Robert F. Ley

Robert F. Ley

Attorney Profile

Top Rated Immigration Attorney in Boston, MA

Law Offices of Johanna M. Herrero
 | 1 State Street, Suite 2
Boston, MA 02109
Phone: 617-720-5200
Fax: 617-720-5202
Selected To Rising Stars: 2016 - 2019
Licensed Since: 2013
Practice Areas:
  • Immigration: Consumer
Attorney Profile

Robert Ley is Managing Attorney at the Law Office of Johanna Herrero, located in Boston, MA. Robert was drawn to the field of immigration law at a very young age, as the son of Cambodian refugees. As his family experienced the refugee crisis of the Cambodian genocide firsthand, immigration law has always played a welcome and critical role in his legal career. 

Because of these influences, Robert focuses his practice exclusively in immigration law, specifically focusing on complex waivers of inadmissibility before U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services, family-based immigration petitions, adjustment of status, naturalization, and removal defense before the Executive Office for Immigration Review. He actively represents both non-detained and detained clients with criminal records in Immigration Court, and in that regard, frequently analyzes the immigration consequences of criminal convictions. He additionally represents clients in applications for temporary protected status, NACARA, and DACA. He practices before the Board of Immigration Appeals and petitions for review before the First Circuit Court of Appeals. 

Robert earned his B.A. in Political Science and Philosophy from Fairfield University in 2010 before attending Northeastern University School of Law, and earning his J.D. in 2013. He is a member of the American Immigration Lawyers Association. He actively publishes in the field of immigration law and policy, and writes for his law blog, Jussoli. 

During his time at Northeastern Law, Robert served as legal intern for the U.S. Attorney's Office, criminal division, and as a judicial intern to Judge Selya of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the First Circuit. He also represented asylees and detained individuals at the Boston University Civil Litigation Program on Asylum and Human Rights, and served as a business immigration law clerk at the global firm, Fragomen, Del Rey, Bernsen & Loewy. 

The Law Office of Johanna Herrero's client base is national, with a majority of its clients in the New England area and ICE detainees housed in Massachusetts, Rhode Island, New Hampshire, Connecticut, New York, and New Jersey. 

About Robert Ley

Admitted: 2013, Massachusetts

Professional Webpage:


  • Selected as an Expert Network Distinguished Lawyer for 2017. This designation is based on a thorough, multi-phase national review process, and is reserved for the top 3% of lawyers in the U.S., based on their demonstration of superior influence, leadership, reputation, and knowledge in their field., Distinguished Lawyer Designation, Expert Network, 2017
  • "10 Best" Client Satisfaction Award, American Institute of Legal Counsel, Immigration Division, 2016
  • Equal Justice Works Summer Corp. Fellow
  • Christopher Blake Love Achievement Award
  • Congregation B'nai Israel Award for Excellence in Judaic Studies
  • Carl J. Levantino Award for Excellence in Philosophy
  • Phi Beta Kappa

Bar/Professional Activity:

  • Admitted to First Circuit Court of Appeals bar, 2016
  • Massachusetts Bar Association (MBA), Member, 2013
  • American Bar Association (ABA), Member, 2013
  • Boston Bar Association (BBA), Member, 2013
  • American Immigration Lawyers Association (AILA), Member, 2013
  • Licensed to practice in the Commonwealth of Massachusetts, 2013

Scholarly Lectures/Writings:

  • This is a letter to the editor of the Boston Herald Newspaper, published therein September 20, 2016, titled Immigration ruled by law: The Herald describes the federal immigration court based in Boston as one of the “most lenient” in the country and implies that the system has only one job — to deport noncitizens to their country of origin (“Bay State sees plunge in deportations,” Sept. 19). In other words, success is measured by the number of removal orders that a court issues. The charge of the immigration court system, however, is administering the immigration laws fairly and in a uniform manner — by interpreting the applicable law, which Congress has written. It is not a court whose sole duty is to remove any and all noncitizens from the U.S., notwithstanding that being an impression the Herald’s coverage unfairly seems to perpetuate. If we are in anyway dissatisfied by the way we perceive the immigration court fulfilling its mission, then perhaps we need to return to our lawmakers, who have crafted the immigration laws. What really is most frustrating for me is the lack of comprehensive immigration reform and an ever-increasing perception that immigration is a black-and-white issue. — Robert F. Ley, Boston The writer is an immigration lawyer., "Immigration Ruled by Law", Boston Herald, 2016
  • "Jussoli" is an immigration blog by Robert F. Ley, an immigration attorney currently practicing at the Law Offices of Johanna Herrero in Boston, MA. His posts explore immigration court cases, agency policy updates, and other legal developments within the area of immigration law. He will offer his opinions on issues being contested, and share updates on the law from time to time. , Jussoli: Immigration Blog, 2016
  • This article proposes that immigration and citizenship law must address the construction of the immigrant child "situated within the family." Counter to scholarly literature which has addressed the need for some form of the best interests of the child standard in immigration to account for unaccompanied minors, and more generally, immigrant children, this article proposes that reformation of immigration law toward a child-centered, or more specifically family-centric, policy requires attending to the flawed presumptions that the "anchor baby" myth creates--that only by devising a language for unintended consequences can we draw closer to recognizing the immigrant child as deserving of the strongest constitutional protections. Because of the dual nature of the immigrant child as possessing birthright citizenship and noncitizen parents, such double disenfranchisement, as both child and immigrant, leads to fundamental disjunctions regarding the meaning of citizenship, family, and immigration. This article explores that tripartite intersection and concludes that current discourse must focus on the substantive meaning of citizenship with particular attention to its "attendant benefits," and the impact thereof on immigrant families. Unlike prevailing literature which has primarily analyzed citizenship through the lens of deportation or nationhood, citizenship discourse must also emphasize the harsh collateral consequences of our immigration system and what this means for noncitizens becoming citizens. Through this analysis, I develop a proper language to care for immigrant children in the family unit, through the realization of the problem of citizen-benefits and citizenship reductionism., Are We Punishing 'Illegal Citizen' Children to Deter Parents? Critiquing Birthright Citizenship Through the Citizenship-Benefits Question and Citizenship Reductionism, 33 Buffalo Public Interest Law Journal 23 (2014-2015), 2015
  • This guide provides a general overview of immigration court hearings from start to finish, and is written in a consumer and beginner-friendly manner, so that the lay person may have a better general understanding of what to expect at an initial immigration master hearing, and thereafter. The guide is very general, and it not expected to substitute for the advice of an immigration attorney. , "Understanding Your Removal Proceedings", Avvo, 2015
  • This is a guide providing some general tips and recommendations, so that potential clients may get the most out of the short time dueing their initial consultations during their meeting with an attorney. It offers suggestions, question to ask, and general expectations for both the possible client and the attorney. , "Getting the Most Out of Your Initial Consultation", Avvo, 2015
  • Anti-immigrant housing ordinances have become a tool for state authorities in their efforts to curb local effects of a defunct federal immigration scheme. Federal frustration and resentment has culminated in state resistance through ordinances inquiring into citizenship status as a condition for renting or leasing property. The legality of these discriminatory ordinances is disputable and heavily contested. But states assert that it is only reasonable for them to play an active role in regulating the spillover impact of the federal failure. When the federal government cannot perform its federal duty, it is only logical for states to fill the void through state ordinances that affect the rights of undocumented immigrants. Where federal law remains deficient or inadequate, local and municipal laws provide interior enforcement and a second layer of protection. According to the states, the economic and social costs of undocumented immigrants and weak border control set forth the following threshold question: Why should the federal government possess immigration power when the lion's share of the impact of illegal entry and costs rests with state and local governments? Should states have some authority in preventing the transformation of their territory into a sanctuary for undocumented immigrants?The questions are fair, and are often met with the unsatisfying conclusion that the admission and exclusion of immigrants is traditionally a federal issue. In terms of immigration policy generally, federalism is a substantial obstacle for states. When a problem implicates both federal and state jurisdictional boundaries, the issue of immigrant rights becomes an increasingly political battleground. This article explores that interplay between states' rights, federal rights, and plenary power in housing, civil rights law, and federal preemption doctrine., Reviving Housing Rights of the Undocumented Through Disparate Impact and the Fourteenth Amendment: The Problem With the FHA, § 1981, & Preemption, 23 Berkeley La Raza Law Journal 35 (2013), 2013
  • The article is published in an academic, peer-reviewed religious studies scholarly journal. The article discusses the concept of a Christian God that is not represented in male form or bounded by problems of hierarchy. The article argues that while the idea of a ecofeminist God is not new, people need to learn to understand and rekindle the loving embrace of creation that was primordial. Patriarchy, dualistic thinking and an impaired radical consciousness are some of the challenges faced by ecofeminism in 2012. The article illuminates a non-gendered and holistic notion of love and freedom that is rekindled in the human soul through relationships with nature and the world. , Ecofeminism and Nature-Religion, Journal of Theta Alpha Kappa, Spring 2012, Vol. 36, Issue 1, 2012
  • This is group report, of which I authored a section. In discussing potential projects with the Conservation Law Foundation, we researched whether the system of licensing, mandated by Chapter 91of the Massachusetts General Laws, and administered by the Massachusetts Department of Environmental Protection (DEP), was adequately protecting the public trust in the tidelands of Boston Harbor. The report was intended primarily for Conservation Law Foundation attorneys, but was written to allow CLF to use it as a tool in their interactions with the Massachusetts Department of Environmental Protection, state and local reporters, and others with an interest in the public trust in Massachusetts tidelands. The group’s initial findings were presented to a group that included students, academics and members of the NGO community, in addition to the CLF attorneys, who were all impressed with the presentation., Public Access to the Tidelands: A Report on Compliance with Chapter 91 Licenses on Boston’s Waterfront, Published by GBIS, Inc.

Educational Background:

  • Northeastern University School of Law, J.D., class of 2013; Fairfield University, B.A., class of 2010, Phi Beta Kappa, summa cum laude

Industry Groups

  • Immigration
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Office Location for Robert F. Ley

1 State Street
Suite 2
Boston, MA 02109

Robert F. Ley:

Last Updated: 5/28/2019

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