Esther Contreras

Principal, Schaumburg
Phone: 847.734.8811

Esther Contreras is a principal in the Firm's Immigration Practice Group, and provides immigration solutions to corporate clients such as foreign investors, U.S.-based companies hiring foreign workers and multinational companies transferring foreign employees to the United States. Her clients span a wide range of industries, such as information technology, manufacturing, transportation and warehousing, financial services, health care, retail, mining, education, technical services and the arts. Ms. Contreras also represents executives, professionals, researchers, scientists and artists. Ms. Contreras' practice comprises all aspects of nonimmigrant visas, permanent residence, citizenship and worksite enforcement, including Form I-9, Employment Eligibility Verification, and E-Verify compliance.

Ms. Contreras is admitted to practice in Illinois and is actively involved in the American Immigration Lawyers Association (AILA), Chicago Society for Human Resource Management (SHRM), Coalition of Women's Initiatives in Law and Hispanic National Bar Association (HNBA). Ms. Contreras is a former Vice-Chair of the Chicago Bar Association's Immigration and Nationality Committee and a former board member of the University of Illinois College of Law Alumni Association. Ms. Contreras provides pro bono legal services for The Joffrey Ballet and indigent clients through Chicago's Legal Assistance Foundation.

Representative Matters

  • Counsel employers to understand and manage the risks related to visa and permanent residence sponsorship options, taking into account current government practices and their business' needs and preferences.

  • Represent international individual and corporate investors looking to set up operations in the United States to evaluate options and process work visas.

  • Assist multinational companies in developing optimal strategies to transfer employees from entities around the world to the United States.

  • Work with clients undergoing corporate restructuring, such as mergers, acquisitions and spin-offs, to understand their immigration-legal obligations, such as Form I-9 liability and compliance as well as continuation of work eligibility for foreign national employees.

  • Counsel employers on their immigration-related obligations to hiring and employment practices, such as complying with laws related to Form I-9 and E-Verify, as well as prohibitions on discrimination, document abuse, and the employment of unauthorized workers.

  • Obtain permanent residence for individual professionals such as artists, scientists and business professionals.


    • Co-authored chapters on "Immigration Law in Japan and United States (H-1B, L-1 and B-1)," Global Business Immigration Practice Guide, published by Matthew Bender, 2012
    • "Creating a Global Workforce - Transferring Non-U.S. Citizen Personnel to the United States", Business Law Today, co-author with Bryan Funai, January 2010


      American Immigration Lawyers Association (AILA) Fall Business Conference, October 2017

      Northwest Suburban Bar Association – Business & IP Committee, March 2017

      Sterling Education - Essentials of Employment Law, February 2017

      Mainstreet Organization of Realtors – International Real Estate Conference, January 2017

      I-9 Compliance for HR Professionals and Other Immigration Topics for Employers:

      · DuPage SHRM, November 2017

      · Northern Illinois SHRM, November 2017

      · Stateline SHRM, August 2017

      · Northern Illinois SHRM, January 2017

      · DeKalb County Association of HR Managers, January 2017

      · Decatur SHRM Annual Conference, October 2016

      · SHRM Racine and Kenosha Area Chapter, September 2016

      · Will Grundy SHRM, July 2016

      · Northwest Human Resources Council (NHRC), June 2016

      · Rock River HRPA, May 2016

      · South Suburban Cook HRA, May 2016

      Business Employer Workshop – "I-9 Compliance for Businesses", May 2016

      Hispanic National Bar Association (HNBA) Corporate Counsel Conference – "W-2 or 1099? Employee & Independent Contractor Issues in the Uber Age", March 2016

      "Terminations and Outplacement," presented with Nancy Sasamoto and Patricia Siderius, Managing Director, BPI, Inc., co-sponsored with BPI, Inc., March 2016

      American Immigration Lawyers Association (AILA) Business of Doing Business Immigration Conference – "Intro to Hiring Nonimmigrants", October 2015

      National Association for Law Placement (NALP) – "Visa Update 2015" Webinar, May 2015

      American Immigration Lawyers Association (AILA) Midwest Regional Conference – "Social Security and Tax Issues" Panel, March 2015

Practice Areas


  • Spanish
  • French


  • University of Illinois College of Law, J.D., 2008
  • Northwestern University, B.A., 2002
  • Universidad Catolica Argentina, - Law Exchange in Argentina, 2007


  • Illinois

Professional Activities

  • American Immigration Lawyers Association
  • Chicago Bar Association - Former Vice Chair, Immigration and Nationality Committee
  • Coalition of Women's Initiatives in Law
  • Hispanic National Bar Association
  • University of Illinois College of Law Alumni Association - Former Board Member, 2013-2014


  • Leading Lawyers - Emerging Lawyer, 2015-2018