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), currently serving as Chair of the Social Security Administration Committee, the Coalition of Women's Initiatives in Law, and serves on the fundraising committee of the 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

  • Secured L-1 approval for a General Manager of a newly established subsidiary of a Japanese investor after an E-2 visa, prepared by another attorney, had been denied.

  • Counseled an E-2 Treaty Investor on the immigration consequences in light of their publicly traded Japanese parent company's constantly fluctuating ownership.

  • Successfully registered an E-1 Treaty Trader and assisted the sole-employee of the U.S. entity in seeking visa approval notwithstanding only a recent history of investment in the United States.

  • Utilized a little-known legal provision that allowed a company's employee and his family, which included a daughter who would have reached 21 years of age and would otherwise no longer have been able to immigrate with her family, to preserve a Western Hemisphere Priority Date from before 1977 through the employee's wife's now deceased father so that the entire family could immigrate immediately.


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


    • Hispanic National Bar Association (HNBA) Corporate Counsel Conference – "W-2 or 1099? Employee & Independent Contractor Issues in the Uber Age" (2016)
    • National Association for Law Placement (NALP) – "Visa Update 2015" Webinar (2015)
    • American Immigration Lawyers Association (AILA) Midwest Regional Conference – "Social Security and Tax Issues" Panel (2015)
    • American Immigration Lawyers Association (AILA) Business of Doing Business Immigration Conference – "Intro to Hiring Nonimmigrants" (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 Committee
  • Coalition of Women's Initiatives in Law
  • Hispanic National Bar Association
  • University of Illinois Law Alumni Board - Former Board Member, 2013-2014


  • Leading Lawyers - Emerging Lawyer, 2015-2017