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 >

Mars Smith, Paralegal

Mars Smith graduated from the University of Minnesota in 2019 with a Bachelor’s degree in Russian Language & Literature. She has always been fascinated and curious about people of different nationalities and various walks of life. Read More >

Alexander Ramírez Rios, Legal Assistant

Alexander Ramírez Rios graduated from Saint John’s University in 2020 with a Bachelor’s degree in Political Science and Communications. Alexander spent his time as a student gaining experience in non-profit and political work. Such experience includes: grassroots fundraising, political strategics, phone/field canvassing, translating, voter mobilization, public affairs, and event planning.Read More >