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Professionals

PARTNERS
J. Anthony Smith
Alan Tafapolsky

ASSOCIATES
Jody Blaski Swartz
Kelly Clifford
Tu Cam Castillo            
Claire Hamano
Steve Kim
John C. Lemacks, II

SENIOR COUNSEL
Ron Wada


 

Specialists in Complex Immigration Issues

  • Our attorneys average over 11 years of experience and paralegals average over 8 years of experience.
  • Our attorneys are highly regarded among their peers, sharing their leading edge knowledge of current immigration law issues by regularly publishing articles in leading national law journals, serving on and chairing national committees, and serving as faculty for national conferences on immigration law.


 

 



Education
- University of Wisconsin Law School (J.D., 1988)
- University of Michigan (B.A., 1984)

Bar Admissions
- California

J. Anthony Smith
Managing Partner
Los Angeles
smith@tandslaw.com
Mr. Smith is a co-founder of Tafapolsky & Smith and the Managing Partner of the firm’s Los Angeles office.

Mr. Smith‘s practice focuses on the representation of multinational and start-up companies in employment-based nonimmigrant and immigrant matters before the USCIS, Department of Labor and Department of State.  Most of his time is spent providing strategic counseling to multinational employers regarding employment-based immigration process, policy and compliance issues, including mergers and acquisitions, reductions in force, corporate restructuring, outsourcing and other corporate changes.  Mr. Smith also counsels immigration clients regarding employer sanction and government audit matters, drawing on his broad in complex commercial litigation and appellate experience before federal and state courts.

Mr. Smith draws on more than 20 years experience representing multinational businesses, financial institutions and technology companies.  Prior to forming Tafapolsky & Smith, Mr. Smith was an attorney at Mansueto & Sakai LLP in Los Angeles, where he represented clients in business immigration and commercial litigation matters. Before relocating to California, Mr. Smith practiced with the main office of Chicago-based Keck, Mahin & Cate from 1988 to 1992.

Mr. Smith received his Juris Doctor cum laude from the University of Wisconsin Law School in 1988. He received his Bachelor's degree with distinction from the University of Michigan in 1984. During his third year at the University of Wisconsin Law School, Mr. Smith was selected by faculty to teach legal writing to first-year law students.

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Education
- Georgetown Law Center, (LL.M., 1999)
- University of Wisconsin Law School (J.D., 1993)
- Fletcher School of Law & Diplomacy (M.A., 1989)
- Connecticut College (B.A., 1983)

Bar Admissions
- California
- District of Columbia
- Massachusetts
- Pennsylvania
- Wisconsin

Alan Tafapolsky
Managing Partner
San Francisco
tafapolsky@tandslaw.com

Mr. Tafapolsky is the Managing Partner of Tafapolsky & Smith's San Francisco office. He co-founded the Firm after more than seven years of specializing in business immigration law. Prior to establishing Tafapolsky & Smith, Mr. Tafapolsky was a member of the law firm of Cooley Godward LLP in San Francisco for a period of five years, where he represented emerging growth companies and multinational corporations. Before relocating to California, Mr. Tafapolsky practiced immigration law at the firm of Carliner & Remes LLP in Washington, D.C.

Mr. Tafapolsky is a graduate of Connecticut College, with a Bachelor of Arts in Anthropology. He received his Juris Doctor from the University of Wisconsin Law School. Mr. Tafapolsky was awarded a Master's degree in Law and Diplomacy from Tufts University, Fletcher School of Law, and a Master's degree in Employment and Labor Law from Georgetown University. He also earned a Certification in Dispute Resolution from the Harvard University Program on Negotiation.

Mr. Tafapolsky is admitted to practice in California, Wisconsin, Pennsylvania, Massachusetts and the District of Columbia. He is a noted author and editor in the field of business immigration law and is a frequent contributor to Immigration Briefings.

Mr. Tafapolsky spends a majority of his practice counseling clients on the immigration consequences of mergers and acquisitions, and he guides due diligence for proposed deals. He also manages immigration processes for extensive restructuring of companies and provides strategic counseling to multinational corporations and start-up businesses.

As part of his commitment to community service, Mr. Tafapolsky provides pro bono legal services to low income clients and public service organizations.

Mr. Tafapolsky lives in the San Francisco Bay Area with his family and is a long-time fan of the Boston Red Sox and the Oakland A's.

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Education

-U.C. Berkeley School of Law, Boalt Hall (JD)

-University of Denver (BA)     

Bar Admissions

-California 

 

       

Jody Blaski Swartz
Associate
San Francisco
 

Jody represents small, medium, and large multinational companies in employment-based nonimmigrant and immigrant matters before the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Service (USCIS), Department of Labor (DOL) and Department of State (DOS).  She also provides pro bono legal services to low income clients.  Prior to joining Tafapolsky & Smith, Jody worked as an intern for EOIR Immigration Court, San Francisco, California and as a Law Clerk for another prominent immigration law firm in San Francisco. 

 

Jody is a graduate of UC Berkeley School of Law, Boalt Hall, and is licensed to practice law in the State of California.  She is a member of the American Immigration Lawyers Association (AILA), and is co-author of a series of articles for the national journal Bender’s Immigration Bulletin summarizing the latest developments in labor certification appeals and related employment-based immigrant matters. 

 

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Education

-Albany Law School of Union University (JD)

 

Bar Admissions

-New York 

       

Kelly J. Clifford
Associate
San Francisco
 

Kelly represents medium and large multinational companies in employment-based nonimmigrant and immigrant matters before the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services(USCIS), Department of Labor (DOL) and Department of State (DOS).  Prior to joining Tafapolsky& Smith, she worked as an Attorney for Fragomen, Del Rey Bernsen & Loewy, Cooley Godward LLP, and the Law offices of Richard Goldstein.

Kelly graduated from Albany Law School of Union University in 1989.  She received her Bachelor of Science degree in 1984. Kelly is licensed to practice law in the State of New York and is a member of the American Immigration Lawyers Association. 

 

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Education

-Santa Clara University School of Law (JD)

-Santa Clara University (BA, English)     

Bar Admissions

-California 

       

Tu Cam Castillo
Senior Associate
San Francisco
 

Tu has dedicated herself to the field of immigration and nationality law for almost 15 years.  She has represented businesses of all sizes: small, medium and large multinational companies, in a variety of fields including technology, fashion, art, entertainment, finance, and scientific research.   Her background includes both employment-based and family-related matters and she is proud to have successfully assisted in obtaining one of the first same-sex spouse visas following the invalidation of Section 3 of the Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA) in 2013.  Prior to joining Tafapolsky & Smith, Tu established her immigration background at the world’s largest immigration law firms including  Fragomen, Del Rey Bernsen & Loewy and the Pearl Law Group, both as a Paralegal during law school, and as a licensed attorney.

 

Tu is a graduate of Santa Clara University, where she received both her Bachelor of Arts in English (1998) and her Juris Doctor (2003).  Tu is licensed to practice law in the State of California and is a member of the American Immigration Lawyers Association (AILA).  She is also the daughter of refugees and the first natural-born U.S. Citizen in her family.

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Education
- California Western School of Law (J.D., 1998)
- University of California, Davis (B.A.)

Bar Admissions
- California

Claire Hamano
Senior Associate
Los Angeles
hamano@tandslaw.com

Ms. Claire Hamano currently represents multinational and start-up companies in employment-based nonimmigrant and immigrant matters before the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS), Department of Labor and Department of State. Her legal career has primarily focused on the practice of U.S. Immigration and Nationality Law, with a background in both employment-based and family-related matters. Prior to joining Tafapolsky & Smith, Ms. Hamano was the senior associate attorney at Gotcher Law Group, a business-focused immigration firm located in Sherman Oaks, California. Prior to that, Ms. Hamano was engaged in conducting comparative legal research and writing at the Kyoto Comparative Law Center (KCLC), a renowned academic legal research institute and think tank located in Kyoto, Japan where she simultaneously served on the editorial committee for the Matthew Bender publication, "Doing Business in Japan."

Ms. Hamano is a graduate of California Western School of Law (CWSL) where she received her Juris Doctorate cum laude in 1998. While attending law school, Ms. Hamano was a staff editor/writer for the CWSL Law Review/International Law Journal and received several academic awards and distinctions, including the American Jurisprudence Award in Immigration Law. Ms. Hamano also holds a Bachelor of Arts degree in Political Science from the University of California, Davis. While at U.C. Davis, Ms. Hamano was a member of the Prytaneans Women's Honor Society and Golden Key National Honor Society.

Ms. Hamano is a member of the American Immigration Lawyers Association (AILA), is licensed to practice law in the State of California, and is also admitted to practice before the U.S. District Court, Central District of California. She is also fluent in spoken Japanese.

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Education

-Loyala Law School (JD)

-UCLA (BS)      

Bar Admissions

-California 

       

Steve H. Kim
Associate
Los Angeles
 

Steve represents medium and large multinational companies in employment-based nonimmigrant and immigrant matters before the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS), Department of Labor (DOL) and Department of State (DOS).  His practice of U.S. Immigration and Nationally Law includes background in both employment-based and family-related matters.  Prior to joining Tafapolsky & Smith, Steve worked as an Extern at EOIR Immigration Court, Los Angeles, California and as a Law Clerk and Attorney for Greenberg Traurig, LLP in Los Angeles.

Steve graduated from Loyola Law School where he received his Juris Doctor in 2011.  Steve is also graduate of UCLA where he received his Bachelor of Science degree in 2003.  Steve is licensed to practice law in the State of California and a member of the American Immigration Lawyers Association (AILA).  Steve is also fluent in Korean.   

 

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Education

-Southwestern Univ. School of Law (JD)

-California State Univ., Chico (BA, Political Science)     

Bar Admissions

-California (Specialist in Immigration and Nationality Law)

-US Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit

-US District Court for the Central District of California

       

John C. Lemacks, II
Senior Associate
Los Angeles

 

Mr. Lemacks represents medium and large multinational companies in a variety of industries. He provides strategic counsel on all matters involving U.S. Immigration and Nationality law, as well as policy and compliance. Prior to joining Tafapolsky & Smith, Mr. Lemacks was an Attorney with Fragomen, Del Rey, Bernsen & Loewy where he represented numerous mid-sized and large multinational companies in industries such as Biotechnology, Engineering, Oil and Gas, Pharmaceutical and IT. He developed employer-specific immigration programs and guided clients through the immigration aspects of mergers and acquisitions as well as I-9 compliance. Mr. Lemacks successfully designated several Regional Centers under the EB-5 pilot program and represented numerous individual investors in the EB-5 process. Over the last 10 years, Mr. Lemacks has represented individuals before the AAO, EOIR, BIA, BALCA, and the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit. Mr. Lemacks has extensive experience working with all major employment-based nonimmigrant and immigrant visa categories as well as with family-based, U.S. citizenship matters and removal and deportation hearings.

Mr. Lemacks earned his JD from Southwestern University School of Law where he received the CALI Award in Immigration Law in 2000. He also holds a Bachelor of Arts degree in Political Science from California State University at Chico. He is a member of the State Bar of California, certified as a Specialist in Immigration and Nationality Law, and admitted to practice before the U.S. District Court, Central California as well as the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit. Mr. Lemacks is the past Chair of the Orange County Bar Association, Immigration Law Section, and a Member of the American Immigration Lawyers Association. He is fluent in Spanish.

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Education:
- J.D., University of Colorado
- Ph.D., Environmental Science & Engineering, UCLA
- B.S., Physics, California State University, Los Angeles

Bar Admissions:
- U.S. Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals
- U.S. District Court, District of Colorado
- Colorado Supreme Court

Ronald Y. Wada
Senior Counsel
San Francisco
wada@tandslaw.com

Ron Wada specializes in preparing immigrant visa petitions for first preference extraordinary ability, outstanding researcher/professor, and multinational manager and executive categories as well as the second preference national interest waiver category, and the nonimmigrant O-1 visa category for individuals with extraordinary ability. He also has primary responsibility for overseeing appeals and troubleshooting difficult cases.

Prior to joining Tafapolsky & Smith, Mr. Wada was Senior Counsel in the San Francisco office of Berry, Appleman & Leiden LLP. His diverse immigration law background includes nonimmigrant visas, immigrant employment-based first and second preference petitions, labor certifications, consular visa processing, naturalization and denaturalization, asylum, and removal defense. He has extensive appellate brief writing experience, has published a best-selling book on degree equivalency for employment-based green card applications, and has authored a variety of articles on topics in his areas of expertise in the legal journal, Bender’s Immigration Bulletin. He has appeared in oral argument before the federal Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals and has been a participant in the Board of Immigration Appeals Pro Bono Project.

Mr. Wada is a member of the American Immigration Lawyers Association (AILA), and has served on numerous AILA national committees to help resolve immigration law issues having nationwide impact. He received AILA's 2011 Edith Lowenstein Award for advancing the practice of immigration law, an AILA Presidential Commendation in 2006, as well as AILA’s Edward L. Dubroff Memorial Award for Excellence in Research and Writing in the Field of Immigration Law. He has received the top A/V Preeminent rating for attorneys issued by Martindale-Hubble, and has been selected for inclusion in the Best Lawyers in America. He is co-editor of the leading national immigration law treatise Immigration Law and Procedure, and has been a member of the editorial board for the national law journal Bender’s Immigration Bulletin since 2000.

Mr. Wada holds a J.D. degree from the University of Colorado, a Ph.D. in Environmental Science & Engineering from UCLA, and a Bachelor’s degree in Physics from California State University, Los Angeles. He is admitted to practice law before the U.S. Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals, the U.S. District Court, District of Colorado, and the Colorado Supreme Court.

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