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Helping immigrants navigate the law

By: Jane Pribek//September 19, 2012//

Helping immigrants navigate the law

By: Jane Pribek//September 19, 2012//

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Wisconsin Law Journal photo/Kevin Harnack

She’s the resident expert on permanent residence.

In just four years since joining Grzeca Law Group, a corporate immigration law boutique, Carrie Ziegler Thomas has found her niche.

She scored a recent victory for a client, a Wisconsin-based financial business, with her response to an audit initiated by the U.S. Department of Labor. The audit sought verification that there were no U.S. workers available and willing to do the job.

The audit allows only 30 days to provide a large quantity of information, and one wrong response can result in denial.

“There were a lot of applicants,” Ziegler Thomas said. “We had to very carefully document how each applicant was not qualified. They thought my client should’ve had more applicants because of the industry they’re in and the bad economy.”

But it worked out, she said, noting the certification came through Aug. 1.

While Ziegler Thomas was at her undergraduate alma mater, Ferris State University in Big Rapids, Mich., a friend from Romania was struggling with finding a job and staying in the U.S.

That friend, incidentally, was working with Milwaukee attorney Jerry Grzeca.

Supporting her friend through the process opened Ziegler Thomas’s mind to the possibilities of a law degree, she said.

“It got me thinking about law school being way more than what we see on ‘Law & Order,’” she said.

What is the best part about being an attorney?

Having the opportunity to help people navigate the law, to help people work here, to stay here and establish lives here.

What can you spend hours doing that’s not law-related?

Holding my new daughter, Annabelle

What was your favorite toy as a child?


What famous person would you most like to have a drink with?

The practical answer, and someone who’s living, is Barack Obama, to ask him where we’re going with immigration policy. The fun answer, and someone who’s dead, is Freddy Mercury. I’m a longtime fan.

If you could change one thing about yourself, what would it be?

I’m too much of a perfectionist.

What is your motto?

At work, our team motto is, ‘Go big or go home.’

What is the first concert you went to?

REO Speedwagon at the Sheboygan County Fair

Who is your favorite writer?

Kurt Vonnegut

What do you miss most about your childhood?

Swimming, every day, all summer long, with my sister at my grandparents’ lake home

What are you craving right now?

Sleep. My daughter will be 2 weeks old on Saturday.


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