These days, it is difficult to distinguish between whether we are trusting our instincts or being paranoid as practitioners.  Not too long ago, I received an RFE on an O-1 petition I had prepared for a television director.  It was short with just one document requested. I drafted a very brief response and had it ready to send through the antiquated fax machine when something niggled on my mind: Did my response adequately address the request?  My instincts (or was it paranoia?) told me “no” and I decided to circulate my concerns to the AILA ACES listserv.

“What is ‘ACES’?” you may be asking yourself. ACES stands for “Athletics, Culture, Entertainment, and Science.”  It was initially formed as an AILA liaison committee to raise concerns specific to these fields at a liaison level but has more recently evolved into an interest group.  The best thing about ACES, other than the access it provides to the top experts in these fields, is that it is completely free as a member of AILA.

Within five minutes of sending my query to the listserv, I had multiple, substantive comprehensive responses from the top immigration attorneys in film and television. My instincts had been correct. I was not being paranoid. My response was not adequate.  I needed more, so I spent the better part of a day negotiating with the television studio to provide my client what he needed. The case was approved shortly thereafter.

Thus, my adoration and appreciation for the experts on the ACES listserv was born. If you have a practice involving Os, Ps, artists, entertainers or others of extraordinary ability, it can be extremely difficult to find the law on point for your case. So much of it is in the absence of regulation and instead found in case law or in practical experience. The expertise ACES offers makes it immeasurably helpful.

My experience got the selfish side of me thinking, so often only one or two panels of a conference are dedicated to these fields – hardly enough to scratch the surface. What if AILA could dedicate a whole conference to the ACES universe? What if AILA could gather the experts on these subject matters for an advanced-level full day conference? What if AILA could hold the conference in Los Angeles, the center of arts and entertainment, film and television? Guess what? AILA can!

On August 2nd, please join me and some of the top immigration attorneys in the field for the first AILA conference with a program dedicated exclusively to the fields of arts, entertainment and emerging niche fields in sunny Los Angeles. It will be an extraordinary conference with unique opportunities to learn from the best and brightest O-1 caliber attorneys. See you there!