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Nicolas Chavez

  • Managing Partner – Fort Worth

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Nicolas Chavez
Rated by Super Lawyers


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Biography

Nicolas Chavez is a co-founding partner of Chavez & Valko, LLP. Nick is Board Certified in Immigration and Nationality Law by the Texas Board of Legal Specialization. He is a recognized expert in the immigration and naturalization field, specializing in helping individuals obtain legal status or citizenship in the U.S. With over 20 years of immigration law experience, he has represented a spectrum of clients in securing their immigration status including a Grammy-nominated artist.

A native of El Paso, Nick grew up surrounded by immigration. Both of his parents immigrated to the U.S. from Chihuahua, Mexico. He earned his J.D. from the University of Houston Law Center in 2001, where he also served in the university’s immigration clinic under the tutelage of the late Professor Joseph Vail.

Nick has successfully litigated immigration cases before the U.S. immigration courts as well as the federal appellate courts and the Board of Immigration Appeals. He proudly served on the Amicus Curiae Committee for the American Immigration Lawyers Association (AILA) for seven years, advocating in court for legal interpretations that support immigrant rights.

He is regularly invited to speak at lawyer conferences and community events on various immigration topics. He has written numerous publications on immigration law and has been featured in radio and television shows to discuss immigration-related developments relevant to the community. In 2011, he was appointed as a legal advisor to the Consulate General of Mexico in Dallas, TX, responsible for advising the Consulate of important legal or policy changes affecting the immigrant community.

In 2022, Nick was selected as a Super Lawyer by Thomson Reuters, a distinction given to only 5% of nominated attorneys.

In 2020, Nick was nominated for and became a Fellow of the Texas Bar Foundation, one of the highest honors bestowed upon Texas lawyers for their excellent professionalism and dedication to justice in their communities.

Nick is also a published cartoonist. While in law school, he published his first legal cartoon in The National Jurist. “Chavez World” cartoons have been featured in Immigration Law Today (now VOICE), a national publication by AILA. As a legal practitioner, his experiences and insight into immigration naturally inform his subject matter. However, it’s the ironical and nonsensical nature of immigration law and policy that lead to the satire of his cartoons.

In 2018, Nick and his law partner Martin Valko founded Lawpilot, a cutting-edge case management software system for immigration law practitioners to assist them in managing their caseload effectively.

Education

  • University of Houston Law Center, Houston, Texas
    • J.D. – 2001
    • Honors: University of Houston Immigration Law Clinic, 2000
  • The University of Texas, El Paso, Texas
    • B.A.
    • Honors: With Honors
    • Major: Criminal Justice

Professional Associations

  • Super Lawyers – Top Rated Immigration Lawyer, 2022
  • Fellow of the Texas Bar Foundation
  • American Immigration Lawyers Association (AILA) and AILA Texas Chapter
  • Texas Unauthorized Practice of Law Committee, Dallas, TX, 2004 to Present
  • Immigration Legal Advisor, Consulate General of Mexico, Dallas, 2011 to Present
  • University of Texas CLE Immigration Law Conference Committee, 2010-12, 2015 –Present
  • State Bar of Texas Immigration CLE Planning Committee, 2015 to 2018
  • Leadership Fort Worth, TX, Class of 2011
  • Fort Worth Chamber of Commerce
  • Dallas Bar Association
  • Immigration & Nationality Law Section, State Bar of Texas
  • AILA Amicus Curiae Committee, 2011 to 2018
  • AILA USCIS Dallas Field Office Liaison Committee, 2007

Classes & Seminars

  • Law Practice Management in Challenging Times: Tips and Strategies for a Successful and Well-Balanced Business, AILA Texas Chapter Spring Conference, El Paso, TX (2022).
  • Law Practice Management: Thriving In The Post-COVID-19 World. State Bar of Texas, TexasBarCLE, Immigration Law 101 Conference (2022).
  • Post-Apocalyptic Hot Topics in Family Immigration, UTCLE Annual Conference on Immigration and Nationality Law. Austin, TX (2021)
  • Don’t Gamble With The Future: Immigration Consequences of Drug Convictions. National Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers. NACDL’s 14th Annual Defending Modern Drug Cases Seminar. Las Vegas, NV (2021)
  • What to Consider When Taking an Immigration Case. State Bar of Texas Annual Meeting. Dallas, TX (2020)
  • Federal Court and BIA Update. UTCLE Annual Conference on Immigration and Nationality Law (2020)
  • Practice Management for Immigration Attorneys. UTCLE Annual Conference on Immigration and Nationality Law. Austin, TX (2019)
  • Family Basics. State Bar of Texas, TexasBarCLE, Immigration Law 101 Conference. Houston, TX (2019)
  • Emerging Inadmissibility Issues. State Bar of Texas, TexasBarCLE, 16th Annual Advanced Immigration Law Conference. Houston, TX (2018)
  • Hidden Grounds for Visa Denial. UTCLE Annual Conference on Immigration and Nationality Law. Austin, TX (2018)
  • Immigration Fraud and Remedies. UTCLE Annual Conference on Immigration and Nationality Law. Austin, TX (2017)
  • Jewish Latino Advocacy: Advancing Our Common Interests, AJC Jewish/Latino Alliance Panel. Dallas, TX (2017)
  • Law Firm Management, Marketing & Best Practices, 1st Annual CIL CLE Conference, Orlando, FL (2017)
  • Overcoming and Preventing Marriage Fraud Findings, UTCLE Annual Conference on Immigration and Nationality Law. Austin, TX (2016)
  • Mardi Gras and Motions: Filing Motions Before EOIR. AILA Texas Chapter Fall Conference, New Orleans, LA (2016)
  • Ethics and Practice Management. State Bar of Texas, TexasBarCLE, Immigration Law 101 Conference. Houston, TX (2016)
  • Federal Case Law Update. UTCLE Annual Conference on Immigration and Nationality Law. Austin, TX (2015)
  • I-601 v. I-601A Waivers. State Bar of Texas, TexasBarCLE, 13th Annual Advanced Immigration Law Course. Houston, TX (2015)
  • Whose Burden is it Anyway? AILA National Conference. Boston, MA (2014)
  • Federal Court and BIA Update. AILA National Conference. San Francisco, CA (2013)
  • Strategies in Complicated I-751 Cases. AILA National Conference. Nashville, TN (2012)
  • Hot Topics in Family-Based Adjustments. UTCLE Annual Conference on Immigration and Nationality Law. Austin, TX (2012)
  • Strategies for Success in Problematic Naturalization Cases. AILA Audio Seminar (2011)
  • A Mock USCIS I-130/I-485 Adjustment of Status Interview. UTCLE Annual Conference on Immigration and Nationality Law. Austin, TX (2011)
  • Yippee-Kai-Yay, This Is How It’s Done Before the BIA: Appellate and Motions Practice before the BIA. AILA Texas Chapter Spring Conference. Oklahoma City, OK (2011)
  • Review of I-751s in Removal Proceedings. AILA National Conference. Washington, D.C. (2010)
  • When Marriages Go South. AILA Texas Chapter Fall Conference, Playa de Carmen, Mexico (2010)
  • A Practical Guide to Removal Proceedings: A Two-Day Workshop and Training on Removal, Relief and Adjustment. UTCLE Immigration Law Conference. Dallas, TX (2010)
  • Unauthorized & Unethical Practices of Immigration Law – Concerns, Tips and How to Get Involved. AILA Texas Chapter Fall Conference. Puerto Vallarta, Mexico (2008)
  • Removal Proceedings: The New Practice Rules. UTCLE Annual Conference on Immigration and Nationality Law. San Antonio, TX (2008)
  • Immigration Law & Employer Compliance, Sterling Institute CLE Seminar, Dallas, TX (2008)
  • Knocking on Heaven’s Door: “Arriving Aliens” and “Applicants for Admission.” AILA National Conference. New York City (2022)

Published Works

  • Chavez, N., & Miller, A. “Don’t Gamble with the Future: Immigration Consequences of Drug Convictions,” Defending Modern Drug Cases Seminar (NACDL 2021
  • Chavez, N., Gunn, T., & Vickner Hough, H. “Filing for Adjustment or Naturalization with a Disabled Applicant: Special Issues You’re Likely to Encounter and How to Overcome Them,” U.S. Citizenship and Naturalization Law Toolbox: Essential Resources for Representing Clients Seeking to Acquire, Prove, or Relinquish U.S. Citizenship, Including Practical Forms, Tips, and Samples (AILA 2021, 1st Ed).
  • Chavez, N., Gunn, T., & Vickner Hough, H. “Filing for Adjustment or Naturalization with a Disabled Applicant: Special Issues You’re Likely to Encounter and How to Overcome Them,” Immigration Practice Pointers: Tips for Handling Complex Cases 820. (AILA 2019-20 Ed.)
  • Chavez, N., & Vega, R., “Sneaky Inadmissibility Issues At The U.S. Consular Office: Alien Smuggling, Drug and Alcohol Abuse, Gang Affiliations,” TexasBarCLE, 16th Annual Advanced Immigration Law Course Book, Chapter 11, State Bar of Texas (2018)
  • Chavez, N., & Mugambi, I., “Consultation Scenarios Involving Questionable and Fraudulent Marriages: Practice Tips Before Taking on a Marriage-Based Immigration Case,” University of Texas at Austin School of Law CLE Immigration & Nationality Conference (2016)
  • Chavez, N., & Curiel, R., “The Art of the Initial Consultation in Immigration Practice,” TexasBarCLE, Immigration Law 101 Course Book, Chapter 8, State Bar of Texas (2016)
  • Chavez, N., “Overview and Recent Updates on Provisional Unlawful Presence Waivers,” TexasBarCLE, 13th Annual Advanced Immigration Law Course Book, Chapter 8, State Bar of Texas (2015)
  • Chavez, N., Mendez, M., & Smith, P., “Whose Turn Is it?: Allocation of Burdens of Proof in Removal Proceedings,” Immigration Practice Pointers: Tips for Handling Complex Cases 503 (AILA 2014-15 Ed.)
  • Chavez, N., Crow, M., & Graves Jr., W., “Recent Developments and Strategic Considerations in § 212(h) Waiver Practice,” Immigration Practice Pointers: Tips for Handling Complex Cases 664 (AILA 2013-14 Ed.)
  • Burton, J., & Chavez, N., “Removal of Conditional Status in Immigration Court: Shifting Jurisdictions and Burdens,” Immigration Practice Pointers: Tips for Handling Complex Cases 138 (AILA 2012-13 Ed.)
  • Chavez, N., & Nayar, L., “Happily Ever After?: Effects of Divorce on Spousal-Based Immigration Cases,” University of Texas at Austin School of Law CLE Immigration & Nationality Law Conference (2012)
  • Chavez, N., Haynes, J., & Smith, D., “I-751s in Removal Proceedings: Lessons on How to Stop Worrying and Love the Law,” Immigration Practice Pointers: Tips for Handling Complex Cases 586 (AILA 2010-11 Ed.)

Specialties and Certifications

  • Board Certified in Immigration and Nationality Law, Texas Board of Legal Specialization

Representative Cases

  • City of El Cenizo v. Texas, 890 F.3d 164 (5th Cir. 2018)*
  • Mata v. Sessions, 678 F. App’x 198 (5th Cir. 2017)*
  • Marques v. Lynch, 834 F.3d 549 (5th Cir. 2016)
  • Crane v. Johnson, 783 F.3d 244 (5th Cir. 2015)*
  • Villas at Parkside Partners v. City of Farmers Branch, Tex., 726 F.3d 524 (5th Cir. 2013)*
  • Gomez-Perez v. Lynch, 829 F.3d 323 (5th Cir. 2016)*
  • Nino v. Holder, 690 F.3d 691 (5th Cir. 2012)
  • Lopez-Dubon v. Holder, 609 F.3d 642 (5th Cir. 2010)
  • *On behalf of Amicus Curiae, American Immigration Lawyers Association