Tuesday, July 18, 2017

MUS Welcomes New Associate Alison L. Andronic

Meyer, Unkovic & Scott recently welcomed Alison L. Andronic as an associate to the firm’s Real Estate & Lending, Corporate & Business Law, and Energy, Mineral Rights & Utilities practice groups.

Prior to beginning her law practice, Andronic served as a research editor on the University of Pittsburgh Law Review and as an executive board member for the Law School’s Energy Law Society.  She earned a B.S. from Penn State University in Marketing and a minor in the Legal Environment of Business.

Andronic currently resides in downtown Pittsburgh with her husband.

Thursday, July 13, 2017

MUS Attorney Maxwell Briskman Stanfield Appointed to SteelTree Fund Board

Meyer, Unkovic & Scott attorney Maxwell Briskman Stanfield was recently appointed to serve on the board of directors for The SteelTree Fund, a project of the Jewish Federation of Greater Pittsburgh.
The Fund provides grants of $5,000, $3,600, or $1,800 for projects that serve and have an impact on the Pittsburgh Jewish community.
Stanfield is a member of the firm’s Corporate & Business Law and Real Estate & Lending groups. His experience covers a broad range of corporate, financial and commercial real estate transactions. He assists clients with mergers, acquisitions, sales, purchases, leases, commercial real estate, lending and general corporate matters. In addition, he has experience with a wide variety of matters in the hospitality industry, including the drafting, negotiation and review of agreements relating to hotels, restaurants, entertainment venues and country clubs.

Friday, July 7, 2017

Immigration Law Client Update: Work Options for Foreign Students

F-1 Visas are issued to international students enrolled in a U.S. post-secondary educational institution to attend an academic program. F-1 students are required to maintain full-time student status and may remain in the United States for up to 60 days beyond the completion of their program. F-1 students may extend their stay in the United States through the Optional Practical Training (OPT) or Curricular Practical Training (CPT) programs. For F-1 students in a STEM program of study, there is a special extension available following completion of an OPT program.

CPT experiences must be part of a program of study and can be either part-time or full-time work. F-1 students are eligible for CPT off-campus, study-­related employment after completing one year of an academic program. At the graduate level, a designated school official authorizes this employment. Additionally, CPT requires a signed cooperation agreement from an employer. F-1 students who complete 12 months or more of full-time CPT employment are ineligible for OPT. However, part-time CPT students are still eligible for OPT.

OPT experiences must relate to an F-1 student's major or course of study. At each level of education (i.e. bachelor's, master's, etc.), an F-1 student may apply for 12 months of OPT. A designated school official recommends an F-1 student for this employment. Following recommendation and successful application, U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services provides the F-1 student with an Employment Authorization Document (EAD), permitting the student to begin work. OPT can be pre-completion (while still attending school), post- completion (after graduation), or a combination of the two. Work is capped at 20 hours per week while school is in session. OPT must be completed within 14 months of graduation.

F-1 students currently enrolled with OPT in a Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics (STEM) program of study may be eligible for an additional 24 months of OPT (STEM OPT). STEM fields are further defined to include actuarial science, computer science, engineering, engineering technologies, biological and medical sciences, mathematics and statistics, military technologies, physical sciences, science technologies and health professions, and related clinical sciences. Additional requirements mandate that the STEM degree come from an accredited Student and Exchange Visitor Program (SEVP) certified college or university, and the employer sought uses the E-Verify program. While awaiting the approval of a timely filed application, an F-1 student currently on OPT may remain in the United States for 180 days. STEM OPT students may work part-time or full-time, as long as the work is related to the field of study and comparable to the student's level of education.
During the CPT, OPT, and/or STEM employment, the employer may apply for an H-1B visa for the employee to continue working in the United States. Because of the limited number of H-1Bs available, the individual with the best chances of selection is a U.S. master's degree graduate.
For more information about foreign student work options or any other Immigration Law matter, please contact Joel Pfeffer, Elaina Smiley or Gary Sanderson. Contact information is listed below. (*The authors thank Danielle Scalise, Summer Associate, for her research and assistance on this Client Update.)
This material is for informational purposes only.  It is not and should not be solely relied on as legal advice in dealing with any specific situation.

Thursday, July 6, 2017

Ron Hicks Elected to Board of Pennsylvanians for Modern Courts

Meyer, Unkovic & Scott Partner Ron Hicks was recently elected to serve on the board of directors of Pennsylvanians for Modern Courts (PMC).

PMC is a nonprofit organization that serves as a statewide court “watchdog.” According to its website, PMC identifies and speaks out on issues that impact the public’s confidence in Pennsylvania’s courts, and works proactively to reform and modernize the judiciary. PMC serves to eliminate bias in Pennsylvania’s courts in all its forms, so that all Pennsylvanians can come to our courts with confidence that they will be heard by qualified, fair and impartial judges.

Mr. Hicks is a Pennsylvania business and oil and gas rights trial lawyer who handles emergency, complex, and appellate litigation and other business matters for a variety of clients, including LGBT+ business owners.

He is co-chair of the firm’s Litigation & Dispute Resolution Group and chair of the Energy, Utilities and Mineral Rights Group and also serves as the co-chair of the U.S./Canada Litigation Group of Meritas — a global association of select independent law firms.

Saturday, July 1, 2017

Supreme Court travel ban could have 'marginal effect' on Pittsburgh

Meyer Unkovic & Scott’s Immigration Practice Group Chair Joel Pfeffer weighs in with the Pittsburgh Business Times about the Supreme Court’s recent ruling on President Trump’s travel ban. Please click here to read the complete article.

Friday, June 30, 2017

Supreme Court reinstates travel ban: Here’s what you need to know

The Supreme Court reversed actions of the lower federal courts on June 26, after allowing President Trump to reinstate his immigration travel ban. According to the ruling, foreign nationals from six majority-Muslim countries – Syria, Sudan, Yemen, Libya, Somalia and Iran – “who lack any bona fide relationship with a person or entity in the United States,” will be denied entry to the United States for the next 90 days.

Though this updated order is far less restrictive than the president’s initial version, many immigrants looking to gain access to the United States will still be impacted.

Who is affected:

  • Foreigners applying for a visa as a visitor to the United States without a direct tie to the country
  • Foreigners applying through the diversity visa program
  • Foreigners who have no ties to the United States and therefore are not protected by the Constitution

Who is not affected:

  • Foreigners who have been accepted to a U.S. university
  • Foreigners who have been claimed by a close relative who is a U.S. citizen. According to a recent update posted on the State Department website, “a close familial relationship is defined as a parent (including parent-in-law), spouse, child, adult son or daughter, son-in-law, daughter-in-law, sibling, whether whole or half, and including step relationships. ‘Close family’ does not include grandparents, grandchildren, aunts, uncles, nieces, nephews, cousins, fiancĂ©(e)s, brothers-in-law and sisters-in-law, and any other ‘extended’ family members.”
  • Foreigners who are applying for entry through a work visa program

By Joel Pfeffer, Pittsburgh Immigration Lawyer and Chair of Meyer, Unkovic & Scott’s Immigration Group

Thursday, June 29, 2017

MUS Announces Formation of Pittsburgh Legal Diversity and Inclusion Coalition

Meyer, Unkovic & Scott LLP is proud to join with area law firms, in-house legal departments, and law schools to form the Pittsburgh Legal Diversity and Inclusion Coalition.​ The organization will work collaboratively to foster the diversity and inclusion of the region’s legal community.