Leigh N. Ganchan

Shareholder || Houston

Ms. Ganchan provides business immigration advice to employers and professionals in a variety of industries. Ms. Ganchan is certified in Immigration and Nationality law by the Texas Board of Legal Specialization. Ms. Ganchan is listed as a “notable practitioner” in Chambers USA rankings and has a “healthy reputation in the market” advising professionals and employers on various immigration matters, including I-9 and E-Verify compliance.

From 1996 to 1999, Ms. Ganchan gained insight into the enforcement side of immigration law during her tenure as an Assistant District Counsel for the U.S. Immigration and Naturalization Service. She also performed immigration work at the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees.

Ms. Ganchan was one of the founding officers of the State Bar of Texas Immigration Law Section and served as the Chair for the section. Ms. Ganchan was Editor-in-Chief of the 2007 edition of AILA’s Handbook on Immigration for Entertainers, Artists, Athletes and served as Associate Editor for the Second Edition. Ms. Ganchan currently serves on the Board of Directors for the Mexico City Chapter of AILA which addresses legal issues relating to the Latin America jurisdiction.

Learn more about Leigh N. Ganchan

Ms. Ganchan represents clients in such diverse industries as energy, technology, health care manufacturing, finance and construction, with matters including:

  • Representing companies and organizations in all immigration and employment visa matters before the Department of Homeland Security (DHS), the Department of Labor (DOL), the U.S. Department of State (DOS), and in federal court;
  • Analyzing employers’ employment eligibility verification compliance and planning needs under the Immigration Reform and Control Act of 1986 (IRCA) including director of multi-state audits to evaluate needs of employers with large national presence;
  • Preparing individuals for interviews at U.S. consulates, including strategy development for overcoming grounds of inadmissibility and accompanying clients abroad as needed; and
  • Assisting with a wide range of complex U.S. citizenship issues, including obtaining U.S. passports on an expedited basis, preparing acquisition of U.S. citizenship at birth abroad petitions and advocacy in loss of citizenship cases.

Ms. Ganchan’s International Medical Graduate practice supports foreign nationals seeking admission to the United States to practice medicine, both general and specialty. Foreign physicians and their employers receive legal guidance covering areas such as waivers of the 212(e) two year foreign residence requirement for J-1 physicians, Conrad 30 procedures and timing, H-1B status (including change of employer) and lawful permanent residence paths for physicians.


  • J.D., cum laude, American University, Washington College of Law, 1996
  • Diploma, European and International Legal Studies, Université de Paris-X, 1996
  • Post Graduate Degree, University of Vienna, Austria, 1992
  • B.A., cum laude, University of Alabama, 1991

Admittance to Practice

  • Texas

Professional Activities

  • American Immigration Lawyers Association – Second Vice Chair – Latin America and Caribbean Chapters
  • HR Houston (Board of Directors, General Counsel 2012-2013)
  • Greater Houston Partnership (Committee Member; World Trade Supervisory Board)
  • Texas State Bar (Co-Founder and Chair, Immigration Section, 2012-2013)
  • American Bar Association Corporate Social Responsibility Committee


  • 2018 AILA Annual Conference on Immigration Law - "The Minefield of E-1/E-2 Multi-Jurisdictional Practice" - San Francisco - June 15, 2018
  • Ogletree Deakins Workplace Strategies Seminar - "An Ounce of Prevention . . . May Not Be Enough: Thriving in an Era of Increased I-9 Audits and Investigations" - Phoenix - May 10, 2018
  • AILA Texas Chapter Spring 2018 Conference - "Consular Practice Roundtable: The Do’s and Don’ts of Consular Practice in both the Family and Employment Context" - San Antonio - April 20, 2018
  • 2018 AILA Midwinter Conference - "Diversifying Your Practice in a Restrictionist Period" - Cancun - February 2, 2018
  • AILA Latin American and Caribbean Chapter - "E Visas: Not Always Smooth Sailing" - Casa de Campo - November 2, 2017
  • 2017 Gulf Coast Symposium on Human Resource Issues - "Immigration Issues for EVERY Employer" - Houston - May 11, 2017
  • Latin America and Caribbean Chapter of AILA - Wine and CLE: Fermenting a Consular Practice - "Knowing the Post: Being Prepared when Filing an E" - Santiago, Chile - November 16, 2016
  • 2016 AILA Waivers CLE Conference - "The Nonimmigrant Waiver Under INA §212(D)(3)" - Chicago - August 26, 2016
  • AILA Latin American and Caribbean Chapter Fall Conference - "Solving the Difficult Nonimmigrant Visa Cases" - Rio de Janeiro - November 5 - 6, 2015
  • State Bar of Texas CLE Advanced Immigration Law Course - "Beat the H-1B Cap" - Houston - February 2014
  • General Counsel Institute: National Association of Women Lawyers - "Taking a Stand Against Human Trafficking: What Your Supply Chain Compliance Program Must Include and Why" - New York - November 2013
  • Gulf Coast Symposium on Human Resource Issues - "Take The I-9 Challenge" - Houston - May 16, 2013
  • Houston Bar Association - "What to Expect From Immigration Reform and the Impact on the Worker and Workplace" - Houston - April 8, 2013
  • South Texas College of Law - "Corporations & Human Trafficking: The Global Supply Chain Dilemma & Solutions" - Houston - March 7, 2013
  • 2012 Gulf Coast Symposium on HR Issues - "Up in the Air: The Hidden Immigration Compliance Risks of International Assignments" - Houston - May 2012
  • 2011 Gulf Coast Symposium on HR Issues - "Business Immigration for Beginners" - Houston - May 11 - 12, 2011
  • July 25, 2018 - Law360 - "USCIS Policy Changes Put STEM Students On Shaky Footing"
  • July 2, 2018 - HR Dive - "The feds want you to use E-Verify — but should you?"
  • June 29, 2018 - SHRM Online - "DOL Seeks More Detail About Third-Party Placement of Foreign Workers"
  • May/June 2016 - SHALE Oil & Gas Business Magazine - "Breakthroughs for Women in International Business"
  • April 17, 2013 - Human Resource Executive - "New Immigration Bill Proposes Big Changes"
  • May 2012 - HR Magazine - "The Perils Of Multistate Employment"
  • August 16, 2011 - Law360 - "Ogletree Deakins Adds Ex-Haynes & Boone Immigration Pro"
  • Best Lawyers in America (2019)
  • Acritas Star (2018-present)
  • Top Lawyer by Houstonia (2015)
  • Chambers USA (2009-2011, 2013-present)
  • The Legal 500 United States 2015: Recommended in “Labor and employment – Immigration” category

Insights by Leigh N. Ganchan