Melissa Nonaka has always had an unwavering passion for the exclusive practice of
immigration law and finds joy in navigating the ever-changing immigration rules,
developing creative legal strategies, and providing thoughtful and individualized client

Melissa was previously a member of the LAC team prior to attending law school, and has
returned to the firm after over a decade of practicing immigration law based in
Washington, DC at both a multi-disciplinary international law firm as well as boutique
immigration law firms. Melissa’s practice focuses on counseling public and private
companies, multinational corporations, start-ups and nonprofit organizations on both short
and long-term options for hiring and retaining foreign national employees through
sponsorship for temporary nonimmigrant visas such as H, L, E, TN, and O, as well as for
immigrant visas/permanent residence based on qualifications under the EB-1, EB-2
National Interest Waiver, and EB-2/EB-3 PERM Labor Certification categories. She also
represents individuals and their family members in seeking permanent resident status and
naturalization in the United States.

As an active member of the American Immigration Lawyers Association (AILA), Melissa has
served on various national committees, to include the U.S. Department of Labor (DOL)
Liaison Committee, the U.S. Department of State (DOS) Liaison Committee, and the
Diversity, Equity and Inclusion (DEI) Committee. She is excited to continue her service to
AILA members this year on the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) Field
Operations Committee and the DEI Committee.

While in law school in Washington, DC, Melissa served as a Legal Extern for DOL's Board of
Alien Labor Certification Appeals (BALCA), where she drafted appellate-level decisions for
the Office of Administrative Law Judges (OALJ); served as a Student Attorney in the
Families and the Law Clinic at her law school, where she represented victims of domestic
violence in securing civil protection orders and immigration benefits under the Violence
Against Women Act (VAWA); and volunteered at the Asian Pacific American Legal Resource
Center (APALRC). While in DC, Melissa also served on the Board of Directors for the Asian
Pacific American Bar Association of DC (APABA-DC) and dedicated her time to pro bono
service by serving as an expert mentor for the DC Bar Pro Bono Center’s Immigration Legal
Advice & Referral Clinic.

  • American Immigration Lawyers Association (AILA)
  • Pan Asian Lawyers of San Diego (PALSD)
  • National Asian Pacific American Bar Association (NAPABA)
  • Fluent in Japanese


Bar Admissions

  • Washington, D.C.
  • Maryland
  • U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia
  • U.S. District Court for the District of Maryland


  • Juris Doctor and Certificate in Comparative and International Law
    The Catholic University of America, Columbus School of Law
    Washington, DC
  • Bachelor of Arts in Psychology with minor in Hispanic Studies
    Boston College
    Chestnut Hill, MA