Nataliya Rymer’s business immigration and compliance practice centers around people first. With a focus on visas, I-9 employment verification, corporate compliance and more, the welfare and success of her clients is what makes her work meaningful. “I place an extremely high value on my ability to connect, and to stay connected, with my clients. I work hard to make sure they always know how much I value them and the work I get to do for them,” she explains.
A shareholder at Greenberg Traurig – a multinational law firm with 43 offices worldwide, Rymer has been passionate about focusing on immigration law since law school. Seventeen years into her practice, she has developed pathways for U.S. employers of all sizes to identify and recruit top talent, as well as for corporations of all sizes to expand their business to the U.S. Her client relationships are long-lasting, with Rymer guiding her clients through compliance practices, audits and acquisitions as they relate to immigration policies.
Lawdragon: Can you describe the mix of work you do within your practice?
Nataliya Rymer: I help employers to move international talent to the U.S. and assist in developing short- and long-term plans for foreign national workforce movement into and across the U.S. This includes expansion of international businesses of all sizes into the U.S. and establishment of U.S. operations, which often necessitates movement of its international top executives and talent into the U.S. for a period of time. Additionally, I work with my clients to develop immigration compliance programs and provide advice and training to their Human Resources departments in maintaining and adhering to the U.S. regulatory and statutory immigration compliance requirements. I counsel employers on due diligence issues, including internal audits and reviews, as well as minimization of exposure and liabilities in government investigations. Finally, I advise on the immigration consequences relating to corporate acquisitions, mergers and divestitures.
LD: How did you first become interested in practicing immigration law?
NR: When I was in law school, I spent my 2L summer as an intern for the Navy JAG in Yokosuka, Japan. This was where I initially developed an interest in immigration law. During my third year of law school, I was able to get an internship with a notable and well-respected local immigration law firm. Throughout my early career as an immigration lawyer, I was lucky enough to learn about immigration law from experts early in my career, which further solidified my love of this area of the law.
LD: What do you love about employment-based immigration law – what keeps you excited about it?
NR: I love helping my clients find ways to achieve the results they seek, such as ensuring movement of certain employees to their U.S. offices or bringing on new foreign national talent, or expanding operations into the U.S. Immigration law inherently reminds me of a puzzle, and I often feel as if I am solving a puzzle when I work with complex scenarios, which I enjoy.
Also, with this particular area of the law there is a very clear understanding of the great impact our work has on individuals and families. There is no greater satisfaction than knowing that I have been able to help.
LD: What kinds of matters interest you the most?
NR: I love working with start-ups and young companies and being able to watch them grow and accomplish extraordinary things within their industries. I have had lengthy relationships with many clients whose growth and expansion I have had the pleasure to witness. It is so incredibly rewarding to read about awards and recognition bestowed upon so many of my clients by their respective industry organizations and peers and have them become a household name.
Immigration law inherently reminds me of a puzzle, and I often feel as if I am solving a puzzle when I work with complex scenarios, which I enjoy.
LD: What kinds of matters are keeping you busy lately? Are there any trends?
NR: Post-pandemic, we are seeing extensive processing delays with the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Service and, simultaneously, an increase in in-depth, very nuanced requests for further evidence. Consular Posts worldwide are still experiencing delays in scheduling visa appointments, struggling to catch up post pandemic backlogs. We have seen worksite investigations on the rise as well, after a pandemic-related decrease.
LD: What is an example of a matter you’re handling at the moment?
NR: I am currently advising several of my long-term clients in connection with immigration consequences of mergers and acquisitions. All of these clients are owned and led by foreign nationals, showing the very real and positive impact foreign talent has on the U.S. economy.
LD: What are the joys or challenges of working with long-term clients?
NR: It is incredibly important to have close and lasting relationships with clients. This includes following all of their developments, even when they do not necessarily have an immediate impact on the area of law on which you advise them. Understanding what my clients need and where they are coming from helps me anticipate any issues affecting immigration and compliance issues. However, it also helps them feel confident that I listen to them carefully, hear what they say and know exactly what they need. This, in turn, helps affect favorable outcomes for them in my work.
LD: What do you find fulfilling about maintaining those relationships?
NR: Client relationships are incredibly important – it’s what keeps us in business. Being a great lawyer and loving what you do matters, but it may not help you achieve as much as when you add caring about your client relationships to this mix.
LD: What do you enjoy about working at Greenberg Traurig?
NR: I have been able to learn so much about legal issues outside of immigration that have a serious and immediate effect on my practice, and I have been lucky enough to meet and work with some incredible people. I love being able to take chances and explore in my current practice, while feeling supported by my colleagues, my team, and my firm.
LD: Looking back, why were you first drawn to pursuing law as a career?
NR: Growing up, my mother often commented on how good I was at arguing and that I would no doubt make a great lawyer.
LD: Did any experience from your undergraduate work push you towards a career in the law?
NR: I did not make the decision to go to law school until over a year after I graduated college.
LD: How did your time between undergrad and law school influence that decision?
NR: I worked for two years in human resources before going to law school. I believe my professional work experience helped me tremendously in law school and after graduation.
LD: Did you have any mentors in law school or early in your career?
NR: My first job out of law school was for someone whom I still consider a mentor and a father figure. I still call him often for advice.
I consider myself so incredibly lucky to have had the mentors I have, both in law school and throughout my career as a lawyer. While I did not pursue a career in litigation, my 2L Evidence professor was an incredible and thoughtful man who had a great impact on me. He taught me how much words and thoughtfulness matter – something I use in my practice every single day. I was also lucky enough to intern, and later work for, extraordinary immigration lawyers for whom I have tremendous respect.
Loving and enjoying the law is vital for becoming a good lawyer, and for longevity of one's legal practice.
LD: What advice do you have now for current law school students?
NR: I believe that loving and enjoying the law is vital for becoming a good lawyer, and for longevity of one's legal practice. Our jobs are difficult, stressful, and they take up the majority of our time. It is incredibly hard to continue at something that requires this level of dedication, if you do not love it and truly enjoy it for its own sake.
LD: If you weren’t a lawyer, what would you be doing now?
NR: Before going to law school, my plan was to become a practicing psychologist. If I had not become a lawyer, I imagine I would have reverted to this plan eventually.