María Pilar practices exclusively Global Immigration Law. Since 2001, she has worked extensively with the IT, energy/ oil and gas, Scandinavian, South American and Spanish business community to successfully transfer qualified workforce to the United States. She has also developed strategic relationships with attorneys abroad to assist companies and individuals to ensure timely and efficient transfer of key personnel worldwide. She has more than fifteen years of international experience working with Europe, Latin America, Canada and Asia.
A native of Madrid, Spain, María Pilar is fluent in Spanish and English and has a working knowledge of Portuguese. She graduated from law school in Spain and obtained a Master of Laws degree from the American University Washington College of Law in Washington, DC. Ms. Llusá also served as an Adjunct Professor at the Jones School of Management (MBA Program) at Rice University. She has previously worked in-house as an international transactional lawyer for Duke Energy in Houston and in Sweden as an international lawyer.
Currently, María Pilar is a Director of the Spain-American Bar Association and has been actively involved in the Norwegian/Scandinavian energy community in Houston since 2002. She is member of the Norwegian American Chamber of Commerce and the Swedish American Chamber of Commerce. She was a former Director and Founder of the Spain-Texas Chamber of Commerce. She is the proud adoptive mother of a little girl from Ethiopia.
- The American University Washington College of Law, Washington DC. Master of Laws (L.L.M)
- Universidad Autónoma de Madrid, Facultad de Derecho. J.D. Law Degree (Specialized in European (EU) Law)
- State Bar of New York
- Legal Counsel (Asesor Jurídico) Spain
- Peek Toland & Castañeda PLLC, Senior Business Immigration Attorney, 2014- Present
- Foster Quan LLP, Senior Business/Corporate Immigration Attorney, 2005-2012
- Delphy Co, Sweden. Foreign Transactional Attorney, 2004-2005
- Rice University, Adjunct Professor (MBA), 2001-2004
- Duke Energy International Transactional Lawyer (Latin America), 1999-2001
- University of Houston, Law School, Visiting Immigration Lecturer on Orphan Hague and non-Hague International Adoptions
SELECTED REPRESENTATIVE MATTERS
Transactional & Corporate
- Latin America. Acted as in-house counsel part of the legal team responsible for the acquisition of power generation assets in Latin America that included operations and ownership in approximately 4, 700 MW of power generation, 125 miles of natural gas pipeline and 245 miles of electric transmission located throughout Argentina, Brazil, El Salvador, Chile, Ecuador and Peru. Part of the legal team responsible for the Negotiation of Purchase and Sale Agreement, working with outside counsel in the U.S. and Latin America, drafted and negotiated EPC and equipment contracts, confidentiality/non-disclosure agreements, consulting agreements, and similar contracts. Reviewed and analyzed bid guidelines and prepared and drafted, governmental bid application. Lead Attorney in the analysis of the Terms of Reference, and the Bid preparation on a public bid for an option to acquire a geothermal field in El Salvador. Public Bid was successfully awarded.
- Assisted with the development and implementation of legal compliance policies on a global basis for all Duke entities in Latin America. Analyzed and monitored international contracts in Latin America to ensure compliance with the U.S. Foreign Corrupt Practices Act.
- Assisted in formulation of bids leading to the acquisition of a majority interest in power generation assets in Latin America and Europe.
- Organized shareholders Annual General Meetings and Board of Directors meetings for all the Latin American companies.
Global Business Immigration
- Assisted large employers (500 Fortune) in the energy, IT and medical field, medium and small companies and individuals in obtaining temporary, nonimmigrant visas for managers and executives, treaty investors and traders, professionals, exchange visitors, students, and crew members working on the Outer Continental Shelf.
- In addition, assisted in obtaining labor certifications and permanent resident status for professionals, researchers, multinational managers and executives and other priority workers and in obtaining and relinquishing U.S. citizenship. Assisted I-9 Compliance Section of the Firm with two major corporate I-9 Audits;
- Handled a variety of immigration matters including Petitions for family relatives, Naturalization, and Adjustment of Status applications and interviews. Analyzed and researched client’s immigration issues to determine the proper advice to give to client
- Participated as speaker in Firm’s corporate seminar on Global immigration issues.
- Outbound Corporate Immigration
- Represented large corporate clients with the successful transfer of time sensitive project personnel to Latin America and Europe. Negotiate with local governments in Latin America and Spain the expedite processing of work permits for key project U.S. personnel.
- Attorney responsible for managing local Counsel relations with several Latin American countries. Attorney responsible for Consulate relations with Consulates of Spain, Mexico, Venezuela, Argentina, and Norway in Houston. Handle search and interviewing of new Latin American Counsels as well as fee negotiations to accommodate corporate clients’ fee requirements
Seminars & Publications
- Presentation Corporate HR: Global Corporate Immigration. Transfer key project personnel to Europe and Latin America.
- Presentation Swedish American Chamber of Commerce. U.S. Immigration for Swedish companies
- Presentations Norwegian Trade Council (Innovation Norway) in Houston on U.S. corporate immigration issues.
- Article for the Spain-Texas Chamber of Commerce on business immigration issues for Spanish companies
- Article on Business immigration at Delphy Co., Sweden.
- Guest Lecture for teaching seminar on international orphan immigration adoption law. University of Houston, Law Center
- Dictionary of legal Terms. Spanish/English. Contributor
- AILA since 2001
- Spain-American Bar Association, Director
- Spain-Texas Chamber of Commerce, Former Director and Founder
- Norwegian American Chamber of Commerce, member since 2005
- Former Member of ACC (Association of Corporate Counsel)
- International Justice Mission
- Le Toukoul. SOS. Ethiopian Orphan Relief
- The National Association of Professional Women (NAPW)