“I help immigrants, their families, and employers, navigate the immigration process, so they can focus on the rest of their lives.”
Laura Shepard Attorney
Life is stressful. I am an attorney with over twelve years of experience, but I’m also married and the mother of two young children. My life is not as stressful as others, but it is stressful to me. I spent years with many cases and trying to give my best to all, but I felt the same pressures to get my own personal tasks done, checking things off my to-do list, finding the time to be with my family and make phone-calls, frustrated when I couldn’t reach someone, and balancing my budget. I heard these complaints from my clients too. I wanted to make a difference not only in my clients’ immigration lives but in their day-to-day lives as well. But I was limited in my authority to make change, stuck with the same routine, and unable to come up for air.
I realized that if my life was stressful, the lives of my clients must be very stressful. In this political atmosphere, everyone has an opinion and are not afraid to share it. Our leaders seem to have spent years finding ways to pick at supposed “loopholes” in the system and make the lives of immigrants more difficult. I wanted to do something to make things at least a little better for you—to give you a few less things to worry about.
I come from a modest family in Eastern Kentucky. I am the only attorney in my family. I don’t know why I chose to become an attorney, but I must have recognized a need to help people solve problems and a desire to teach and communicate. My mother spent her career as a pediatric hospital nurse. I must have been born with a desire to take care of people at their most vulnerable. After I graduated law school and moved to Indianapolis where my husband was employed, I was given a job at a immigration boutique law firm as a favor. I did not know anything about immigration. It was not the hot field it is today. My old firm was one of the oldest immigration firms in the area, but back then there were only a few. I joined the firm at the perfect time. The area was becoming more complicated, and they needed someone young to step in and handle a growing volume of cases. I learned so much in those first years. I had successes, I had losses, but the losses taught me invaluable lessons. As we grew, I became more senior and managed more staff and more cases. But as my own personal needs changed, I began to feel growing pains.
I have spent years handling the processing side of immigration—preparing and filing petitions and applications to obtain immigration benefits for individuals and companies. I’m known to say that I am a “lover not a fighter.” I do not represent clients in removal proceedings at this time, but I know how this system works (or doesn’t work as the case may be). Rather, I work closely with the USCIS local offices and service centers, the National Visa Center, and the many US Consulates and Embassies. I can handle a large volume of cases with a wide array of complexities. I know how to deal with a lot of paperwork and move my work quickly. I feel like I’ve “seen it all,” but I’m still learning each day.
I have focused my practice areas on family and marriage petitions, adjustment of status and local USCIS interviews, consular processing particularly in Ciudad Juarez, Mexico and Central America, and probably more than anything else—I-601 waivers of inadmissibility. I have successfully filed over 1000 waiver cases in my career. These are a skill I have carefully honed over many years and that still remind me of when I was a young girl writing passionate letters about my feelings.
I have also worked closely with large and small corporations, employees, and new graduates just starting out with their careers. My old firm used to represent some of the largest and most well-known corporations in the region, so I learned from one of the best. While today’s news focuses on the plights of “undocumented immigrants,” I have seen just as many changes and challenges for employment immigration. From backlog centers to PERM, H-1B caps to cap-exempt, visa retrogression to EB1, employers and employees face many hurdles finding and immigrating the best and brightest.
I find myself to be one of the few immigration practitioners with a heavy concentration in both family and employment immigration.While there are areas of the law that I do not do (I don’t know of anyone who does it all), I have extensive experience in both sides of processing. I know how to handle lots of paperwork, analyze the full range of the law, offer creative solutions, and write persuasive arguments. It’s funny—one day I’m fighting to keep the parent of a disabled little girl in the U.S., the next day I’m immigrating her doctor. I can offer both family and employment based immigration options, obtain permanent residency for an employee, immigrate his or her family, and then help them become U.S. citizens. The cycle continues.
These experiences have taught me that I want to take care of this process for you. You have other things to worry about in your lives. I don’t want you left with questions, confused about what paperwork to collect, unclear on fees, unable to reach anyone when you need answers, and charged for little tasks that just make your lives easier. I hope you will give me the opportunity to help you along your way. Below are the highlights of my education and accomplishments over these years:
- Licensed 10/2005 by the Indiana Supreme Court
(As immigration is federal law, I can practice immigration law for clients who do not live in the State of Indiana)
- Juris Doctor 05/2005 University of Kentucky College of Law
- Bachelor of Arts 12/2001 Major Sociology,
-Minor English Literature Marshall University Huntington, WV
-Graduated summa cum laude
- Member of the American Immigration Lawyers Association since 2006
- June 2018 to Present Shepard Immigration Law Attorney and Owner
- 2005 to June 2018 Attorney – Family and Employment Based Immigration Gresk & Singleton, PC
- Lead a team of support staff in the preparation and filing of a wide array of family-based immigration petitions and applications in a high volume practice including I-130 relatives, I-129F fiancés, I-485 adjustment of status, N-400/N-600 citizenship, I-751 joint and waiver, VAWA I-360s, U visas, DACA, and other related benefits.
- Brought significant growth to practice from successfully filing hundreds of I-601/I-601A waivers for unlawful presence, misrepresentation, and criminal offenses, and I-212 applications for admission after deportation and the “permanent 9(c) bar.” Won appeal to the AAO for improper denial of an I-601 waiver application.
- Represent numerous individuals during domestic USCIS adjustment of status and naturalization interviews. Successfully challenged denials on bona-fide marriage, Child Status Protection Act, Section 245(i), criminal convictions, and other complex grounds of inadmissibility.
- Extensive experience advising and handling issues before USCIS service centers, the National Visa Center, and various consulates and embassies abroad, including Central and South America, Asia, and Africa.
- Analyze and advise client cases on criminal, deportation/removal, and complex legal and immigration histories. Prepare employment sponsored immigrant and nonimmigrant petitions for companies and individuals including H-1B specialized knowledge professionals for both cap and cap-exempt employers; L-1A/L-1B intracompany transferees; H-3 trainees; O-1 aliens of extraordinary ability; E-2 investors; R-1 religious workers; PERM labor certifications and audits; I-140 immigrant petitions for professionals, skilled workers, multi-national managers / executives, and aliens of extraordinary ability; and I-360 special immigrant religious workers.
- Won appeals to the AAO for I-140 ability to pay and I-360 religious occupation issues.
- Speak about immigration law to groups such as the Indianapolis International Woman’s Association and the Indianapolis Bar Association Bench and Bar Retreat and as a special guest on the Abogado Pablo radio broadcast.
I am originally from Eastern Kentucky and moved to the Indianapolis area after meeting my future husband in law school. He was later employed as a government attorney in Indianapolis, and I relocated here after I graduated. We have celebrated more than ten years of marriage and are the parents of two young and active children. I am a member of the American Immigration Lawyer’s Association, and also attend Our Lady of Grace Catholic Church in Noblesville.
I believe my best qualities are relating to my clients personally, creativity, ability to explain complex issues in understandable ways, and solving problems. I enjoy spending time outdoors and playing with my children, cooking and planning healthy meals for my family, British murder mysteries, learning about technology and marketing, and expanding my writing skills.