Deeply knowledgeable. Ethical. Creative. And passionate. Those are the words that the peers of Beata Leja use to describe this immigration lawyer.
With such attributes, it's little surprise that Leja has become known as one of the most talented immigration specialists in the Chicago area.
Tejas Shah, a Partner with Chicago's Franczek Radelet, said that Leja's combination of legal skill and commitment has resulted in several important victories for her clients.
"Beata stands out in her creativity and persistence in finding solutions to her client's complex problems," Shah said. "She is unafraid to use novel legal theories to help her clients."
Shah points to Leja’s work representing same-sex couples in green card and fiancée visa applications, applications that present unique challenges in countries where such relationships are not commonly accepted.
Leja also takes pride in finding solutions for clients who have already been denied immigration benefits and have been turned away by other lawyers, Shah said.
In one case, Leja represented a client who had been charged with committing misrepresentation and was barred from returning to the United States. The client's family came to Leja after several lawyers told them nothing could be done.
Leja reviewed the statement containing the alleged misrepresentation and successfully reversed the finding on the grounds that it was not, in fact, a material misrepresentation. This resulted in the reunification of the client with his family after a separation of 15 years.
Chioma Akabogu, an attorney and senior partner at N&C Impact Care Solutions, first met Leja when her and her husband faced their own immigration challenges. Akabogu, who was an attorney in Nigeria at the time, was not familiar with immigration laws in the United States. Leja, she said, listened to the couple's problems and reviewed their extensive history.
"We put our faith in her and her firm and have never looked back," Akabogu said. "Since then, we have referred multiple other cases for our friends and relatives to Beata because she is not only very knowledgeable in all areas of U.S. immigration law, but she is incredibly caring and compassionate to her clients."
Outside of the law, Leja is an Adjunct Professor teaching Business Aspects of Immigration Law at John Marshall Law School, and is an active member of the Chicago Chapter of the American Immigration Lawyers Association. She serves that organization in various capacities, including on the LGBT Committee and the Customs & Border Protection Liaison Committee. She frequently conducts seminars about immigration law for students, employers, employees and attorneys. After the U.S. Supreme Court struck down DOMA and legalized same-sex marriage, Leja spoke at events throughout the Chicago area to educate the LGBTQ population regarding their new rights as they relate to immigration.
"Beata exemplifies the best of the legal community," said Marta Zaborska with Chicago law firm O'Connor & Nakos. "As an immigrant herself, and someone who speaks both Polish and Spanish fluently, she is uniquely able to understand the anxiety experienced by immigrants and connect with them on a personal level."