Helen A. Sklar
Attorney at Law

Stone Grzegorek & Gonzalez LLP
800 Wilshire Boulevard, Suite 900
Los Angeles, CA 90017

Office: (213) 627-8997 ext. 160
Assistant Andy Wolfe: ext. 115
Mobile: (310) 717-7279
Fax: (213) 627-8998

     Certified Specialist in Immigration and Nationality Law

  Board of Legal Specialization of the State Bar of California

                                                                                                                      

 

HELEN A. SKLAR
Stone, Grzegorek & Gonzalez LLP
800 Wilshire Boulevard, Suite 900
Los Angeles, CA  90017
(213) 627-8997 Tel
(213) 627-8998  Fax
helen@sggimmigration.com

Education
Juris Doctorate, Golden Gate University School of Law, San Francisco, California (1985)
Master of Social Work, University of Wisconsin, Madison (1978)
Bachelor of Social Work, University of Wisconsin, Madison (1975)

Bar Membership
State Bar of California, admitted 1992 (active)
Pennsylvania State Bar, admitted 1985 (inactive)
United States Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit
United States District Court for the Central District of California
United States District Court for the Northern District of California
United States District Court for the Eastern District of California

Certification
Certified Specialist in Immigration and Nationality Law
State Bar of California Board of Legal Specialization, March 2000

Professional Memberships
American Immigration Lawyers Association
National Immigration Project
National Lawyers Guild
Los Angeles County Bar Association
Women Lawyers Association of Los Angeles

Organizational Affiliations/Volunteer Work
Los Angeles County Bar Association Immigration Section
 Secretary (2015-2016)
American Immigration Lawyers Association Consumer Protection &
Unauthorized Practice of Law Committee (2010-current)
American Immigration Lawyers Association Southern California
Chapter Unauthorized Practice of Law co-liaison (2010-present) 
Los Angeles County Bar Professional Responsibility and Ethics Committee
 Member (2010-2013)
Board of Legal Specialization of the State Bar of California
 Member (2008-2010)
Immigration and Nationality Law Advisory Commission
State Bar of California
 Member (2004-2007)
American Immigration Lawyers Association
National INS Asylum Liaison (2000)
Iraqi Refugee Assistance Project (2010-2012)
AILA Southern California/Los Angeles Asylum Office
 Liaison (1999)
Los Angeles Gay & Lesbian Center, Low-Fee Legal Clinic
 Legal Counselor (1998-2000)
Coalition for Immigrant and Refugee Rights and Services,
Chair (1987-1988)

Professional Experience

Attorney, Stone & Grzegorek LLP (2009 – present)
Law Offices of Helen A. Sklar, Solo Practitioner (1991-2009)
Law Office of Vera A. Weisz, Los Angeles California (1989-1990)
Staff Attorney, Center for Human Rights and Constitutional Law (formerly The National Center for Immigrant Rights, Inc.) (1988-1989)
Staff Attorney, Immigrant Legal Resource Center, San Francisco and East Palo Alto (1985-1988)
Stanford University Immigration Clinic Instructor, East Palo Alto Community Law Project (1986-1988)

Published Appellate Decisions

Nai Yuan Jiang v. Holder, 611 F.3d 1086, 1097 (9th Cir. 2010)(Petitioner was entitled to refugee protection as any reasonable adjudicator would be compelled to conclude that he established past persecution for “other resistance” to the population control policy).

Mendiola-Sanchez v. Ashcroft, 381 F. 3rd 937 (9th Cir. 2004) (Stop-time rule applies in suspension of deportation cases because it is entitled “Transitional Rules with Regard to Suspension of Deportation” and it specifically refers to OSCs).

Castillo-Perez v. INS, 212 F.3d 518, 525 (9th Cir. 2000)(No need to comply with Lozada requirement of notice on former counsel, or filing a bar complaint, when the record itself demonstrates the legitimacy of the ineffective assistance claim).

Published Administrative Decisions

Matter of Grijalva, 21 I&N 97 (BIA 1995)(on brief) (If personal service is not practicable, such notice must be given by certified mail to the respondent or to his counsel of record, if any, with the requirement that the certified mail receipt be signed by the respondent or a responsible person at the respondent’s address to accomplish personal service).

Partial list of unpublished decisions

Pinhas v. Holder, No. 0871955 (9th Cir. June 19, 2013 (BIA and the IJ erred by failing to "'state [their] reasons and show proper consideration of all factors'" in denying Pinhas relief in the form of asylum as a matter of discretion).

Saidani v. Holder, 329, Fed.Appx. 90 (9th Cir. May 19, 2009) (IJ erred by permitting the adverse credibility determination to “wash over” Saidani's CAT claim; upheld denial of asylum and withholding of removal).
 
Ruiz-Flores v. Gonzales, No. 05-72723 (9th Cir. July 16, 2007) (BIA abused its discretion when it required petitioners to demonstrate their eligibility for cancellation of removal, when they need only demonstrate that the deficient performance by counsel may have affected the outcome of proceedings).

Vu v. Gonzales, 219 Fed. Appx. 651 (9th Cir. January 22, 2007) (Because BIA committed an abuse of discretion in rejecting Vu's first motion to reopen, Court granted the petition for review in one of three motions to reopen filed by Vu, and remand with instructions to grant the motion to reopen).

Administrative Defense: 

Waiver of the Joint Filing Requirement of the Petition to Remove Conditions on Residence
Application for Permission to Reapply for Admission into the United States After Removal
Asylum, Convention Against Torture, Withholding of Removal
Deferred Inspection
Reopening of proceedings:  exceptional, extraordinary and changed circumstances
Reopening of proceedings: ineffective assistance of counsel
Pre-plea advice to criminal defense counsel as to immigration consequences
Seizure of Assets
Non-permanent resident cancellation of removal
Permanent resident cancellation of removal
Defending targets of FDNS investigations
Challenging marriage fraud allegations

Family-Based and Employment-Based Permanent Residence

Consular Processing
Citizenship and naturalization
Visas based on extraordinary ability
Adjustment of status
Religious Worker Visas

Recognition

Co-founder of Dane County Advocates for Battered Women, a 24-hour crisis line, safe house, legal advocacy, support group, information and referral program for women and their children, at the 30 Year Anniversary of the founding the program (now known as Domestic Abuse Intervention Services, Madison, Wisconsin)

Publications

AILA 2010 Immigration and Nationality Law Handbook, How to Win Asylum in the Absence of Physical Harm, co-authored with David L. Cleveland and Mark Von Sternberg, American Immigration Lawyers Association (June 2010)

Legal Specialization Digest, “Learning Objectives for MCLE:  Why Are They Needed?” Issue 1, June, 2010

Los Angeles Daily Journal, “Reforming our immigration courts,” March 18, 2010

Legal Specialization Digest, “Tough Economic Times and Immigration Law: View from a Specialist,” Issue 2, 2009

14th Annual AILA California Chapters Conference Handbook: “An Immigration Odyssey,” American Immigration Lawyers Association, 2001 (contributor)

-Immigration Act of 1990 Handbook, Complete Practice Guide to the 1990 Act, Folinsky, Sklar (West Group, Washington, DC, 1991)

-Preparing Late Amnesty Cases, published by National Center for Immigrants’ Rights, Inc., Los Angeles, 1989

-Legalization: The Advocate's Guide to the New Immigration Law, Hing, Lydon, Sklar, Brady & Silverman (ILRC Publications 1987)

-A Practitioner's Guide to Representing Clients in Deportation Proceedings, Sklar, Hing & Silverman (ILRC Publications 1985)

-Mexican Suspension Cases: Using Conditions in Mexico to Establish Extreme Hardship, Silverman, Hing, Coppock & Sklar (Immigration Clinic Publications 1984)

Consultant/Expert witness
Expert opinion requested in a medical malpractice case on behalf of plaintiff/non-citizen child who suffered a permanent spinal injury during surgery to correct heart abnormality.  Settled – 2011

Expert opinion requested in federal criminal prosecution for alleged marriage fraud.  Mistrial – 2010

Expert witness in divorce proceeding on the issue of marriage fraud.  Testified on behalf of petitioner - 2000

Expert on immigration consequences of federal and California convictions in a variety of cases

MCLE Presentations (partial list)
-AILA Southern California Chapter, Ethics in the Social Media Age
-A -AILA California Chapters Conference, Asylum; Social Group Update
Gender, Gang, Juveniles, Unaccompanied Minors, Disabled; credibility update
Lodging vs. Filing the Application: Policy and Practice in SF, LA, and SD
Juveniles from Mexico & Central America, Asylum Procedures at the Border and POEs
-LACBA Immigration Section, Don’t Cross That Line!  Legal Ethics & Immigration Practice
-Dealing with a Difficult Immigration Judge, 2014
-Ethics-The Unauthorized Practice of Law, LAPA 37th Annual October Conference, 2013
-Avoiding Ethics Violations & Immigrants as Victims of UPL: A Report from Law Enforcement
-AILA Annual Conference, Developing and Preserving Issues in Convention Against Torture Claims, 2013
-AILA Annual Conference How to Demonstrate Harm in Asylum Applications, June-July, 2010
- California Lawyers for the Arts, Visas for Entertainment Industry Workers,” December 10, 2010
-Your Legal Rights, KALW, “An Update on Immigration & Nationality Law Issues,” December 15, 2010
- AILA, The Evidence Needed to Win, Winning Asylum Cases, Strategies for the Practitioner, Los Angeles
-Our Undeclared Wars in Latin America,” at the 17th Latin American Encuentro, Pasadena, California,
-Selected Asylum Issues, National Immigration Project Membership Meeting, Boston, Massachusetts, 2000
-Recent Legislation on Immigrants” at conference entitled 10th Annual Creating Change Conference
  Asylum Based on Sexual Orientation, Identity & HIV
-Avoiding Ethics Violations & Immigrants as Victims of UPL: A Report from Law Enforcement,” Southern California Chapter of the American Immigration Lawyers Association, January 19, 2011
-American Immigration Lawyers Association, on a topic entitled, “How to Demonstrate Harm in Asylum Cases,” Gaylord National Hotel, National Harbor, Maryland, June 30-July 3, 2010
-ILW National Asylum Conference, September 2009
-Speaker, Conference on Immigration Practice before the Ninth Circuit, Los Angeles, California, January 2008
-Speaker, Court Clergy Conference, Immigration Issues in Court Proceedings, Northridge, California, October 2007
-Practicing Law Institute’s 38th Anniversary Immigration and Naturalization Seminar, Asylum Law Update, November 17, 2005
-Annual Conference; American Immigration Lawyers Association, Social Group Persecution Claims: The impossible Dream,” New Orleans, Louisiana, June 18-22, 2003

Pro Bono (partial list)
Friends of St. Lawrence-Watts Youth Center, Legal Assistance Day, November 20, 2010
Friends of St. Lawrence-Watts Youth Center, Presentations on the President’s Executive Actions (DAPA/DACA), Consumer Protection, 2012-2015

Language
Spanish (speaking, reading, writing, and comprehension)

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