Who We Are

 

Our Story

We wanted to work at a business immigration law firm that focused on the quality of the work we could offer our clients. So we started our own. 

When we started TSM nearly two decades ago, we had a few ideas in mind. Build the culture of a specialty law firm. Hire attorneys capable of thinking out of the box. Take on a manageable caseload for clients we admire and whose values we share. Deliver the quality of service our clients expect and foreign nationals require. Stay nimble so we can adapt and mobilize on behalf of changing client needs. Today we’ve grown to a company with offices in San Francisco, Los Angeles, San Diego and London that provides a full range of immigration services, including business immigration, global service, and work site and corporate compliance  expertise.

 
 

Our Culture and Values

At TSM we don’t just file visa applications. We provide strategic thinking. Instead of knee-jerk reaction, we deliver long-term immigration planning designed to grow our client’s business. Instead of an opaque process, we establish clear communications and individual attention so clients know their immigration matters are handled with care. Instead of a company of clock watchers, we built a culture of respect and collegiality, staffed with people who know what’s at stake with every case they take on: the chance to provide opportunity.

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We're Here to Help

Today, the demand for global talent is hugely competitive. We believe the ability to recruit the best, most talented people from around the world drives business growth and innovation on the international stage. On behalf of our clients—from startups to multinationals—we act as creative problem-solvers with the mindset of an entrepreneur. We are here to help their business grow by finding the talent they need.

 

 

A Track Record of Accomplishments

 

Co-Founders

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Alan Tafapolsky

Alan Tafapolsky is a co-founder of Tafapolsky Smith Mehlman LLP and the Managing Partner of the firm’s San Francisco office. Alan Tafapolsky started his immigration law career in Washington D.C. at in immigration boutique where he cut his teeth on a wide array of matters including asylum, family, deportation, and business-related matters.  In 1995, Alan relocated to San Francisco and worked for the next five years as an Associate and Senior Associate lawyer at Cooley LLP where his practice focused on representing foreign nationals in emerging companies.  
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J. Anthony Smith (Tony)

J. Anthony Smith (Tony) is a co-founder of Tafapolsky Smith Mehlman LLP and the Managing Partner of the firm’s Los Angeles office. Drawing on more than 25 years’ experience representing multinational businesses, financial institutions and technology companies, Tony’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. 
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Sharon Mehlman

Sharon Mehlman is a Partner with Tafapolsky Smith Mehlman LLP and the Managing Partner of the firm’s San Diego office. Sharon is an outside-the-box legal theorist, bringing innovation and strategy into her immigration practice based on her vast experience across the many nuances of business immigration law. Sharon enjoys the challenge of practicing in an area of law that is constantly changing.
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Partners

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John C. Lemacks, II

John C. Lemacks, II is a Partner at Tafapolsky Smith Mehlman LLP in the firm’s Los Angeles office. John has more than 16 years of experience representing multinational corporations and individuals in all aspects of U.S. immigration and nationality law. 
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Roland C. Lechner

Roland C. Lechner is a Partner at Tafapolsky Smith Mehlman LLP, managing the firm’s Global Immigration Practice. For the past 13 years, Roland has represented businesses, ranging from start-ups to multinational companies and across a broad array of industries, in global immigration matters. 
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The Team

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Juli A. Gammon

Juli A. Gammon is a Senior Associate in the San Francisco office of TSM. Juli practices immigration law because she believes that the United States is a stronger, better place when including diverse ideas and peoples. She traces her own ancestors to the American Revolution.
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Marc Mehlman

Marc Mehlman is the Client Services Manager at Tafapolsky Smith Mehlman LLP in the San Diego office. Marc spends most of his time as a legal researcher and case writer for O-1 and EB-1 Extraordinary Ability and Outstanding Researcher cases.
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John Vincent P. Ocampo ("JV")

As data manager and senior paralegal, John Vincent P. Ocampo (“JV”) oversees case management and database compliance for the firm to optimize client services and to ensure that the office runs efficiently. He prepares and analyzes case management and other related reports to coordinate case assignments for the paralegal staff and manage workflow. He also coordinates orientations for new hires; provides guidance and support to legal assistants and junior paralegals; and supervises, mentors, and evaluates administrative staff. 
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Ron Wada

Ron Wada is Senior Counsel in Tafapolsky Smith Mehlman’s San Francisco office. Ron has over 20 years of experience 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. 
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Lisa Atkins

Lisa Atkins is an Associate in the San Francisco office of TSM. Ms. Atkins represents clients in both U.S. and global mobility related immigration law matters. She provides strategic advice related to global immigration policies and best practices and facilitates the mobility of executives, managers, specialized knowledge and professional workers across the globe and inbound into the United States.
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Teodora D. Purcell

Teodora D. Purcell is a Senior Associate in the San Diego office of TSM. Teodora has experience in all facets of immigration law and is a Specialist in Immigration and Nationality Law, certified by the State Bar of California. Teodora counsels clients on global mobility and business immigration issues and represents companies in a broad array of industries, as well as foreign entrepreneurs and investors. 
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Sarah Sanger

Sarah Sanger is an Associate in the San Francisco office of TSM. Sarah has over a decade of industry experience representing clients ranging from counseling small startups through their first international hire to implementing some of the largest global mobility programs in the U.S. for Fortune 100 companies. She has consistently practiced in all facets of business immigration, managing the process from an employee’s first entry to permanent residency.
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Mailine Wong

Mailine Wong is an Associate in the San Francisco office of TSM. Mailine has practiced law for over 20 years. She is a native San Franciscan and joined the San Francisco office of TSM in 2010. At age eight, she learned her father had immigrated to the United States as a “Paper Son” and she helped her monolingual mother study English and Civics so that her mother could become a U.S. citizen. 
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Steve H. Kim

Steve H. Kim is an Associate at Tafapolsky Smith Mehlman LLP in the firm’s Los Angeles office. Steve represents multinational businesses and technology companies as well as small startup and mid-sized companies. 
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Lesley Pitson

As data manager and senior paralegal, Lesley Pitson adds a unique blend of technical and legal skills to the team at TSM. She oversees data quality and reporting for clients along with providing stellar service while strategizing, drafting, and preparing a variety of complex immigration cases.
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Claire Hamano

Claire Hamano is a Senior Associate at TSM. She 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. 
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Sandra Garsele

As firm administrator Sandra Garsele is responsible for managing and leading accounting and finance, human resources, marketing and business administration functions of the firm. Sandra and her team support TSM with a focus on internal operations and external client focus. 
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Sandra M. Wagner

Sandra M. Wagner is a Counsel in TSM’s San Diego office. She has over 20 years’ experience in immigration law, including employment-based, family-based, and citizenship matters. She also handles religious worker cases, representing religious organizations and religious schools, and she is a frequent speaker on religious worker issues. 
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Kimberly C. Nguyen

Kimberly C. Nguyen is an Associate Attorney at Tafapolsky Smith Mehlman LLP.  She represents national and multinational corporate clients in the full spectrum of employment-based immigration matters, including nonimmigrant and immigrant visa petitions. Her clients include large Fortune 500 companies and small family-owned businesses.
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Frank Fogelbach

Frank Fogelbach is an Associate in the Los Angeles TSM office. He represents Fortune 100 companies, large multinational corporations, and individual clients before the USCIS, the Department of Labor, BALCA, and the AAO.  
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Joseph J. (“JJ”) Shepherd

Joseph J. (“JJ”) Shepherd is a Senior Associate in the Los Angeles office of TSM.  JJ advises employers, investors, and individuals regarding all aspects of U.S. immigration and nationality law. JJ currently serves as the Vice Chair of the AILA CSC Liaison Committee and as a Member of the AILA SCOPS Liaison Committee.
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Carrie L. Beers

Carrie has extensive experience providing immigration counsel to a wide variety of companies in employment-based temporary and permanent visa classifications. She has represented corporate clients in a variety of industries, ranging from multinational Fortune 500 companies to start-ups, specializing in assisting and advising clients in developing company-specific immigration policies. 
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Tu Castillo 

Tu Castillo, the daughter of refugees from Vietnam, and the first natural born U.S. citizen in her family, has dedicated herself to the field of immigration and nationality law for almost 20 years. She has represented businesses including multinational companies in fields including technology, fashion, art, entertainment, finance, and scientific research. 
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