Leon Rodriguez, former director of U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services at the Department of Homeland Security, is joining Seyfarth Shaw LLP as a partner in the firm’s Labor & Employment department in Washington, D.C.
Rodriguez served as the most recent director of USCIS from 2014 to 2017, responsible for administering all U.S. immigration matters, including the processing of asylum and refugee applications, immigration benefits, and naturalization and visa petitions. In this role, Rodriguez oversaw a workforce of 19,000 government employees in 223 offices around the world.
Prior to joining USCIS, he served as the director of the Office for Civil Rights at the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services from 2011 to 2014, responsible for the enforcement of federal civil rights laws and the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA) privacy rule that govern nondiscrimination and health information privacy rights.
“As the head of two critical government agencies, Leon brings an unparalleled level of firsthand interagency experience to Seyfarth at a time when clients face unprecedented uncertainty from the federal government,” said Lisa Damon, chair of Seyfarth’s Labor & Employment department. “He will immediately provide clients with unique insight into the rapidly changing immigration landscape, and we’re excited to welcome Leon to the firm.”
Rodriguez provides new depth to Seyfarth’s Business Immigration Group, one of the nation’s premier practices with more than 100 team members who provide comprehensive business immigration services throughout the United States and globally.
“Seyfarth has spent the past decade architecting the industry’s most sophisticated service delivery model for clients who rely on us to manage their global mobility needs, but we now see a changing landscape that will undoubtedly include greater worksite enforcement actions,” said Russell Swapp, co-chair of Seyfarth’s Business Immigration Group. “We are, therefore, honored to have such an influential statesman and well-respected compliance litigator join our group. No one understands the full spectrum of immigration challenges facing our clients today quite like Leon.”
“Leon’s investigative and enforcement experience with USCIS uniquely positions him to provide the type of strategic immigration counsel and agency insight clients need to operate their businesses and enhance their workforces amid a constant flow of changes,” explained Jim King, co-chair of Seyfarth’s Business Immigration Group.
Beyond immigration, Rodriguez’s arrival will also strengthen the growth of the firm’s White Collar, Internal Investigations, and False Claims Team, and the Health Law practice.
“Leon is the rare senior government official who combines experience, entrepreneurial spirit and a passion for his work that will benefit the firm and our clients in a variety of practices,” said Robert Bodansky, managing partner of Seyfarth’s Washington, D.C. office. “As the Washington office continues to grow, Leon’s presence not only adds depth and breadth to our existing practices, but also provides a unique perspective to those practices that few, if any, can match.”
With a long history of public service, Rodriguez has also held a number of federal prosecution roles. He previously served as Chief of Staff and Deputy Assistant Attorney Generals for the Department of Justice Civil Rights Division; First Assistant U.S. Attorney and Chief of White Collar Crimes Section in U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Western District of Pennsylvania; and trial attorney for the Civil Rights Division at the Department of Justice.
Fluent in both Spanish and French, Rodriguez received his law degree from Boston College Law School and holds a bachelor’s in history from Brown University.