Leigh Cole

Telephone: 802-859-7035

E-Mail: lcole@dinse.com

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Blog: The Dinse Blog: Issues and Insight

Areas of Practice Concentration:

Immigration; International Business and Investors; Intellectual Property

My Approach:

I am passionate about education, business and internationalization.  I'm an entrepreneur at heart.  My goal is to be a trusted team member for businesses, institutions, entrepreneurs and investors, as they start new initiatives, expand, manage ongoing operations, address complex legal issues, or enrich their culture, services and skill sets with international talent.  I help clients make good strategic decisions, document appropriately, and comply with state and federal law and regulations at every step.

Practice Areas:

My law practice is at the intersection of the creative economy and education. I advise clients in matters of immigration, international programs and intellectual property. I advise businesses, educational institutions and nonprofits in the following matters:

Immigration:  Immigration compliance, employment-based immigration sponsorship, and immigration for students and scholars.  I handle a wide range of employment-based immigration applications and advise clients who handle immigration cases in-house. I represent educational institutions and nonprofits applying to become F-1/J-1 sponsors of international students and exchange visitors. I serve as immigration counsel to California-based boutique employment law firm Hirschfeld Kraemer LLP.

International Businesses and Investors:  Drawing upon my experience in immigration, business transactions and securities compliance, I advise companies, investors and entrepreneurs doing business in the United States regarding the application process and eligibility criteria for parole for international entrepreneurs, E-1/E-2 treaty traders and treaty investors, L-1 status to transfer international executives, managers and personnel with specialized knowledge to the United States, and other available immigration options for investors.

Intellectual Property:  Analysis and protection of intellectual property and trade secrets through trademarks, work for hire agreements and assignments, licensing, confidentiality agreements, etc.  I am entrepreneurial by nature and I welcome opportunities to work with entrepreneurs.

International Programs:  I advise educational institutions establishing or managing programs and campuses abroad, working with local counsel through my colleagues in the Employment Law Alliance worldwide.

Prior Experience:

Throughout my career, I have focused on transactions and regulatory compliance in a range of contexts, including business, higher education, immigration and securities law, with litigation and appellate advocacy experience along the way. I also have extensive experience representing businesses from start-ups to publicly held companies, including formation, contracts, financings, private placements and SEC compliance.


  • Albany Law School of Union University (J.D. 1991)
    —Editor-in-Chief, Albany Law Review, 1990 to 1991
  • Cornell University (B.A. 1985), Government; Agricultural Trade Policy
  • Philips Exeter Academy (1981)


  • State of Vermont Supreme Court
  • New York Appellate Division, Third Department
  • U.S. District Court, District of Vermont
  • U.S. District Court, Northern District of New York
  • U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals, Federal Circuit

Professional Affiliations:

  • Counsel, Hirschfeld Kraemer LLP, www.hkemploymentlaw.com
  • Member, American Bar Association
  • Member, Vermont Bar Association
  • Member, New York Bar Association
  • Member, American Immigration Lawyers Association (AILA)
  • Member, National Association of College and University Attorneys (NACUA)
  • Member, NAFSA: Association of International Educators
  • Best Lawyers (2010-2016)

Professional Activities:

  • The Dinse Blog: Issues and Insight: http://blog.dinse.com
  • Co-Instructor, NACUA online course, "The ABCs of F, J and H-1Bs: Immigration Basics for Colleges and Universities" (2011, 2013, 2015, 2016)
  • Board of Directors, VT Council on World Affairs (2013 to present)
  • Senior Editor, Immigration & Nationality Law Handbook published annually by the American Immigration Lawyers Association (AILA) (1999 to present)
  • Leadership Champlain, a division of the Lake Champlain Regional Chamber of Commerce (Director, August 2007 to 2014)
  • Board of Directors and Executive Committee, Lake Champlain Regional Chamber of Commerce (2011 to 2013, 2016) 
  • Director, Wake Robin Corporation, member, Finance Committee (2007 to 2011)
  • Director Emeritus, Far Post Soccer Club, Inc.
  • Creator and leader, Vermont Businesses for Social Responsibility (VBSR) Circle of discussion group on socially responsible business practices (2007 to 2008)
  • Director, Lake Champlain Land Trust, 2001 to 2007 (term limit)
  • Founding Director, South Hero Land Trust, 1996 to 1998
  • Leadership Champlain, Lake Champlain Regional Chamber of Commerce, Class of 1998


Chapter 4, Immigration, Annual Review of Higher Education Law & Policy: Major Developments from 2008 (Council on Law in Higher Education) (March 2009), www.clhe.org


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