The Story of Jon Velie Immigration Attorney
The Story of Jon Velie Immigration Attorney
What led Jon Velie to an international Immigration practice with Olympians, Major League athletes, Fortune 500 Companies, world class resorts, industry leaders, Wimbledon Champions, innovators and an his post as an expert writer and panelist both home and abroad is a story like many in America, having the vision to see an opportunities, setting goals, developing and tweaking plans, building a culture to build a team and hard work to make it happen.
Jon has roots in Immigration, his great-grandfather, Abraham Rockmore practiced Immigration in the fifties by lobbying Congress for individual Immigration bills, mostly for families of Eastern European Jews who had lost their homes, following World War II.
But that is not how Jon ended up practicing Immigration law. Jon is a rugby player, he moved back to his home town of Norman, Oklahoma to attend law school with the goal of hanging a shingle and doing general legal work to pay for his rugby travels. He was on a rugby tour in New Zealand, with the Western US All-Stars in 1994, shortly after the game was the last sports to become professional. One of his team mates was a New Zealander playing for Aspen. The benefactor of the Aspen club, signed him to a contract and Jon petitioned for and won the first green card for a rugby player.
The phone rang off the hook with ruggers from around the country seeking visas. The practice became national. Meanwhile, another friend was an IT engineer, he was jumping from job to job getting raises. He moved to Dallas. His company paid him $50,000 a year to do networking for a client, the client paid his company $75,000 a month. The client offered the engineer $75,000 a year as an employee. He said how about I open a company and you pay me $75,000 a month. The company agreed and Jon’s friend called him to establish his company and serve on his Board.
Within a few years the web design company grew from 3 to 400 employees and acquired 11 companies while raising $90 Million. During his stint as corporate counsel Jon watched the Internet go from the sale of goods to the sale of services, with stock brokers going on line. During the early nineties, not many lawyers were online, those that were basically had a glorified business card with their resume and contact information.
Jon needed a way to keep his law office open serving his national Immigration practice while flying each week to Dallas to serve as corporate counsel to the tech company. With the need to use his laptop as a mobile office, Jon revolutionized the legal industry with the launching of , the site gave away what other lawyers would not, legal knowledge. The site was designed like a restaurant menu with information about each visa and a process to ask an attorney a question for free, no consultation fee required. Potential clients flooded in, with dozens of questions a day and the firm started making $50,00 a month in legal fees, helping people from most nations live and work in any state in the United States. The practice became the subject of articles and the American Bar Association called Velie an innovator and in 2002 awarded his firm honorable mention for the Louis M. Brown Equal Access to Justice Award.
Jon’s firm became an online Immigration boutique an picked up major clients like Lucent’s Bell Labs, whose world class scientists did not want to leave their busy jobs to drive to a law firm in New York. And Tyson Foods, who carved an interesting relationship of keeping the basic visas such as the H-1b in house and out sourcing the more complicated L-1 visa, O-1 visa and permanent residency visas or green cards to Velie. Velie used intake sheets and the internet to transfer data and packaged cases for various Immigration centers around the country and consulates around the world.
Jon’s next innovative move was in developing a novel briefing style called Visa Petition. The idea dawned on him when he visited his client 2 Time All Around World Gymnastics Champions Ivan Ivankov. Ivan was featured on the cover of Sports Illustrated painted completely gold for the Sydney Olympics. Ivan gave a copy of the magazine. Ivan was teaching for Nadia Comaneci and Bart Conner’s gym. The powerhouse couple also owned International Gymnast Magazine with their colleague Paul Ziert. As Jon walked through the entry way with covers of International Gymnast holding Sports Illustrated an idea dawned on him. Make the package look like a magazine.
Drawing on his litigation experience and marketing concepts honed in the it field, Velie’s Visa Petition used a magazine layout to use pictures of the beneficiary in action, had a section to tell the story of the international employee like a description in an opening statement. Personifying and highlighting accomplishments and background. Another section tells the story of the American company and its need for international talent to compete. The brief works as a tool for the Immigration Official as it lays out the law and cross references the exhibits.
But Velie’s cases are not won on flash over substance. He has developed a strategy of utilizing top experts to interpret achievements and determine whether they meet immigration standards. Some of the top people in their various professions such as Venus Williams, actor Johnny Knoxville, Bart Conner, top military officials, CEO’s of industry leaders and many others have weighed in to assist Immigration Officials understand what evidence may mean and how it applies in a case.
Velie’s innovative drive has led him to speak around the world on how to come to America to invest and do business. In 2001, he spoke in Shanghai on the subject. He has assisted companies and individuals from numerous countries such as China, India, England, Australia, Korea, Ireland, Brazil, Russia among others to establish branch offices or merge with US companies. Velie has assisted with the structure, business planning, procuring property, hiring employees, financial forecasting, trademarking, asset protection and tax issues. Velie has also helped US companies and individuals move people and conduct business in China, Chile, Canada, Mexico, UK, India, Jamaica and others locales.
Jon’s expertise has resulted in numerous speaking engagements at the Sports Law Association, Society of Human Resource Managers, Law Schools of University of California at Berkeley, University of the Pacific, SMU and Oklahoma and colleges of Dartmouth, Georgia State and North Carolina as well as numerous corporate sessions.
Velie has partnered with Accentis to produce webinars on Immigration visas and Immigration compliance. Velie Law Firm Firm was a finalist for the 2011 Business Excellence Award, an international competition sponsored by ActionCoach for best overall company under 50 employees and won the Gold Medal for Best Law Firm in his home town of Norman, Oklahoma.
For almost twenty years, the duration of his legal career, Jon has devoted his efforts to defending the rights of the Cherokee and Seminole Freedmen in a series of actions called by US Congresswomen Diane Watson of California, the most significant civil rights case of the 21st Century . Jon’s representation of former slaves of some Indian Tribes, has resulted in numerous cases and arguments to Federal Courts including briefing to the US Supreme Court and appeared in articles in the New York Times, Time Magazine, Le Monde and others and television segments on 60 Minutes II, BBC and ABC News as well as speaking to Congress and many other forums.
Jon lives in Norman Oklahoma with his four children Gabriella, John, Chloe and Samantha. He is currently the Head Coach of Oklahoma University Rugby Sevens program and an inductee to the Oklahoma Rugby Hall of Fame.