Russell began working in business immigration as a clerk during his second year of law school at Tulane University, and was immediately drawn to the personal side of the practice. “Business immigration gave me the opportunity to work with companies, universities and other employers while simultaneously helping individuals achieve their goals of a new career, new business, and/or life in a new place,” Russell explained. “Once I got into business immigration, I never looked back.”
Having worked at large law firms in Atlanta and New England, Russell founded FordMurray with law partner Michael Murray in 2014, with an eye toward outstanding customer service and personal attention that both founders felt could get lost in larger firms. “At FordMurray, we are able to build relationships with our clients,” Russell said. “I enjoy becoming a trusted partner – to the organizations we work with and to the people they employ.”
Russell assists public and private employers, large and small, in developing effective immigration policies and strategies for personnel movement around the globe. His clients include colleges and universities, multinational corporations, and nonprofit organizations who need legal guidance regarding the recruitment, maintenance, and retention of international personnel.
Higher Education Focus:
Russell has significant experience representing public and private colleges, universities, and related nonprofit organizations in bringing the best and brightest to their campuses/organizations regardless of country of birth. He partners with these organizations to develop immigration compliance programs including SEVIS, I-9, LCA, and E-Verify. Russell assists these organizations with all relevant nonimmigrant and immigrant visa categories including H-1s, J-1s, O-1s, NIWs, EB1As, and EB1Bs. In addition, he assists these organizations in obtaining SEVIS designation for J-1, M-1, or F-1 as well as post-designation SEVIS counseling and compliance.
For Russell, the key to superior client service is in seamless communication. “Our clients need to know we can be trusted for the big picture issues, but they should also feel comfortable reaching out for a small question,” he said. “The open flow of communication is the key to a successful partnership between our firm and our clients, and we want to encourage that flow.”
Russell put this strategy to use, when a top-tier institution in New England had multi-campus issues and multi-unit “employers” within the institution which led to problems completing, maintaining, and expunging I-9s in a proper manner. After many discussions with the different departments and leaders, FordMurray developed a strategy to help this institution garner better control, better comfort, and better quality in their I-9 completion, retention, and expungement processes.
Outside of the office, Russell is currently using his keen communication skills to teach his teenage daughter how to drive. “Giving someone the knowledge, courage, and ‘know how’ to operate a vehicle is not intuitive,” he said. “Imparting this knowledge in a way that makes her feel comfortable, at ease, and happy, is a bigger accomplishment than I imagined.”
When not spending time with his wife Lisa and their three children, Carson, Courtney, and Connor, Russell is a basketball enthusiast, playing at least three times a week. Additionally, to keep his mental and physical juices flowing, Russell enjoys riding a stationary bicycle at his stand-up desk while assisting companies with their immigration matters.
Russell’s words to live by: “You miss 100% of the shots you don’t take.” – Wayne Gretzky
- American Immigration Lawyers Association
- National Association of College and University Attorneys (Editor, Journal of College and University Law)
- Sports Lawyers Association
- Selected by peers for inclusion as a Rising Star in Georgia Super Lawyers for Immigration, Employment and Education
- Selected as an “Atlanta Lawyer of Distinction” by Jezebel Magazine for Immigration and Higher Education Law
- Selected by the National Association of College and University Attorneys (NACUA) for the First Decade Award
- Tulane Law School (J.D., 1999), Sports Law Certificate
- Boston University (M.Ed., 1996)
- Stonehill College (B.A., 1995)
- Connecticut (1999 nonactive)
- New York (2000 nonactive)
- Georgia (2003 nonactive)
- Massachusetts, 2012