Grant Sovern, Partner


Grant Sovern practices in the area of immigration law and is chair of Quarles & Brady's national immigration practice. His area of concentration is employment immigration for employers and employees, specifically non-immigrant visas such as the H-1B, L-1, O-1, TN, and immigrant visas (permanent residence) through employment means such as outstanding researcher, extraordinary ability, and labor certification. He counsels companies on developing, maintaining, and defending immigration compliance programs.

Grant's experience includes

  • Representing pharmaceutical/biotech and high-tech companies to implement overall immigration policies and procedures.
  • Counseling health care systems, hospitals, and physicians to navigate the immigration regulations related to waivers of the J-1 home residency requirement through the Conrad state programs, H-1B visas, O-1 visas, and permanent resident (green card) options.
  • Assisting employers and employees with PERM Labor Certification filings to obtain permanent residence.
  • Developing I-9 compliance and enforcement programs for companies.
  • Representing scientists and others in pursuing J-1 waivers through the no-objection process and interested U.S. government agencies.

Teaching. Grant has been an Adjunct Professor of Law at the University of Wisconsin Law School, where he taught immigration law.

Legal Services

Education and Honors

  • University of Michigan Law School (J.D., 1996)
  • Tufts University (B.A., magna cum laude, 1989)
    • Majors: International Relations and History
  • Institut d'Etudes Politiques (1987)

Bar Admissions

  • Wisconsin
  • Massachusetts

Professional and Civic Activities

  • American Immigration Lawyers Association (Member of the Social Security Administration (SSA) Taskforce, former member of Interagency Taskforce, member of E-Verify Legislative Taskforce, member of Employer Verification Liaison Committee, and Chair of National Liaison Committee to the U.S. Social Security Administration)
  • Second Harvest of Southern Wisconsin (Former Chair of the Board of Directors)
  • Community Immigration Law Center (President of the Board of Directors)
  • Quarles & Brady Diversity Committee (Representative)
  • Has served the U.S. Department of State and the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE) as an International Elections Supervisor in Bosnia and Hercegovina, as a Peace Corps volunteer in Niger, and as a pro bono attorney working with asylum-seekers in the US

Professional Recognition

  • Recognized as Best Lawyers® 2012, 2018, 2020, 2023 Madison Immigration Law "Lawyer of the Year"
  • Recognized as a Most Powerful Employment Attorney - Up and Comer by Human Resource Executive/Lawdragon (2011-2019)
  • Who's Who Legal (Corporate Immigration 2013-2018, 2020)
  • Listed in Human Resources Executive Magazine edition on "Most Powerful Employment Lawyers" (2012–2014)
  • Listed in Chambers USA® (2010–present: Labor & Employment: Immigration)
  • Listed in The Best Lawyers in America® (2008–present: Immigration Law)
  • Awarded the John and John Quincy Adams Pro Bono Publico Award by Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court (2005), for outstanding work in the area of asylum law for pro bono clients
  • Selected to list of Massachusetts Lawyer Weekly's Massachusetts Best Lawyers Under 40 years old (2005)
  • Mintz Levin Pro Bono Award (1999)


  • French
  • Zarma
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