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Kirsten Schlenger

Kirsten Schlenger

Managing Partner
(415) 395-9331 ext. 302
kschlenger@wsmimmigration.com

From Kirsten's interview for the Masters of Immigration Law series on ReelLawyers.com


Ms. Schlenger found her calling in immigration after several years on Wall Street and a brief stint in San Francisco as a tax lawyer.  She mistakenly thought her interest in languages (French, Mandarin, Ancient Greek, Latin) and things international (food, travel, music, literature) would be satisfied through an international tax practice.  Instead, she learned from a pro bono asylum assignment that helping foreign nationals secure immigration status and pursue their dreams in the U.S. was her true passion.  She employs a quick sense of humor to combat the Kafkaesque absurdity of the immigration bureaucracy.

Ms. Schlenger is the founder and managing partner of Weaver Schlenger LLP. In 2013, Ms. Schlenger received the INBLF’s Alberto Lasheras Shine Memorial Award for strengthening and advancing the goals of the network by founding and leading both the Immigration Practice Group and Women’s International Network of the INBLF. She is the first North American, as well as the first woman, to win this award. In 2005, Ms. Schlenger was named one of the “Top 50 Female Super Lawyers” in Northern California. Listed in Northern California Super Lawyers from 2004-2015 and 2017, Ms. Schlenger has earned the highest  “AV” rating from the prestigious attorney rating organization, Martindale-Hubbell. Ms. Schlenger is recognized as a Thought Leader in the 2020 Corporate Immigration edition of Who's Who Legal (WWL) and has been listed for several years in the International Corporate Immigration edition of WWL. Chambers & Partners USA has consistently recognized her and her firm, noting Ms. Schlenger is a "dynamic, tough and brilliant lawyer with a great depth of knowledge." Chambers USA 2017 described Kirsten Schlenger as "among the most respected in the field." 

Education: Yale, B.A., East Asian Studies 1981. Columbia Law School, J.D., Stone Scholar, 1985.

Professional Memberships:  NY and CA Bar Member; Chair, Immigration Practice Group of International Network of Boutique Law Firms (INBLF), 2011 – present; Previous Chair, Board of Trustees of the American Immigration Council, 2010-2012, Trustee from 2000-2010; Previous Chair, American Immigration Lawyers Association (AILA), AILA Business Litigation Committee, 2008 – 2010; Chapter Chair, AILA Northern California Chapter, 1997.

Recent Speaking Engagements:

  • 2020: "Immigration Consequences of Working at Home, Layoffs, Reductions in Pay and Reductions in Hours," April WSM Webinar.
  • 2018: Panelist, “DOL & USCIS Degree Requirements: Issues and Case Studies” at 2018 AILA Annual Conference, June.
  • 2017: Panelist, "USCIS Business Immigration Engagement in San Francisco," July; "Immigration Issues re Entrepreneurs, Investors and Start Ups" at Princeton University, April.
  • 2016: "New F-1 STEM OPT Rules," WSM Webinar, April.

Publications: “Retaining Talent is a Global Issue,” The Recorder, May 17, 2012.

Advocacy: Led amicus brief in the Board of Alien Labor Certification Appeals (BALCA) case of In the Matter of Syracuse University, ETA Case #A-10035-84990 (2010), which involved due process issues in the Labor Certification process.

Volunteer:  In January of 2018, Ms. Schlenger spent a week at the Women and Children’s Detention Center in Dilley, Texas working with asylum applicants to prepare for their asylum interviews.

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