As 2021 winds down, Rivas & Associates looks forward to a healthy and rewarding 2022.
Not that 2021 was all that bad for the full-service Tulsa-based immigration law firm. On the contrary, 2021 was quite good for Rivas & Associates attorneys and staff during their first full year in operation – Coronavirus Pandemic aside of course.
The year marked many firsts for Rivas & Associates attorneys, as well as many seconds, thirds and so on for the well-known Tulsa immigration law firm. Below is a look back at some of the notable moments and achievements for 2021.
Lorena Rivas Continues to Establish Herself as a Top Immigration Attorney
For a fourth consecutive year, Lorena Rivas was recognized as one of the nation’s most outstanding immigration attorneys. Super Lawyers® recognized Rivas to its prestigious Super Lawyers® Rising Stars list.
The recognition of Rivas by the leading legal publication further advanced Rivas’ stature in the sphere of immigration law, as only “2.5 percent of lawyers in a given practice area are chosen as Rising Stars.”
“Very honored to be selected,” Lorena Rivas said of the accolade. “There are a lot of great immigration attorneys here in Oklahoma and elsewhere. To be selected by such a highly-respected legal publication like Super Lawyers® is very flattering.”
Equally impressive as her selection to Super Lawyers® was the opportunity Rivas received from Telemundo in May.
The well-known American Spanish-language terrestrial television network which broadcasts to over 100 countries in 35 different languages identified Rivas as the immigration attorney to showcase and spotlight during a weekly immigration law segment which airs every Tuesday on Telemundo Oklahoma’s website Facebook page.
“It’s obviously a fantastic opportunity to not only promote my services and firm, but to help educate viewers on various immigration law-related issues,” Lorena Rivas said. “Telemundo has done so much for the Latin American community throughout the years.”
Rivas & Associates Continues to Go Above and Beyond for Its Clients
Whether it is getting clients work permits, helping them attain a marriage-based visa or better yet getting them citizenship, Rivas & Associates continues to prove it is willing to go the extra mile for current and prospective clients.
Elissa Stiles displayed her passion and commitment to advocating for her clients earlier this year. She was part of a super pro-bono collaborative effort spearheaded by the University of Tulsa Legal Clinic in representing a family of 19 from Afghanistan seeking to evacuate the country after Taliban forces took over the country in September.
Stiles helped represent three of the 19 family members – two parents and a child. Stiles, along with several other Tulsa immigration attorneys helped the family members apply and have their Humanitarian Parole Forms approved.
The fees associated with representing the family of 19 were estimated to be in the neighborhood of $10,000 which Stiles, other attorneys and the TU Legal Clinic were able to raise through pro-bono efforts and donations.
“We owe them (Afghan people), especially after being so loyal to us,” Elissa Stiles said. “Obligated is the wrong word; I feel compelled to take on pro-bono cases when I am able to do.”
Rivas & Associates Attorneys and Personnel Continue to Advance Professionally
Although the effects of the Coronavirus Pandemic have limited some of the opportunities, Rivas & Associates attorneys and personnel still found time to seek out compelling continuing legal education (CLE) experiences.
Rivas was chosen to be one of the featured speakers at the 2021 AILA (American Immigration Lawyers Association) Paralegals Virtual Conference in August.
Rivas not only shed further light on the issue of VAWAs, she also explained the three forms of protection for “noncitizen women – and men – who are the victims of domestic violence or other qualifying crimes” during the virtual conference which other Rivas & Associates paralegals attended.
“It is a very serious issue,” Lorena Rivas said. “Unfortunately, far too many women arrive in the United States as victims of domestic violence, human trafficking and exploitation in the workforce. Although often difficult, it important that these victims know they have some options through federal law protection.”
Another CLE opportunity Rivas sought out was in New Orleans where she and Stiles attended the 2021 Appellate Advocacy Seminar in October.
The event enabled the two standout immigration attorneys the opportunity to hear insight and perspective from some of the sharpest legal minds – lawyers and judges – in the heart of the 5th Circuit Court of Appeals.
“It was a great event and a fantastic learning opportunity for us,” Elissa Stiles said. “I’ve been to plenty of Zoom webinars and conferences this past one-and-a-half years. Zoom is nice, but nothing replaces in-person human interaction, particularly when you are going over strategies for giving oral arguments.”
The 2021 Appellate Advocacy Seminar focused on a number of issues one of which Stiles highlighted was arguing at the Appellate level, or in a court of appeals.
“Arguing at the Appellate level requires a lot of work and can be very intimidating because you’re facing a hot bench – dealing with a judge who is asking a lot of questions,” Elissa Stiles said. “To me, that was a big selling point of this seminar. All the panels were really strong, but I thought the best panel was the Supreme Court panel which really effectively covered some of the recent decisions by the Supreme Court and 5th Circuit that will set the foundation for future arguments.”
Rivas & Associates Continues to Contribute to Tulsa Community
With its offices located in the epicenter of the Tulsa Latina community – Kendall Whittier – Rivas & Associates continually embraces opportunities to connect and serve the Tulsa community.
Nowhere was this more apparent than when the firm, along with The Lawyers of Kendall Whittier, volunteered at “Night Light Tulsa” – a well-known weekly outreach program for the homeless community in Tulsa – on Veteran’s Day.
The weekly event – held every Thursday since 2013 – routinely draws crowds in excess of 300 to not only highlight the alarming homeless issue within the city, but also Tulsans’ passion to help one another in need.
“We had discussed participating in the Night Light Tulsa program for a while as an office,” Rivas & Associates office manager Ami Bowlin said. “Although our attorneys are extremely busy with clients and cases, they have always made it a priority to give back to the Tulsa community whenever possible. This truly is a remarkable program which I hope more Tulsans can experience because the fact of the matter is we received a lot more from volunteering than we were able to give.”
The firm’s participation in the Night Light Tulsa program only reinforced the firm’s standing within the Tulsa community.
The well-known company seeks to locate and verify the best local experts within a particular field or profession.
Rivas & Associates were given A ratings in all of the following categories: availability, qualifications, reputation, experience and professionalism.
“It’s a great honor and one we are thankful for, but it doesn’t surprise me,” Lorena Rivas said. “I work with an unbelievable team. The things we are able to do for our clients is really remarkable at times. It signifies the respect and love we have for another. Now that 2021 is over, we are ready to do even more in 2022.”