LAKSHMI CHALLA, Managing Attorney
Lakshmi Challa has practiced immigration law exclusively for over twenty years. Her law firm, Challa Law Group, is headquartered in Richmond, VA, and has three offices: one in Morrisville, NC and an affiliate office in Hyderabad, India. She was recently re-appointed by the office of the Virginia Attorney General as Special Counsel on immigration matters (9th appointment). She has also taught immigration compliance for university personnel at the University of Richmond. Ms. Challa obtained her law degree from the University of Richmond in 1995 and earned a B.A. from Andhra University in India in 1988.
Ms. Challa has handled all aspects of employment and family-based immigration law, including extensive experience in organizing and preparing high-volume employment based petitions and permanent residency applications. She also advises clients on visa processing at the consular level and meets regularly with consular officials. Ms. Challa represents clients in Department of Labor investigations and advises employers on immigration and I-9 compliance.
She has spoken by invitation to the Virginia State Bar, colleges and universities on immigration issues as well as advised the State Council of Higher Education for Virginia (SCHEV) on Virginia Domicile Guidelines. She was invited to serve on President Obama’s White House Roundtable for Innovation and Immigration and Senator Stole’s Illegal Immigration Task Force. She accompanied both Governor Warner and Governor Kaine’s trade delegation to India, presenting with the Virginia Economic Development Authority on the legal and immigration issues impacting Indian companies when they expand to the U.S. In 2016, she traveled with the U.S. Department of Commerce’s SelectUSA India Roadshow, sharing the stage with Consular Officials in five different Indian cities. In addition to sharing her expertise with groups across the world, Ms. Challa has a strong local presence, educating chambers about new immigration legislation on the federal and state levels. She is often consulted by local media to comment on local immigration issues.
On a national level she has worked with some of the largest computer consulting associations in the U.S., including the National Association of Computer Consulting Businesses (NACCB), ITAA (Information Technology Association of America) and TANA Business Section (a national association of Indian-owned businesses in the U.S.). In her capacity as Legislative Marshall for NACCB Lobby Day on Capitol Hill, she has also met directly with congressional representatives on issues relating to immigration law and policy. In addition, she spoke by invitation at the regional conference of the National Association of Foreign Student Advisors on immigration issues significant to college and university communities. She has also been invited to speak at both US and Indian universities (IITs) on immigration options for transfer to the U.S. She is a regular contributor to many monthly publications regarding immigration strategies for the global transfer of employees. Her lectures have been referenced in a number of national and international publications. Ms. Challa was invited to serve as a panelist at the Triangle Business Journal’s 2012 International Global Summit in Raleigh, North Carolina. She was also invited to speak as a panelist for the Connected Women of North Carolina’s Signature Event.
She has had excessive positive influence on her local community. She was the 2012 Henrico County Community Leader of the year as well as an honoree of the Influential Women of Virginia, presented by Virginia Lawyers Weekly. She supports women’s issues and emphasizes women’s health. Ms. Challa was an honorary chair for the 2013 Pink Ribbon Society’s Breast Cancer Awareness Tea and Chair for the 2013 Go Red’s “Open Your Heart” Committee’s North Carolina Chapter, and the 2014 chair for Go Red “Open Your Heart” Committee’s Virginia Chapter. She is Vice Chair of the Virginia Commonwealth Health Systems Board of Directors and a Chair of Bollywood Goes Red, an annual event benefitting the American Heart Association. Over the course of 2015, she took part in the Sorenson Political Leaders Institute for civic engagement sponsored by the University of Virginia. In April of 2016, she was selected by the YWCA of Richmond as the 2016 OWA (Outstanding Women Awards) Honoree in Business for her significant accomplishments as a business owner and leader, as well as her selfless commitment to educating organizations on new immigration legislation.
Her community connections translate well with the firm’s pro bono efforts. She has partnered with the Virginia Poverty Law Center, Catholic Charities and the University of Richmond in developing an immigration clinic that assists victims of domestic violence and unaccompanied minor children with their immigration needs. She also assists religious institutions with immigration sponsorship for their religious workers. In addition to receiving the John C. Kenny Pro Bono Award by the Richmond Bar Association, she was nominated for the 2014 Lewis F. Powell Pro Bono Award by the Virginia State Bar.
John Millburn is an associate attorney at Challa Law with previous experience working at a boutique immigration law office in Beaverton, Oregon. He is a member of the Ohio State Bar and is authorized to practice immigration law nationwide. He has been involved in business and family based immigration matters, including:
- Alien of extraordinary ability petition; Outstanding researcher petitioner, National Interest Waiver Petition
- PERM based immigration petition
- L-1A and L-1B
- Religious worker petition
- Investor immigration
- B-2 and F-1 Extension of Status or Change of Status application
- Family based immigration (including I-601A waivers)
- I-751 – Removal of conditional residence
- Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA)
- Naturalization application
John earned his Juris Doctor in 2013, graduating cum laude from the Cleveland-Marshall College of Law at Cleveland State University. His law degree is complemented with a Bachelor of Science in Business Management from Utah Valley University. During law school, John clerked at the Department of Justice: Executive Office for Immigration Review (EOIR) in Cleveland, Ohio. While with the Immigration Court, John was responsible for performing complex research and drafting judicial orders. John also received an externship with the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) chief counsel’s office in Cleveland, Ohio where he was responsible for performing research and drafting legal briefs on a variety of immigration law issues.
When not assisting clients, John enjoys spending time with his wife and four children: one girl and three boys. He is a big fan of the “greatest sport on earth” and hopes to visit all of the Major League Baseball stadiums in the country one day.
Brooke Cheng is an associate attorney in the North Carolina office for Challa Law Group. She earned her Juris Doctor in 2015 from the Thomas R. Kline School of Law at Drexel in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. She is admitted to the North Carolina Bar and is authorized to practice immigration law nationwide.
Brooke has represented clients in multiple immigration courts and circuits in North Carolina, Georgia, Pennsylvania and Connecticut. During law school, Brooke was a student member of the American Immigration Lawyers Association (AILA) and focused on immigration courses. In 2013 Brooke studied International Law and European Law through Temple Law’s International Global Scholars Program, a study abroad program in Rome, Italy. As a summer legal intern in 2013 and 2014 Brooke also worked with a boutique family based immigration law firm and worked on specialty immigration waivers.
Throughout law school, her volunteer work and internships were concentrated on serving underrepresented immigrant communities. Brooke was a volunteer at HIAS Pennsylvania, a nonprofit which provides legal, resettlement, citizenship, and supportive services to immigrants, refugees, and asylum seekers from all backgrounds in order to ensure their fair treatment and full integration into American society. Brooke also worked at the Irish Immigration Clinic, providing legal support on a regular basis, in conjunction with volunteer pro bono immigration attorneys.
Brooke also earned a bachelor’s degree in International Relations with an East Asian Concentration and a double minor in Japanese and Japanese Cultural Studies from North Carolina State University. She has studied abroad at the top university in Taiwan, Taiwan National University (國立臺灣大學), and is interested in international travel and cultural exchange. Prior to her law career, Brooke taught conversational English for two years to students located all over the world.
After five years in Pennsylvania, Brooke returned to her home in North Carolina. She thinks the food from “up north” can’t beat sweet tea and southern cooking. She is an avid reader and believes that if you can’t travel on a regular basis, a book is the next best escape.