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Littler Mendelson is adding to its global corporate migration practice with the acquisition of Baker Law, a San Jose-based business immigration firm with two attorneys and 10 staffers. Littler Global, a division formed three years ago with the acquisition of an immigration practice, has seen tremendous growth, according to Bonnie Gibson, who leads the group. It now has 16 lawyers and a staff of 120, including immigration specialists and paralegals sprinkled among Littler Mendelson’s many offices. Debra Baker, the founder of Baker Law, said she’s noticed an expansion in corporate immigration work in the past several years as globalization proliferates and more and more companies move workers worldwide. She’s pleased to join Littler professionals handling similar matters, she added. “Global migration is key to what’s happening in the [technology] industry,” Baker said. “Because we’re in the heart of Silicon Valley, it’s important to have a presence here.” The corporate migration group deals with migration into and out of the United States as well as between other countries. For example, the group may work with U.S. companies looking to meet the proper Chinese immigration requirements when transferring Americans or other foreigners there. Littler Global is considered a separate division of Littler Mendelson since the business model is so different, Gibson said. That includes dynamics such as leverage, billing practices and staffing. The group’s bread-and-butter work is assisting with immigration to the United States, but recent changes have opened new doors. Stricter U.S. immigration policies � combined with phenomenal global economic growth � means it’s vital to be able to meet client needs around the world, Gibson said. China and India are hot spots, as cross-border assignments have become commonplace. Silicon Valley, of course, is hot because of the numerous high-tech giants casting an eye abroad for foreign workers. Global migration serves an essential role in meeting Silicon Valley’s human capital needs, said Dennis Brown, the managing partner of Littler’s San Jose office. Gibson said lawyers in the global division bring a client’s perspective because they’ve worked in house. Baker has worked as a corporate immigration specialist at Hewlett-Packard and another recent hire, Tanya Lee, worked in house as counsel for Procter & Gamble. Several other attorneys in this division have experience at Fortune 500 companies, she said. The group’s success also lies in its ability to carve out a practice that’s essential while being highly specialized with its emphasis on human resources, staffing, international law and cultural nuances, Gibson said. “We’ve brought our global practice group from being neophytes three years ago to being one of the mature players in a very small niche market right now,” Gibson said. “That’s a good testament to the model we have.”

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