Howard Shapiro has walked through life “acquiring information," as he likes to describe. The information junkie didn’t study cultural anthropology because it was a path towards professorship tenure. He dove in to this area of studies because of his intense desire to understand the world around him. Howard had always felt strong emotion and connections to people and experiences, especially through music. Taking the train on a regular basis in high school from his home in Cherry Hill, New Jersey to Philadelphia to absorb the sounds of the jazz scene, Howard relished the opportunity to connect with those around him. His favorite music memory, though, involved a trip to Back Fence in Greenwich Village, New York. Sitting amongst the patrons, he marveled at how everyone spontaneously joined in unison singing the lyrics of The Boxer by Simon and Garfunkel.
Howard’s cultural anthropologic pursuits helped scratch his inquisitive itch in understanding the diversity of people, culture, and connections. Howard has tackled his career in immigration with an appreciation and warmth for the stories of the people he serves.
Howard Shapiro co-chairs MSK’s Immigration Department and has decades of experience providing immigration counsel with a unique emphasis on the representation of the film, television, music, video game, and new media industries. He regularly advises large corporations, small businesses and individuals on a wide variety of immigration matters, offering seasoned expertise pertaining to corporate reorganizations, transfer of executives, managers, professionals and specialists, temporary work permits and permanent residence and citizenship applications. His experience includes extensive counseling to employers on immigration aspects of labor and employment matters, including I-9 compliance and audits, and E-Verify issues.
Additionally, Howard regularly advises high net-worth individuals on immigration aspects of transnational trade and investment, family law, and tax & estate planning matters.
- Consulted with major video game development studio to structure provisions of the corporate divestiture agreement with former parent company and publisher in order to optimize immigration benefits for retained foreign employees.
- Advised leading apparel manufacturer regarding audit and enforcement actions by Immigration and Customs Enforcement, resulting in highly favorable agreement with ICE.
- Structured visa issues for relocation of motion picture visual effects team from Germany to the United States.
- Obtained permanent resident status for seminal rock musician based upon unique interpretation of federal criminal law provisions.
- Overcame significant union and government opposition to temporary employment visa for Latin musician/television host.
Honors & Awards
- Recognized by Best Lawyers in America© in Immigration Law (2019-2023)
- “Who’s Who Legal: Corporate Immigration 2015," Who’s Who Legal (2015)
- AV® Preeminent™ Rating, Martindale-Hubbell
- "One to Watch in 2016: Corporate Immigration," Corporate LiveWire Legal Awards
Professional, Business and civic Affiliations
- American Immigration Lawyers Association
Other Career Experience
- Law clerk to U.S. Immigration Judges in Seattle, San Diego, and El Paso through United States Attorney General's Honors Program
- August 19, 2021
- August 20, 2020
- August 15, 2019
- August 15, 2018
- September 15, 2009
- Working Remotely Triggers Immigration Compliance RegulationsMarch 30, 2020
- March 7, 2017
- January 11, 2017
- January 12, 2016
- August 2007
- March 2007
Events & Speaking Engagements
- January 11, 2023
- May 15, 2017
- May 9, 2017
- April 20, 2017
- January 11, 2017
- Consulate General of Brazil in Los AngelesJuly 28, 2016
- January 2016
- U.S. Immigration Law Update, MSK Employers' Legal UpdateJanuary 2013
- U.S. Immigration Law Update, MSK Employers' Legal UpdateJanuary 2012
- September 2011
- March 2011
- November 2010
- October 10, 2009
- August 24, 2009
- Frequent speaker at industry conferences, including Game Developers Conference, PIHRA, Sterling Education, and at local, statewide, and national professional association conferences
- California, 1992
Lewis & Clark Law School, J.D., 1992
International Business Law Fellowship; Cornelius Honor Society; Davis Wright Tremaine International Writing Award
Rice University, B.A., 1989; with Honors
- Mandarin (Beijing Languages Institute and University of Shanghai School of Literary Arts)