Wang and Barbara Brenner to the Immigration practice group as Of Counsel. Mr. Wang was the founder and managing attorney of the Law Office of Brian Wang, PLLC. His career as an attorney has been focused exclusively on immigration law. Prior to opening his firm, Mr. Wang was an attorney at the Nationalities Service Center (Philadelphia, PA), where he was the recipient of the Independence Foundation Fellowship, and the Legal Aid Society of Northeastern New York (Albany, NY) where he represented immigrant clients in 16 counties throughout New York State. Mr. Wang is active as a speaker for Continuing Legal Education and other training events, and he has provided education on immigration topics to a diverse array of attorneys, advocates, and community groups. He is dedicated to providing experienced, professional immigration legal representation to businesses and individuals. Mr. Wang most recently served as Vice Chair of the Upstate New York Chapter of the American Immigration Lawyers Association (AILA) and currently serves on the AILA Albany USCIS Liaison Committee.

Ms. Brenner previously was a partner with Copland and Brenner. She has represented clients located across the United States and around the world in a broad range of immigration matters, including family-based immigrant visa petitions and applications; fiance?/e visa matters; removal of conditions on lawful permanent resident status; immigrant and nonimmigrant employment-based petitions and applications; immigrant and nonimmigrant visa applications at U.S. consular posts overseas; naturalization and citizenship matters; waivers of inadmissibility and removability; motions to reopen and reconsider; appeals; employer sanctions and employment verification matters regarding Form I-9; cases involving immigration consequences of criminal activity; matters falling under the Violence Against Women Act (VAWA); and asylum claims.

In November of 2017, Whiteman Osterman & Hanna welcomed Cianna Freeman-Tolbert to the Immigration practice. Ms. Freeman-Tolbert focuses her practice on all aspects of immigration law, including family-based, employment-based nonimmigrant and immigrant visa processing, and immigration litigation. She specializes in removal/deportation defense and immigration litigation, and represents clients who have immigration enforcement-related issues, criminal issues, and previous immigration violations, before the Executive Office for Immigration Review and Board of Immigration Appeals. She also handles waivers of inadmissibility, family-based immigration petitions, and other complex individual cases, such as affirmative asylum, VAWA, and U-Visa applications.

Whiteman Osterman & Hanna’s Immigration practice now includes seven attorneys with an additional 11 professional employees. The group specializes in all aspects of employment-based immigration, managing global talent acquisition programs for a diverse group of U.S. and foreign employers, such as multinational corporations, research institutions, hospitals, universities, and religious institutions. Under the leadership of Partner, Leonard D’Arrigo, the Immigration Group also maintains one of the largest H-2B/H-2A seasonal visa practices in the country, assisting seasonal and agricultural businesses, such as farms, horse stables, landscape companies, leading horse trainers, construction/roofing companies, ski resorts, and hospitality industry clients, to obtain the temporary help they need to get through their peak seasons.

The practice also serves a growing individual client base through its family- based, removal/deportation defense, and asylum service areas. The Firm’s expansion into removal and deportation defense provides a local option for representation of detainees subject to ICE enforcement action. Given a dramatic increase in ICE enforcement activity locally, most recently in Saratoga County, Whiteman Osterman & Hanna recognized the need to adapt its strong business immigration and family-based practice to include removal defense and immigration litigation. The removal and deportation defense services will also supplement Whiteman Osterman & Hanna’s growing Agriculture Practice, which incorporates immigration as a major component. Farms have traditionally been a target for enforcement due to the perception that many farms employ migrant labor, and Whiteman Osterman & Hanna represents many agricultural enterprises that will benefit from this added practice.



Whiteman Osterman & Hanna LLP, the Capital Region’s largest law firm, has developed a reputation for innovative solutions and professional leadership. Through integrated, firm-wide collaboration, it offers clients a broad range of expertise in business, corporate, education, cleantech, energy, utility regulation, environmental, land use, health care, immigration, intellectual property, labor, employment, real estate development, tax and telecommunications law as well as estate planning and administration, government relations and litigation.