A New York Immigration and Criminal Defense Lawyer

This video features Cory Forman, an Immigration Law attorney based in New York.

The Value of Hiring a “Crimmigration” Attorney

Video Transcript:

Cory Forman: 

People are surprised. The most minor of criminal offenses on the criminal system could be a major offense on immigration.

Rob Rosenthal: 

If you have a criminal case and an immigration case at the same time, what's the best way to get help? We're gonna find out right now, 'cause that's what we're going to ask the lawyer on today's episode. Hi again everybody. I'm Rob Rosenthal with askthelawyers.com and my guest is New York City attorney, Cory Forman. I wanna remind you right off the top, you wanna ask Cory questions about your specific situation, it's easy, go to askthelawyers.com, click the button at the top that says, "Ask the lawyer" or you can call the phone number that's on the screen during our conversation. Cory, good to see you. Thank you for helping us out again today.

Cory Forman: 

Thanks so much for having me, Rob, I appreciate it.

Rob Rosenthal: 

I know in your law firm, you helped launch a division that you call "Crimmigration". Tell me what that is. Tell me more about it.

Cory Forman: 

Well, crimmigration, it's the intersection of immigration and criminal. I started out as a criminal defense lawyer, and a few years after that I picked up immigration, and I was very interested in collateral consequences. So the division now, 15, 16 years later, it focuses on anything related to where the two areas intersect. So in the criminal context, non-citizens charged with crimes, non-citizens who have criminal convictions that they need vacated through post-conviction relief, we specialize in those areas. On the immigration side, if there's an immigration case where there's a criminal issue in the background, we're gonna handle that, whether it's a waiver, whether it's an affirmative filing, whether it's someone put in removal proceedings for a criminal case. So anytime the two areas intersect on either playing field, immigration or criminal, we represent clients.

Rob Rosenthal: 

Oh, I guess they must intersect quite often enough so that it made it where you guys feel like it's a good area to cover. How often does this happen?

Cory Forman: 

I mean, it does happen a lot because people are surprised the most minor of criminal offenses on the criminal system could be a major offense on the immigration. A classic example is a marijuana case. Well, marijuana is becoming decriminalized state by state. It is still a crime under federal law. So people are very surprised to find out that if they want to adjust status to a green card holder and they have a marijuana conviction where they paid a $50, fine, they're inadmissible to the United States unless they qualify for a waiver, and we will help with that waiver, and that's the immigration level. Taking that same case, if the person doesn't qualify for a waiver, we're gonna need to go and get some post-conviction relief in criminal court, but we're gonna take a motion and litigate it in criminal court.

Cory Forman: 

Now, I use marijuana as an example, but then we'll do it for very significant crimes if it's really jamming someone up on the immigration level, we're gonna take a post-conviction motion and seek relief to have the conviction vacated. And then again, in the immigration context, if there's a criminal background, small or large, that complicates the person's immigration case, we're gonna diagnose the problem, how do we deal with it, and then whether it's through a waiver or defending a charge of removability, it comes up in a lot of different contexts and the Cohen Forman Barone, we're really one of the few lawyers really in the country that handle that specific area of law.

Rob Rosenthal: 

Do you take referrals and/or work as co-counsel with other firms that need these areas?

Cory Forman: 

Well, the answer is yes. I mean, we do both. A lot of times, a criminal defense attorney who's representing a non-citizen isn't gonna be so comfortable grappling with the immigration issues, 'cause a non-citizen is gonna have different goals and different agenda on how they wanna litigate their case than a citizen. So sometimes the criminal defense attorney is just not gonna feel comfortable with that criminal case because the immigration issues are so significant and refer to us outright. Sometimes they're gonna bring us along as co-counsel while they'll work on the primary part of the case, but we're there to help draft a specific plea agreement, explain the consequences to the prosecutor, work with the client in helping them understand the immigration consequences. And again, a lot of times in the criminal context, there's gonna be post-conviction relief where we specialize in taking motions to vacate convictions that have a certain immigration consequence.

Cory Forman: 

And on the immigration side, you have a lot of lawyers that do different areas of immigration law. The Immigration Act is very thick. There's different kinds of subsections. There's business immigration, there's family-only immigration, there's asylum work, there's consular practice work where they're dealing with the consulates overseas, and anytime a criminal issue comes up, they're gonna refer either the case to us or that specific part of it. An example I'll use is we have a lot of relationships with business immigration lawyers. We don't do any business immigration law here, but if an employee that's getting sponsored has a certain criminal background that's hurting their green card or visa issue and a waiver is needed or an analysis of a criminal conviction is needed, or possibly vacating that conviction, that business immigration attorney's gonna contact us and have the client deal with us on that particular issue. So we get referrals from both areas, both as co-counsel and as to be the primary attorney.

Rob Rosenthal: 

What areas and jurisdictions in New York do you practice?

Cory Forman: 

Well in New York, I mean on the criminal end, Cohen Forman Barone is licensed in New York and in the federal courts around the country, but in terms of state courts, it's New York, that's including the city, Upstate, Long Island, the Village courts, any court in New York State and federal courts across the country. Immigration law is federal. So I... The firm, Cohen Forman Barone, we practice everywhere all over the country. I've done immigration cases in Texas, Louisiana, Atlanta, obviously New York, New Jersey, Connecticut, 'cause it's all federal-based law. So we go all over for that.

Rob Rosenthal: 

Did you trademark that "crimmigration" thing? I love that.

Cory Forman: 

We started... I don't wanna take all the credit. I mean, we're definitely one of the first to use it. We started doing a lot of this work before the crimmigration consequences became so significant. There were a few others. I'm not gonna take all of it, but a little... I think people say that imitation is the highest form of flattery.

Rob Rosenthal: 

And you're being modest. Thank you for answering our questions today, I appreciate it, really interesting conversation. Thank you, Cory, I appreciate it.

Cory Forman: 

Of course. Thank you, Rob.

Rob Rosenthal: 

That's gonna do it for this episode of Ask The Lawyer. My guest has been New York City attorney Cory Forman. I wanna remind you, if you'd like to ask Cory questions of your own, it's easy, go to askthelawyers.com, click the button at the top that says, "Ask A Lawyer" and it'll walk you right through the very simple process right there or you can call the phone number that's on the screen to talk to Cory. Thanks for watching. I'm Rob Rosenthal with Ask The Lawyer.

Disclaimer: This video is for informational purposes only. In some states, this video may be deemed Attorney Advertising. The choice of lawyer is an important decision that should not be based solely on advertisements.


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