Thomas K. Ragland is Member in Charge of Clark Hill’s Washington, D.C. office. Thomas has practiced immigration law for more than 20 years. Prior to joining private practice, Thomas worked for 10 years in the U.S. Department of Justice, joining directly after graduating from law school through the Attorney General’s Honor Program. At DOJ, Thomas represented the government in the Boston Immigration Court, the Board of Immigration Appeals, and the Civil Division Office of Immigration Litigation. Since leaving the government in 2004, Thomas has devoted himself to guiding individuals and companies through the complex, often overwhelming U.S. immigration system. He brings an unwavering commitment to his clients and a genuine desire to help them achieve their goals and dreams – whether obtaining U.S. citizenship or permanent residence, avoiding deportation, obtaining visas for employees or family members, or challenging agency decisions in federal court. Having worked on both sides of the system, Thomas brings wide-ranging experience and a deep understanding of this country’s immigration laws. He is highly regarded as a top litigator, a creative legal thinker, and a tireless advocate for his clients.
In June 2013, Thomas was awarded the American Immigration Lawyers Association’s highest honor, the Edith Lowenstein Award for Excellence in Advancing the Practice of Immigration Law.
Thomas focuses his practice on litigation before the federal courts, immigration courts, and the Board of Immigration Appeals as well as representation of clients before the Department of Homeland Security and U.S. consulates abroad. He is a seasoned litigator known for handling complex matters for both individual and corporate clients. He has specific experience in district court and appellate litigation, defense against removal, immigration consequences of criminal convictions, asylum, waivers of inadmissibility, citizenship and permanent residence, complex consular matters, post-conviction relief in federal court, and defense against terrorism- and security-related bars to admission. He has been recognized by The Washington Post as one of “Washington, D.C.’s Best Lawyers” and was named by Washingtonian Magazine as one of “Washington’s Top Lawyers.” He is ranked by Chambers USA, and is listed in Best Lawyers in America, Super Lawyers, and The International Who’s Who of Corporate Immigration Lawyers.
Thomas is an Adjunct Associate Professor of Law at the American University’s Washington College of Law. He is the former Chair of the Federal Court Litigation Section, American Immigration Lawyers Association (AILA), and remains a member of the Section’s steering committee. He has also served on AILA’s Access to Counsel Committee, on the Board of Advisors of the American Immigration Council’s Legal Action Center, and on the Advisory Board of the Muslim Legal Fund of America. He is a frequent writer and speaker on immigration issues.
Prior to joining Clark Hill, Thomas was a named partner in a D.C.-based immigration firm. He is a 1994 cum laude graduate of Boston College Law School, where he was Editor in Chief of the Boston College Third World Law Journal, and a graduate, with honors, of the University of Virginia.
- Co-Author, “How to Deal with ‘Impossible’ Visa Denials and Cancellations,” Practice Advisory for 201 AILA Annual Conference.
- Contributing Editor, AILA’s Asylum Primer: A Practical Guide to U.S. Asylum Law and Procedure, Seventh Edition by Dree Collopy (2015).
- Author of “The Petition for Review,” Practice Advisory for 2014 AILA Fall Topics CLE Conference.
- Author of “The 212(h) Aggravated Felony Bar: The BIA Versus the Courts,” for 2014 AILA South Florida Chapter CLE Conference.
- Author of “The Top 10 Things to Remember: Petitions for Rehearing,” Practice Advisory for 2013 AILA Annual Conference. Author (with Cheryl David and Emily White) of “Waivers and Litigation” Practice Advisory for 2012 AILA Fall Topics CLE Conference.
- Author (with Jennifer D. Cook) of “Litigating Immigration Cases in Federal Court,” book chapter, What Every Lawyer Needs to Know About Immigration Law (American Bar Association 2012).
- Co-author, “Terrorism-Related Inadmissibility Grounds: Litigation Strategies in the U.S. and Canada,” Law & Society Association, 2010.
- Co-author, “U.S. Supreme Court’s Sixth-Amendment Ruling Requires Defense Counsel to Inform Immigrant When Plea May Lead to Deportation,” Duane Morris Alert, April 7, 2010.
- Quoted in “Why are U.S.-allied refugees still branded as ‘terrorists?'” by Marisa Taylor, McClatchy Newspapers, July 26, 2009.
- “What did Compean Accomplish? The Uncertain Right to Effective Assistance of Counsel in Immigration Proceedings,” American Bar Association Section of Litigation, June 2009.
- “E-Verify Requirement for Federal Contractors Delayed Again,” Duane Morris Alert, June 2, 2009.
- “Nken v. Holder: Impact on Stays of Removal and Beyond,” American Bar Association Section of Litigation, May 2009.
- “Supreme Court Strikes Down Long-Standing BIA Interpretation of ‘Persecutor Bar’,” American Bar Association Section of Litigation, March 2009.
- Mentioned in “Freedom Fighters Need Not Apply” by Anna Husarska, Washington Post, December 15, 2008.
- Quoted in “U.S. allies losing asylum bids over definition of ‘terrorist'” by Marisa Taylor, McClatchy Newspapers, May 2, 2009.
- Contributing Editor, Kurzban’s Immigration Law Sourcebook, 11th & 12th eds., 2008, 2010.
- Quoted in “Stalwart Service for U.S. in Iraq Is Not Enough to Gain Green Card” by Karen DeYoung, Washington Post, March 23, 2008.
- “Supreme Court Rules for Thousands Deported: State Felony Drug Possession Offense That Would be Classified as a Misdemeanor Under Federal Law Is Not an ‘Aggravated Felony,'” Bender’s Immigration Bulletin, December 18, 2006.
- “Burma’s Rohingyas in Crisis: Protection of ‘Humanitarian’ Refugees under International Law,” Boston College Third World Law Journal 301, Summer 1994.
- “Presumed Incredible: A View from the Dissent,” 75 Interpreter Releases 1541, November 9, 1998.
Selected Speaking Engagements
- Panelist, “How to Deal with ‘Impossible’ Visa Denials and Cancellations” and “What Business Immigration Attorneys Need to Know About Federal Court,” American Immigration Lawyers Association (AILA) Annual Conference, Washington, DC, June 17-20, 2015.
- Panelist, “Family Based Petitions and Successful Waiver Applications,” AILA 2015 Philadelphia Chapter Conference, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, Mar. 27, 2015.
- Panelist, “Appellate Issues,” AILA 2014 Fall Topics CLE Conference, Seattle, Washington, Sept. 19, 2014.
- Panelist, “Complicated Naturalization Cases,” AILA 2014 Federal Court Litigation CLE Conference, Las Vegas, Nevada, Feb. 28, 2014.
- Panelist, “Fraud and Criminal Waivers, the New Terrain,” 35th Annual Immigration Law Update, Miami, Florida, Feb. 6-7, 2014.
- Panelist, “Effective Appellate Brief Writing,” American Immigration Lawyers Association (AILA) Annual Conference, San Francisco, California, June 24-27, 2013.
- Faculty Member and Conference Committee Member, AILA/AIC 2013 Litigation Institute, Washington, DC, March 8-10, 2013.
- Panelist, “BIA and Federal Court Update: and “Provisional Unlawful Presence Waivers,” 34th Annual Immigration Law Update Conference, Miami, Florida, Feb. 7-8, 2013.
- Panelist, “Litigating Immigration Cases in Federal Court” and “Latest Updates in ‘Crimmigration’ Law,” 10th Annual Immigration Law Institute, Columbus, Ohio, Nov. 1, 2012.
- Panelist, “Waivers and Litigation,” AILA Fall Topics CLE Conference, Montreal, Quebec, Sept. 14, 2012.
- Panelist, “Federal Court Litigation Masters,” AILA Annual Conference, Nashville, Tennessee, June 13-16, 2012.
- Discussion Leader, “Welcome to Federal Court” and “Challenging Consular Decisions,” American Immigration Lawyers Association’s Federal Court Immigration Litigation CLE Practicum & Webcast, Las Vegas, Nevada, March 5-6, 2012.
- Panelist, “Recent Developments in Employment Based Adjudication,” American Bar Association’s 2011 Fall Administrative Law Conference, Washington, D.C., November 17-18, 2011.
- Panelist, “The Immigration Consequences of Sex Offenses,” American Immigration Lawyers Association Annual Conference, San Diego, California, June 15-18, 2011.
- Discussion Leader, “Challenging Consular Decisions,” American Immigration Lawyers Association’s Federal Court Immigration Litigation CLE Practicum, Atlanta, Georgia, March 3-4, 2011.
- Moderator, “The Impact of Immigration Law: What Every Lawyer Should Know,” American Bar Association’s 2010 Administrative Law Conference, Washington, D.C., November 4, 2010.
- Discussion Leader, “Combating the Terrorism Bars Before DHS and the Courts,” American Immigration Lawyers Association annual conference, National Harbor, Maryland, June 30-July 3, 2010.
- Panelist, “The Material Support Bar and Security Inadmissibility: Coordinating Advocacy and Analysis in the U.S. and Canada,” Law & Society Association 2010 Annual Meeting, Chicago, May 28, 2010.
- Speaker, “Duane Morris’ Developments in Workplace Law & Practice 2010,” Washington, D.C., May 11, 2010.
- Speaker, “Goin’ to the Crossroads of Immigration and Criminal Law: Convictions, Removability and Relief,” American Immigration Lawyers Association 2009 Fall Topics CLE Conference, Boston, Massachusetts, December 14, 2009.
- Speaker, “The New Form I-9,” Business 21 Publishing webinar, July 21, 2009.
- Panelist, “District Court Challenges to Unlawful Agency Action: the APA, Declaratory Actions, Habeas, and Mandamus”; “The Material Support Bar to Asylum and Adjustment,” American Immigration Lawyers Association Annual Conference, Las Vegas, Nevada, June 3-6, 2009.
- Speaker, “Removal for Experts: The Changing Definition of Crimes of Moral Turpitude,” Immigration Lawyers Weekly (ILW.com) Teleconference, March 19, 2009.
- Speaker, “Motions Practice; The New Era of Litigation Practice” and “Mock Cross-Examinations: Taking it to the Mat,” American Immigration Lawyers Association (AILA), 2008 Fall Topics CLE Conference, New Orleans, December 11, 2008.
- Speaker, “Defending Your Client in Immigration Proceedings: Defending Against Security Grounds of Removal,” 2008 Annual Conference, National Immigration Project of the National Lawyers Guild (NIP/NLG), Detroit, October 15, 2008
- Moderator, “The Sleeping Giant: The Material Support to Terrorism Bar to Admissibility – Who’s Covered, Who’s Not, and What to Do About It,” American Immigration Lawyers Association (AILA) Education Dept. Podcast, October 2008.
- Faculty Member, American Immigration Law Foundation (AILF) 2008 Litigation Institute, Chevy Chase, Maryland, September 12-14, 2008.
- Speaker, “What Every Lawyer Should Know About Immigration Law: Implications of Criminal Convictions,” District of Columbia Bar Association, CLE Program, Washington, D.C., May 27, 2008
- Panelist, “Barriers to International Scholarship,” 2008 Annual Meeting of the American Council of Learned Societies (ACLS), Pittsburgh, May 8, 2008.
- Moderator, “Hitting a Homerun: How to Litigate Security Check Issues, Mandamus and 1447(b) actions in Federal Court,” 2008 American Immigration Lawyers Association (AILA) DC Annual Conference, Washington, D.C., March 6, 2008.
- Panelist, “International Scholars and National Borders,” 2008 Conference of the American Historical Association (AHA), Washington, D.C., January 3, 2008.
- Speaker, “Protecting Immigrant Rights: Understanding Policies Affecting Our Community,” Fourth National Conference of the Network of Arab-American Professionals, New York, November 18, 2007.
- Speaker, “Challenging Documentary Evidence in Applications for Relief,” 2007 Annual Conference, National Immigration Project of the National Lawyers Guild (NIP/NLG), Washington, D.C., October 31, 2007.
- Faculty Member, American Immigration Law Foundation (AILF) 2007 Litigation Institute, Louisville, Colorado, July 27-29, 2007.
- Speaker, “What Every Lawyer Should Know About Immigration Law: Implications of Criminal Convictions,” District of Columbia Bar Association, CLE Program, Washington, D.C., May 29, 2007.
- NLJ 2019 Immigration Law Trailblazer
- 2019 Corporate Intl Magazine Global Award: Business Immigration Law Firm of the Year in Washington D.C.
- GlobalLawExperts: 2018 Business Immigration Law Firm of the Year in Washington D.C.
- Clark Hill receives 2017 Tier 1 Ranking for Immigration Law in Washington, DC by US News and World Report.