Firm Overview

San Francisco based immigration law firm across the street from the Immigration Court and close to the United States Citizenship and Immigration Services District Office. We provide effective assistance in cases involving all aspects of family immigration; work visas (H-1B, L, P, O) and permanent residence through employment in the U.S. (EB-1, EB-2, EB-3) including Labor Certification ("PERM"; Investor Visas (E / EB-5); and deportation defense from securing bail/bond to relief from deportation in Immigration Court.

Upon my return to the Bay Area, I founded the Schmidt Law Group in 2008, after working as Senior Associate Attorney for a prominent immigration law firm in Chicago and Partner of a spin-off firm where I continue to serve as Of Counsel. I am also part of a close network of independent immigration attorneys as well as a former immigration judge who is now in private practice.

Example cases

A case most people can relate to is one about a client who came to the US on a visa, overstayed, got married, and afterwards tried to get her status corrected. The marriage failed and, as a result, she did not show up to the interview with her husband. If you don't go to this interview, you are automatically denied. With no status, she then entered into a second marriage and submitted a new application to gain status. Five years passed and during this time the Immigration Service dawdled, the marriage suffered rocky times and failed. Now 12 years had passed, she had no status but had fallen in love with someone new; and the Immigration Services had not even looked at her second application, based on the previous relationship, yet. This is when she contacted me.

Of course she feared that her immigration history would prevent her from staying with her newly found love. Convinced that she was not to blame for the past events, I filed what would be her third application and had the previous one closed. Naturally, the Immigration Service did not look very favorably at our new application and scrutinized it heavily. The next step in the process was the interview. I prepare all my clients thoroughly for the interviews and this case was no exception. Unfortunately, even though she and her partner passed with flying colors, the application was not approved because there was a question about her legal status and an idea that she needed a waiver of inadmissibility. Of course, I was aware of the immigration history and expected the Immigration Service to correctly interpret the law. However, without going into the complex legal ins and outs involved in this case, suffice to say that the Immigration Service misinterpreted the immigration history and misapplied the law. Knowing their decision was incorrect, I immediately called the responsible officer, who responded that the decision was approved by a supervisor and there was nothing further to discuss. Instead of giving in, my next step was to draft a legal memorandum on the issues and send this to the officer, supervisor, and the District Director. We received an approval, with no further comment, 10 days later.

Guess who smiled — yes, we all did!

Main Office

Main
235 Montgomery Street
Suite 728
San Francisco  CA  94104

Phone
  • (415) 834-0600
Fax
  • (415) 449 6666

Fees

Free Initial Consultation?

Mention NOLO for a free initial phone consultation.

Services Offered For Fixed Fees?

Most of my fees are flat fees that include everything from start to finish.

Hourly Rates

I generally set a flat fee with each client.

Office Information

Office Hours

Monday through Friday
9:00 a.m. to 6:00 p.m.

Emergency After Hours

Yes

Languages Spoken

German

How did your firm decide on the primary area of practice(s)?

Having immigrated myself over seventeen years ago, I naturally relate to the motives and concerns that come with establishing a new life or business in the U.S. I enjoy the many facets of immigration law and their relevance to the lives of immigrants

What is your firm's point of view regarding clients educating themselves on legal issues?

To better understand a situation, I always encourage everyone to independently educate themselves about all legal questions. On the other hand, unless you have a complete legal understanding of all the "ins and outs" of your case, I strongly urge caution when it comes to taking matters into own hands. I have seen too many clients make wrong choices based on perceived competence or bad advice.

Is your firm willing to review documents prepared by clients?

I generally review legal documents prepared outside my office only when I am retained to handle a case. I see my role as a partner in achieving goals effectively and an educator on legal options. I am also a firm believer that any application for an immigration benefit extends beyond forms in that it should be made only after a full and complete assessment of the short and long term implications.

Is your firm willing to coach clients who want to represent themselves?

Coaching clients to be their own attorney where legal issues are at stake is a disservice in my view because the success of a case can quickly depend on the ability to think on one's feet to get it right. That said, I am willing and I often do coach clients on navigating the system and/or on how to manage immigration interviews where legal representation is not absolutely necessary or clients seek to minimize costs. In the end, though, nothing replaces experience and legal knowledge when it comes to reacting to the facts that will make the difference and win a case.

Christian Schmidt

After working as an attorney in Germany and immigrating to the U.S., I served for many years as Executive Director of a San Francisco non-for-profit organization. Which coordinated training opportunities in the U.S. for social workers and AIDS educators from developing countries. I subsequently worked as pro-bono attorney for the Louisiana Pro Bono Net, in New Orleans, in the areas of family and immigration law.

My experience as a lawyer in Germany and the U.S. has given me broad exposure to the practice of law. And while practicing immigration law for over ten years has provided me with the opportunity to solve a host of legal problems, every consultation and representation continues to make me a better lawyer. Life can trigger a host of unanticipated legal issues and the possibility of solving these issues adds another wrinkle to the face of my experience. Adding to this, I myself have had to depend on a lawyer to represent me in an area where I knew little. This experience has given me a unique client perspective and insight into the anxiety and frustration clients often feel.

Many clients tell me I am very German meaning that I am detail oriented and reliable. I take that as a compliment, and like to think that I am also very personable and committed to pursuing my clients' best interest. I am determined to leave no stone unturned, and often think outside the box to see whether there are better ways to resolve a matter.

Personal interests:

I like to read and always enjoy preparing and eating a good meal. I am an avid tennis player, travel as much as possible, and I greatly value the company of family, friends, and Salem, my dog.

License
  • Bar Number: 28756
    Louisiana , 2003
Education
  • University of Hamburg, Germany
    Juris Doctorate , 1992
    Hamburg
  • Golden Gate University
    Master of Laws , 1997
    San Francisco, CA
    Majored in International Legal Studies

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