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Mark D. Koestler


Co-chair, Business Immigration

Phone: 212.715.9385 Fax: 212.715.8182 New York

Mark D. Koestler, Co-chair of the Business Immigration Group, counsels and represents advertising agencies, banks and financial services institutions, hedge funds, corporations, and other entities in the hiring, transfer and retention of foreign national executives, strategizing the optimal solutions to their executive, management, professional and workforce needs. Mr. Koestler works with clients to develop their global workforce planning and mobility strategies, advising them on navigating complex immigration laws and policies, and provides immigration counsel in the context of mergers, acquisitions and spinoffs, to strategize and to structure these transactions to ensure compliance with U.S. immigration law. He also assists clients in establishing and maintaining employment verification programs in compliance with the rules and regulations governing documentation and record keeping, and defends those facing compliance audits and charges of noncompliance, in particular, Immigration and Customs Enforcement I-9 audits and Department of Labor LCA (Labor Condition Application) audits.

Mr. Koestler advises and represents more than one-third of the 50 largest U.S. advertising agencies in connection with the hiring and retention of extraordinary talent at all levels of their organizations, from CEOs, CFOs and presidents to junior art directors and account executives, including numerous Cannes Lions, CLIOs and D&AD Awards winners. His clients also include a broad range of organizations – high-profile U.S. and European fashion and luxury brands, leading global banks and financial institutions, and Fortune 500 companies across diverse industries such as technology, insurance, media and communications, as well as numerous established and startup hedge funds. Mr. Koestler also represents many of the leading talents in the entertainment world, including some of the country’s most important theater companies, as well as individual actors, singers, directors, producers, writers and designers whose extraordinary abilities have garnered them Tonys, Oliviers, Oscars, Emmys and Grammys.

Among his most notable work, Mr. Koestler developed and oversaw the global workforce strategy in connection with the acquisition by one of the top five global advertising holding companies of another leading advertising holding company and its subsidiaries. He also advised a top-10 global bank in its acquisition of a U.S.-based regional bank, and a U.S.-based multinational media corporation in the spinoff of two of its companies into independent entities, assisting the companies in maintaining full immigration law compliance. Mr. Koestler has worked with more than 50 major theater productions – more than half of which are on Broadway – in obtaining work authorizations for foreign talent, allowing them to take on both long- and short-term stage engagements.

Mr. Koestler has served in numerous leadership roles in the American Immigration Lawyers Association, including as chair of the 1,000-member New York Chapter. At the national level, he has served as a mentor for Extraordinary Ability cases for the past 12 years, as well as a member of AILA’s board of governors and on its U.S. Customs and Border Protection Liaison and Advocacy Committee and its U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services Ombudsman Liaison Committee. He has also served as co-chair of the New York Chapter’s Corporate Practice Committee and vice-chair of its Department of Labor Liaison Committee.

His work in business immigration law over more than 20 years has earned Mr. Koestler his well-deserved reputation as one the country’s leading immigration lawyers. Human Resource Executive consistently ranks Mr. Koestler as one of its top 20 business immigration lawyers in the country. He has also repeatedly been recognized as a leading practitioner in business immigration by Chambers Global (2006-2017), Chambers USA (2006-2017), Legal 500 US (2009-2017) and Best Lawyers (2001-2018). In 2017, Chambers USA quoted clients describing him as a "terrific lawyer" who is "thoughtful, easy to talk to, practical and down-to-earth."

Mr. Koestler is a frequent contributor to legal and industry publications, including Ad Age, New York Law Journal, The Metropolitan Corporate Counsel and Daily Variety. He has been quoted extensively in a number of newspapers and periodicals, including The Wall Street Journal, USA Today and New York magazine, and has appeared on CBS News and Fox News.

J.D., cum laude, Brooklyn Law School, 1991
  • American Jurisprudence Award, Trial Advocacy, 1991
A.B., Hamilton College, 1988
New York, 1992
    -Human Resource Executive, Most Powerful Employment Attorneys (2011-2017)
    -Woodward/White Inc.’s Best Lawyers (2001-2018)
    -Chambers and Partners’ Chambers Global (2006-2017)
    -Chambers and Partners’ Chambers USA (2006-2017)
    -Legalease’s Legal 500 US (2009-2017)
    -Thomson Reuters’ New York Super Lawyers (2006-2013, 2015-2016)
    -International Who’s Who of Business Lawyers (2003-2015)
    -Law Business Research Limited, Who's Who Legal, One of the World’s Leading Corporate Immigration Lawyers (2016, 2017)
    -American Immigration Lawyers Association
    -Mentor for Extraordinary Ability cases (2003-present)
    -Customs and Border Protection Liaison and Advocacy Committee (2011-2012; 2006-2007; 2005-2006)
    -DHS/USCIS Ombudsman Liaison Committee (2004-2005; 2003-2004)
    -Annual Conference Planning Committee (2002-2003)
    New York Chapter
    -Chapter Chair (2003-2004)
    -Vice Chair (2002-2003)
    -Secretary (2001-2002)
    -Treasurer (2000-2001)
    -Co-chair, Corporate Practice Committee (1999-2000)
    -Vice Chair, Department of Labor Liaison Committee (1998-1999)