Making a Good Impression on the Reviewing Officers: Practical Tips from Former USCIS and DOS Officials

Making a Good Impression on the Reviewing Officers: Practical Tips from Former USCIS and DOS Officials

Making a Good Impression on the Reviewing Officers: Practical Tips from Former USCIS and DOS Officials - Recording (CLE Included)
Live Event Date: 7/12/2022
Format Length CLE Eligible
Web Seminar 90 min. Yes

Do you ever wonder what the USCIS or DOS officer reviewing a case is really thinking? Our panel of former USCIS and DOS officers will provide best practices learned from their time in government service and leave plenty of time for questions and answers.

Featured Topics:

  • How to Organize a USCIS Filing
  • Importance (or Non-Importance) of Cover Letters, Tables of Contents, and Supporting Letters
  • The Value of Good Highlighting
  • Pitfalls to Avoid at a Consular Interview
  • One Thing We Wish Attorneys and Clients Had Known About Our Jobs

AILA Membership Benefit – Access to Free Seminar Recordings (CLE Credit Available for $35)
Enjoy access to free seminar recordings (from October 2020–present) as an AILA Member. AILA encourages live attendance for those wishing to ask the speaker questions. CLE credit is included with purchase for live participants.

Recordings will be available approximately two weeks after the live event date. AILA members can access these seminars, with no CLE credit, for free. Recordings are CLE eligible in most jurisdictions and an administration fee is required to obtain CLE credit.

Contact us at or visit AILA’s Web Seminar Recordings page for more information about receiving CLE credit for a web seminar recording.

Lieselot Whitbeck (DL), Stuart, FL 

Lieselot Whitbeck is a global immigration attorney with Hunton Andrews Kurth, LLP. She is a member of the AILA Global Migration Section and Rome District Chapter and currently serves as co-chair of the Distance Learning Committee. From 2008 to 2010 she was a USICS Adjudications Officer at the Boston Field Office.

Stephen R. Pattison, AILA DOS Liaison Committee, Portsmouth, NH

Steve Pattison is a nationally recognized expert in US immigration law, Department of State policy and procedures, and consular operations. A graduate of Southern Methodist University in Dallas (1975) and the University of Texas Law School in Austin (1978), Steve practiced corporate litigation with the Houston firm Dyche and Wright before moving to Washington, DC to join the US Foreign Service in 1979. Steve had a distinguished twenty-eight-year career with the State Department, serving as a consular officer and manager in postings in Asia, the Middle East, and Europe. He also served in the Visa Office and the Bureaus of Near Eastern and Inter-American Affairs in the State Department. His final posting was as Minister-Counselor for Consular Affairs at the U.S. Embassy in Berlin. n June 2014, Steve opened the Law Offices of Stephen R. Pattison, LLC and moved his practice in June 2017 to Portsmouth, New Hampshire. Steve is a member of the State Bar of Texas and an active member of the American Immigration Lawyers Association (AILA). He was a founding member of AILA’s Rome District Chapter (AILA-RDC), serving as Treasurer, Secretary, Vice Chair, and Chair. He currently serves as a member of AILA’s Business Immigration Committee and previously served for five years on AILA’s Department of State Liaison Committee.

Aaron Karnell, Rockville, MD

Aaron Karnell is a senior attorney with Erickson Immigration Group. He was a U.S. Department of State Consular Officer for eleven years. His Foreign Service posts included Dar es Salaam, Gaborone, Guadalajara, Matamoros, Belfast, and a detail to Customs and Border Protection in Washington, DC. Mr. Karnell specializes in non-immigrant L, H, O, and B1/B2 matters, as well as CBP admission and entry issues, visa revocations, NIV waivers, strategies for dealing with administrative processing, and other issues.

Sonia S. Figueroa, Los Angeles, CA

Sonia is a sole practitioner at SSFL Law, APC. She has been practicing immigration law exclusively since 2014 focusing on family immigration, humanitarian relief and citizenship. She is a US Army veteran and former USCIS adjudications officer. Sonia regularly volunteers at local legal clinics and with the AILA’s Military Assistance Program. She is also a member of the AILA So. Cal LGBT Liaison/LACBA EC LGBT Liaison committee. She received her J.D. from Loyola Law School (2007) and is licensed by the Superior Court of California.

The speaker's/author's views do not necessarily represent the views of AILA, nor do they constitute legal advice or representation. Practice tips provided are based on the speaker's/author's experiences and the current state of the law. Please be sure to conduct legal research and analysis for your unique situation as the law changes quickly and experiences may differ from your own.

Eligible participants can receive up to 1.8 CLE credit hours. AILA will administer CLE credit only to individuals who register and log into the web seminar. AILA cannot verify your attendance and participation in this program unless you register directly for the web seminar and use your name to log in to participate in the program. Therefore, persons who log in or listen in on the web seminar as part of a group will not be able to obtain CLE credit.

Please note that your jurisdiction may limit the amount of distance learning credit you can earn. To view details on your jurisdiction's credit restrictions and CLE requirements, visit the CLE Center.

AILA has filed for CLE and specialized credit in all jurisdictions with mandatory CLE requirements. For details about specific approvals, contact us at

  • AILA applies for accreditation upon attorneys’ request after participation for the following states: AR, DE, IA, ID, KS, KY, LA, ME, MN, MS, OR, TN and WY. Programs are typically approved.
  • Florida and Rhode Island - Attorneys must apply on their own for approval of seminars in FL and RI. Programs are typically approved.
  • The OnDemand Recording format does not qualify for CLE credit in the following jurisdictions: MO and PR. Please note that your jurisdiction may limit OnDemand credit based on the date of the original presentation. View the OnDemand Downloadable Expiration Chart for more details.

To receive CLE credit for the live event, attorneys must record web seminar attendance and the CLE code provided within one week of the web seminar date via webCLE.

Contact us at or visit AILA’s Web Seminar Recordings page for more information about receiving CLE credit for a seminar recording.