Teodora Purcell – Partner

Teodora (Teo) Purcell is a Partner with Larrabee Albi Coker, LLP, with almost 20 years of diverse immigration legal experience.  An immigrant herself, she has a passion to help people and advises on global mobility and business immigration issues. Ms. Purcell advocates for the rights and opportunities of people of diverse backgrounds and counsels corporate and individual clients on immigration compliance. She devises strategies for bringing and retaining foreign talent to the U.S. and assists individuals in complex family immigration and citizenship matters.

Ms. Purcell is certified in Immigration and Nationality Law by the California State Bar Board of Legal Specialization.  While she has experience in all facets of immigration law, her focus is business and family immigration. Ms. Purcells corporate immigration practice focuses on the life science, biotech, technology and engineering sectors.   She works not only with employers, but also entrepreneurs, scientists, researchers, emerging companies, as well as represents individuals in various immigration matters before the Department of Homeland Security and its agencies. Ms. Purcell is sought after to provide creative solutions to complex legal issues related to inadmissibility, removability and eligibility for a wide spectrum of immigration benefits in the U.S. She is a frequently invited speaker on immigration topics and a faculty member in Immigration Law at the University of California San Diego ABA approved paralegal program. Ms. Purcell obtained her LLM in Comparative Law degree from the University of San Diego School of Law and her JD and LLM degrees from the top Bulgarian law school, Sofia University.  She is licensed to practice in both the U.S. (California) and Bulgaria.  She is fluent in Bulgarian and conversant in Russian and Spanish.  Ms. Purcell is dedicated to pro bono work and volunteers her time to assist victims of domestic violence, human rights violations, or unaccompanied immigrant children, or other immigrants who seek humanitarian relief or citizenship.

Ms. Purcell is the recipient of many professional accolades, including the Thompson Reuters Super Lawyers (2015-2021), Top 25 Women Super Lawyers in San Diego, CA (2019 -2021), KPBS Local Hero Award (2016), Casa Cornelia La Mancha Distinguished Pro Bono Attorney of the Year (2015), to name a few. Ms. Purcell is dedicated to community service and has served in leadership positions for different local legal or industry organizations. She currently serves on the Board of Women of Color in Law San Diego and Co-Chairs the Legal Community Outreach Committee with Lawyers Club San Diego.  Ms. Purcell loves to mentor newer attorneys and law students, and is a member of the Diversity Fellowship mentoring program with the San Diego County Bar Association.
Ms. Purcell is an identical twin, a mother, and a wife, who enjoys traveling, beach walks, spending time with family and friends, yoga, watching her teen girls play basketball, or taking care of her pets (a golden retriever and a cat).  She is a dual citizen of Bulgaria and the United States and is fluent in Bulgarian and conversant in Russian and Spanish.

Bar Admissions

California (2002)
Bulgaria (2000)


University of San Diego School of Law, LL.M., 2001
Sofia University, J.D. and LL.M., 1998


Duane Morris LLP
– Special Counsel, Aug. 2019-Sept. 2021

Tafapolsky Smith Mehlman LLP
– Senior Attorney, Nov. 2017- July 2019

Fragomen, Del Rey, Bernsent & Loewy LLP
– Senior Attorney, July 2006-October 2017

University of California San Diego
– Faculty Instructor, Immigration Law ABA Approval Paralegal Program, 2013-

Aguirre Law Group
– Associate, 2004-2006

Casa Cornelia Law Center
– Staff Attorney, 2002-2003

Professional Activities

California State Bar, Board of Legal Specialization
– Board Certified in Immigration and Nationality Law, 2011-present

San Diego County Bar Association
– Board of Directors, 2018-2021
– Committee for Diversity and Inclusion, 2020- present
– Immigration Law Section Chair, 2013-2015

American Immigration Lawyer Association
– Executive Committee Member/Treasurer, San Diego Chapter, 2013
– USCIS Committee, 2014
– Consular Corp. Liaison Committee Chair, 2014-2015

Casa Cornelia Law Center Inn of Court
– Benchers’ Committee, 2013-2016

Lawyers Club of San Diego, 2006-present
– Co-Chair, Lawyers Club of San Diego, Legal Community Outreach Committee,
2020- present
– Member, Professional Advancement, Community Outreach, Diversity Women
Committee Member, 2013-present

American Corporate Counsel, San Diego Chapter
– Pro Bono Committee, 2016-2017

BIOCOM San Diego, 2014-2017
– International Committee and Capital Development Committee Member, 2015-

San Diego Human Resource Forum, 2015-2017

Women in Bio San Diego, 2015-2017

Honors and Awards

Listed in Super Lawyers Top 25 Women Lawyers, 2019-2021

Listed in Super Lawyers San Diego, 2016-2021

KPBS Local Hero Award, 2016

Listed in San Diego Daily Transcript Top Attorneys, Immigration Law, 2014 and

Corporate LiveWire Global Awards, Relocation Category, 2016

Casa Cornelia Law Center
– La Mancha Award, Distinguished Pro Bono Attorney of the Year, 2015
– Pro Bono Publico Award, 2011 and 2014

State Bar of California
– Wiley W. Manual Award for Pro Bono Legal Services, 2002, 2012 and 2014-

Civic and Charitable Activities

Vasil Levski Education and Cultural Foundation
– Board Member, 2007-2016