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About me

In 2008 I celebrated my 25th year as a lawyer. Over the years, I've tried to keep in mind the words of a mentor who told me, "A client comes to you with a problem that needs to be solved. Anyone can see a client's problems; but it takes a creative lawyer to find a way over, under, around, or through the barriers." In more than two decades of litigating in federal and state courts; representing refugees; and assisting business executives with their US visas, I've honored that mentor's vision.


Languages spoken: French, Spanish

Practice areas


  1. Litigation: 60%
    31 years
  2. Corporate: 30%
    33 years
  3. Immigration: 5%
    27 years
  4. Asylum: 5%
    27 years



Hourly ($250-400/hour), Fixed (sometimes)

Payment types:

Cash, Check, Credit card

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Contact info

Nelson Madden Black LLP

5 Bryant Park
27th Floor
New York, NY, 10018


NYCurrently registered 198807/10/2016
ILAdministrative - Not Authorized to Practice198305/17/2016
We have not found any instances of professional misconduct for this lawyer.
Avvo contributions
Legal answers
Award nameGrantorDate granted
Best Editor AwardNorthwestern Journal of International Law & Business1983
Best Brief Award - Regional LevelPhilip C. Jessup International Moot Court Competition1982
Work experience
TitleCompany nameDuration
Founding PartnerNelson Madden Black LLP2016 - Present
Attorney/OwnerJonathan Robert Nelson, P.C.2008 - Present
PartnerRae & Nelson, LLP1999 - 2000
Attorney/OwnerLaw Offices of Jonathan Robert Nelson1991 - 2007
Associate AttorneyFried Frank Harris Shriver & Jacobson1987 - 1991
Associate AttorneyChapman & Cutler1983 - 1987
Association namePosition nameDuration
Advocates InternationalMember1998 - 2008
Inter-American Bar AssociationCommittee Vice President1996 - 2008
Inter-American Bar AssociationMember1992 - 2008
Christian Legal SocietyMember1991 - 2008
American Immigration Lawyers Association (New York chapter)Member1990 - 2008
Legal cases
Case nameOutcome
Fifth Avenue Presbyterian Church v. City of New YorkInjunction issued against City of New York
See all legal cases 
Publication nameTitleDate
Interpreter ReleasesShaking the Pillars: An Asylum Applicant Shakes Loose Some Unusual Relief2006
Brooklyn Law ReviewJudge-Made Law and the Presumption of Arbitrability1992
School nameMajorDegreeGraduated
Fletcher School of Law & Diplomacy (Tufts University)International business relationsMA - Master of Arts1984
Northwestern University School of LawLawJD - Juris Doctor1983
Yale UniversityN/ABA - Bachelor of Arts1978
Speaking engagements
Conference nameTitleDate
Synod AssemblyStatus of Immigration Reform Legislation2007
2007 Annual ConferenceRepresenting Immigrants in a Shifting Legal Landscape: Immigration Options for Undocumented Aliens2007
Section of Individual Rights and ResponsibilitiesFortress America: Asylum and Refugees2006
SeminarUnas Oportunidades por Inmigracion en los EE.UU.1996
Panel DiscussionFemale Genital Mutilation as a Ground for Asylum Claims1996
Quito ConferenceProyectos en cambio de las leyes inmigratorias en los EE.UU.1995
Section of Litigation Annual MeetingRepresenting asylum seekers detained in Harlingen, Texas1991
Pro Bono Representation SeminarRepresenting Haitian Refugees as a Volunteer1991
Annual MeetingDebate on Mandatory Continuing Legal Education1986