Lawyers & Staff

Brian Aust, Attorney

Brian Aust has been a practicing attorney for almost 20 years. He graduated from Hamline University School of Law in St. Paul in May 2000 and was admitted to the Minnesota State Bar in October 2000. He is also admitted to practice before the 8th Circuit Court of Appeals and the Federal District Court of Minnesota.

Brian works on all types of immigration cases. He represents individuals in family based immigration matters (marriage cases, fiancé(e) and other petitions), people applying for asylum, employment based immigration including H-1B and Labor Certifications, removal (deportation) defense and naturalization. Brian also has a special interest in representing GLBT clients. Read More >


Malinda Schmiechen, Attorney

For over twenty years, Malinda has been dedicated to improving the lives of people born outside the United States. Malinda understands the stress and strain of living outside your home country and traveling abroad. She has lived in the former Yugoslavia and Poland and has visited countries in Africa, Central America, Asia and Europe.

Prior to going into private practice, Malinda was a staff attorney with The Advocates for Human Rights in the Refugee and Immigrant Program. Read More >


Alison M. Griffith, Attorney

Since 2014, Alison M. Griffith has represented hundreds of clients from Latin America, Africa, Asia, the Middle East and Europe. As a Staff Attorney at The Advocates for Human Rights from 2016-2020, Alison trained hundreds of attorneys around the country on asylum, Special Immigrant Juvenile Status, and on best practices in successfully representing immigrant clients. She has worked in the field of immigration law since 2009. She is fluent in Spanish. Alison has seen how often the immigration system presents confusing and even overwhelming challenges for individuals seeking to attain legal status in the U.S. The more familiar she has become with the system and how to overcome the challenges and frustrations it can present, the more passionate she’s become about using her knowledge and skill to help those who must navigate this system do so successfully.

Alison handles all types of immigration matters, and is a recognized expert on asylum. Read More >

Erna Osmanovic, Paralegal

Erna Osmanovic graduated from Hamline University in 2021 with a Bachelor’s degree in Legal Studies, Women’s Studies and Social Justice. Erna spent her time as a student working with survivors of domestic and sexual violence. As a first generation immigrant, she is passionate about immigration law and assisting other immigrants in their own journey.Read More >

Helen Johnson, Paralegal

Helen Johnson graduated from Vassar College in 2021 with a bachelor’s degree in Political Science, Hispanic Studies, and Music Performance. Helen spent her time as a student studying the various ways in which the laws of the United States work against immigrants and people of color, which led her to become interested in immigration law and criminal defense.Read More >

Anaid Plascencia, Paralegal

Anaid Plascencia graduated from Hamline University in 2019 with a Bachelor’s degree in Political Science and Global Studies and a TEFL Certificate. She was also the commencement speaker for the 2019 Hamline Undergraduate ceremony. For over two years, she has been active in the Latino community of the Twin Cities as an Adult Education Teacher with Comunidades Latinas Unidas en Servicio, Read More >


Maria Flores Marquez, Legal Assistant/Receptionist

Maria Flores Marquez graduated from Gustavus Adolphus College in 2022 with a Bachelor’s degree in Political Science, Spanish, and Latin American Studies. As a first-generation immigrant from Mexico, she has always been interested in the experiences of immigrants, Read More >