- Shirley Sadjadi, Principal Attorney and Founder
- Maritza Cabrera, Associate Attorney
- Kate Radder, Associate Attorney
- Valerie N. Belmont-Guzmán, Associate Attorney
Shirley Sadjadi has been practicing exclusively in the area of immigration law for over 22 years, including several years as an attorney advisor with U.S. Department of Justice, Executive Office for Immigration Review. She is a frequent speaker on immigration law topics and a passionate advocate for immigration reform, both locally and nationally.
Shirley is an active member of the Chicago Chapter of the American Immigration Lawyers Association, where she serves on the advocacy and EOIR liaison committees. She is an Associate Editor of “The Waivers Book: Advanced Issues in Immigration Practice.” (AILA 2011).
Shirley is also a member of the National Immigration Project of the National Lawyers Guild, Illinois Coalition for Immigrant and Refugee Rights, Elgin Hispanic Network, Elgin Chamber of Commerce, and the Chicago and Kane County Bar Associations. Shirley was cofounder of Speak Out Against Prejudice in Elgin, which was created to combat the negative and false stereotypes of immigrants in the community, and which was awarded the Martin Luther King Jr. Humanitarian Award in 2009. Shirley is currently active in Fox Valley Voices for Democracy, vulnerable community committee, where she works to educate the community about immigration issues and rallies against the misguided and hateful policies of the current administration.
In addition to living and breathing immigration, Shirley’s passion for the past 10 years has been advocating both locally and nationally for a more humane and just immigration system, one that reflects the realities of our current global economy and keeping families together, rather than the politics of the moment.
Shirley obtained her Bachelor’s Degree, cum laude, in Spanish and Political Science, from the University of Illinois – Urbana Champaign. She received both her law degree and Master of Arts Degree in International Development from the American University in Washington, DC.
She has lived and worked in Spain, Mexico and South America, and is fluent in English, Spanish and Farsi.
Shirley has received the following recognitions over the years for her activities in advocacy, community service and mentoring:
- 2016 Partnership Award, Centro De Informacion, Elgin, IL
- 2013 Joseph Minsky Beacon of Light Award, American Immigration Lawyers Association (for work on mentoring fellow immigration lawyers and advocating at the national, state and community level for immigration reform)
- 2011 Volunteer Attorney Partnership Award, Depaul University Asylum & Immigration Law Clinic, Chicago, IL
- 2008 William Castillo Humanitarian Award, Centro De Informacion, Elgin, IL
- 2006 Les Lemke Memorial Award for Community Service, Club Guadalupano
- 2005 Doug Hoeft Award, Elgin Latino Political Action Team
Maritza Cabrera is an Associate Attorney with the Law Offices of Shirley Sadjadi, and has been practicing exclusively in the area of immigration law for more than 15 years. Maritza practices in all areas of immigration law the firm provides, and is the principal attorney handling U Visa and VAWA petitions.
Prior to her current position, Maritza worked with the National Immigrant Justice Center where she supervised its Citizenship and Naturalization Project and office in the Pilsen neighborhood of Chicago. Maritza spearheaded outreach to immigrant communities and community-based organizations on naturalization issues, and provided trainings to community based organization members and pro bono attorneys.
Prior to life as an immigration lawyer, Maritza worked with Prairie Legal Services where she represented low income individuals with general civil litigation in state circuit court, federal court and administrative hearings in the areas of family, landlord-tenant, unemployment insurance, social security, public benefits law and assisting domestic violence victims to obtain orders of protection and divorce.
Maritza is a member of the Chicago Chapter of the American Immigration Lawyers Association, National Immigration Project of the National Lawyers Guild, served as co-chair of Illinois Coalition for Immigration and Refugee Rights Naturalization Task Force, and provided editing assistance to Citizenship Now, a Guide for Naturalization a McGraw Hill/Contemporary guide. Maritza has appeared on television regarding immigration issues; assisted channel 44 by answering hotline for “Lunes de Inmigracion” segment and was also interviewed by HOY and the Chicago Tribune regarding notario fraud.
Immigration issues are an important aspect of Maritza’s life as she immigrated from Ecuador as a child, so has experienced first hand the negative and positive aspects of the United States immigration laws. Maritza is bilingual in English and Spanish.
Maritza obtained her Bachelor of Arts degree in criminal justice with equivalent course work completed in psychology from the University of Illinois, Chicago, Illinois. She received her law degree from Hamline University School of Law, St. Paul, Minnesota in 1994. She also studied at Colegio Mayor Universitario San Pablo in Madrid, Spain.
Kate Radder is an Associate Attorney with the Law Offices of Shirley Sadjadi. Kate obtained her Bachelor’s Degree in Spanish and Business from the University of Wisconsin-Madison. She received her law degree from Marquette University. Kate has worked at several immigration law firms in the Chicagoland area before join our firm. Kate also worked with Catholic Charities in Wisconsin where she concentrated on U visas and VAWA cases.
Kate’s passion for immigration law began when she was living in Madrid, Spain, as an immigrant herself. While in Spain, Kate lived with a family from Ecuador. She witnessed them go through the Spanish immigration process and was there when the father received his citizenship. Obtaining his Spanish citizenship brought him and his family to tears. It was this joy that inspired Kate to become an immigration attorney in the United States.
Kate knows how it feels to be in a foreign land and serves all clients with compassion and respect. She has worked on hundreds of immigration cases, representing clients before various U.S. agencies, such as the EOIR, ICE, USCIS, and foreign consulates. Kate has also been a regular volunteer attorney with the nonprofit World Relief Chicago’s naturalization clinics. Kate is fluent in Spanish and English.
Kate is a member of the Chicago Chapter of the American Immigration Lawyers Association and the Chicago Bar Association.
Valerie N. Belmont-Guzmán
Valerie N. Belmont Guzmán is an Associate Attorney with the Law Offices of Shirley Sadjadi. Valerie obtained her Bachelor’s Degree in Political Science from the University of Puerto Rico, during which she completed a semester abroad in Seville, Spain. This is where she was first aware of immigrants’ struggles and the injustices they continuously experience. Shortly after obtaining her degree, Valerie worked as a Legislative Aid for former Senator Jorge Suarez Caceres in the Senate of Puerto Rico. Although, her position allowed her to help others in the community, she wanted to do more. This led her to pursue a law degree in the Pontifical Catholic University of Puerto Rico.
After working in the Office of the Legal Counsel for the Department of Transportation and Public Works of Puerto Rico, Valerie moved to Chicago in September 2015 seeking a new way to help vulnerable communities. Valerie immediately started volunteering at citizenship workshops with the Logan Square Neighborhood Association, where she realized that she could make a real change helping immigrants. Since starting her career in immigration law, Valerie has helped her clients navigate complex immigration processes while collaborating with different nonprofits. She is bilingual in English and Spanish.
Valerie is a member of the Chicago Chapter of the American Immigration Lawyers Association, Chicago Bar Association, and the Illinois State Bar Association. She is admitted to practice law in Puerto Rico, Illinois and Northern District of Illinois.