KBA creates new bar section with help from ELPO attorney

by Mandy Hicks

Brett Reynolds, right, practices immigration law.
Brett Reynolds, right, practices immigration law.

With the support of the KBA Board of Governors, the Kentucky Supreme Court recently approved the formation of a new section of the Kentucky Bar Association dedicated to Immigration & Nationality Law.

Attorney Brett Reynolds of ELPO assembled the petition and obtained the signatures necessary to create the section in the spring, receiving broad-based support from fellow attorneys throughout the state. He is serving as Chair of the section for 2013 to 2014. Other officers include Chair-Elect Cori Hash of Kozoll, Hash & Nett PLLC in Louisville, Vice-Chair David E. Funke of Kortz & Funke LLP in Crestwood, Ky., Kevin Beiting of The Beiting Law Center in Lexington, Treasurer Aida Babahmetovic of Fogle, Keller, Purdy PLLC in Louisville and member-at-large Ed Zuger of Zuger Law Office in Burnside, Ky.

Visit the Immigration & Nationality Law Section online here: Dues to join this section are $20.

In his statement of need and purpose he submitted to the KBA, Brett argued that the need for an immigration section is great because of the increasingly diverse nature of the United States. “The demographic makeup of America is changing, and there is growing support in Washington, D.C. for new immigration laws on a national level, with new legislation likely in the near future,” Mr. Reynolds wrote. “Attorneys in Kentucky would be well-served by adding an immigration section to the Kentucky Bar Association.  While immigration law is a federal practice, immigration laws affect Kentucky in every area of life on the local level, and the attorneys who practice immigration law, as well as government lawyers and judges, need a forum to interact and share information.  We, as a Bar, benefit whenever government and private lawyers and judges have an opportunity to work together on a common goal, and this concept has an important role in immigration law.”

Kentucky has a large and ever-growing immigrant population. The percentage of those born outside of the United States grew to 3.2 percent in 2010 from 1.9 percent in 2000, with 140,583 people in Kentucky who were not born in the United States, according to an August 2012 report by the Center for Immigration Studies. That number does not account for those who are undocumented workers and who may not answer inquiries from the U.S. Census Bureau or other government officials.

In Kentucky, many foreign-born residents (undocumented or not) work in the agricultural industry, but there are several other industries that are growing and bringing in workers from around the globe. The automobile manufacturing industry is in growth mode in Kentucky, and many companies that operate plants in Kentucky have factory workers and executives in the Commonwealth. Universities are drawing international students, faculty, researchers and their families from all over the world.  Immigration has a direct and important impact on the Commonwealth of Kentucky, and this is only going to increase as the United States becomes more diverse.

An immigration and nationality law section is committed to assisting practitioners in improving their skills concerning immigration law issues; promoting education to the public concerning immigration issues; and coordinating and informing members of the Kentucky Bar Association who are not directly involved in the practice of immigration law concerning immigration issues as they arise in other areas of the law, such as criminal law and family law.  This section will further assist practitioners and the public with communicating with governmental agencies charged with enforcement of the immigration laws and immigration-related issues and shall provide lawmakers and policy makers with information concerning immigration issues.  Also, this section will promote cultural awareness in practitioners and judges.

For more information on the new Immigration & Nationality Law Section, contact Brett Reynolds at, or (270) 781-6500.