Lori T. Chesser

“She is one of the best-known immigration lawyers in the state.” 

-Chambers USA, Reference Feedback

Lori Chesser is a preeminent immigration attorney and advocate. With a degree in finance, she initially practiced corporate law. Recognizing the need for immigration services in Iowa, she developed that practice and has worked primarily in immigration law for more than 20 years.

Lori assists employers, business owners and individuals as they navigate the complex U.S. immigration system. Her clients range from small businesses to Fortune 500 companies in sectors including healthcare, IT, insurance, agriculture, chemical, higher education, churches, and other non-profit entities.

The immigration process is often complicated and arduous for individuals and companies alike. When employers identify a foreign national as the best candidate for the job, they count on Lori’s guidance navigating the immigration maze. Lori has assisted organizations hiring scientists, investors, entrepreneurs, researchers, doctors, artists, religious workers, athletes, and other professionals to legally live and work in the United States. In addition to employers and their employees, she also represents entrepreneurs starting businesses in the U.S. and individuals sponsoring family members or wanting to naturalize.

One client recently provided this feedback, “I feel like I get top-notch really high-quality work from her; she's so knowledgeable about the industry and has ton of experience. She's good at helping with strategic planning and whether its implementing new policy or trying something new, she can really provide that expert opinion and advice. Her advice goes a long way."

Lori has experience and success with numerous aspects of immigration law including:

  • H-1B 
  • L-1
  • E-1 and E-2
  • R-1
  • O-1
  • F-1 STEM EAD
  • H-4 EAD
  • PERM
  • Multi-national Manager EB1
  • Outstanding Professor and Researcher EB1
  • Extraordinary Ability EB1 
  • NIW (including for physicians)
  • Schedule A, Group II
  • Adjustment of Status 
  • Consular Processing
  • Naturalization
  • Certificate of Citizenship
  • I-130
  • Visa applications
  • I-9 Compliance and Training

Lori works collaboratively with other Davis Brown attorneys to answer her clients’ employment, tax, estate planning, corporate structure, and compliance questions that intersect with immigration law. 

Immigration Advocacy 

"The 'preeminent lawyer' in the immigration field"

-Chambers USA Feedback

Lori is a staunch advocate for her clients and all immigrants in the community. 

  • Serves on numerous AILA national committees to both liaise with the government and help form advocacy strategy
  • Helps organize and maintain local and state-wide grassroots advocacy for positive immigration law reform.  She currently chairs the Greater Des Moines Partnership’s Immigration Council.  She is past chair of the American Immigration Council Board of Trustees.
  • Donates hundreds of hours of advocacy and pro bono representation 
  • Co-founded the American Immigration Lawyers Association (AILA) Iowa/Nebraska Chapter, and served as its first Chair
  • Advocated for the opening of the Des Moines Suboffice of the Immigration Service so Iowa residents would not need to travel to Omaha for their immigration applications

Awards & Honors

“She is knowledgeable, responsive and proactive.”

-Chambers USA, Reference Feedback

  • AV Preeminent rated by Martindale-Hubbell.  The highest peer rating standard. This rating signifies that a large number of the lawyer’s peers rank him or her at the highest level of professional excellence for their legal knowledge, communication skills, and ethical standards.
    • Lori was also awarded a Client Distinction Award, an honor given to attorneys who demonstrate superior communications ability, responsiveness, quality of service, and value for money as voted on by clients.
  • Chambers USA, Labor & Employment: Immigration, Iowa Ranked Band 1, 2020. Lori has been ranked Band 1 for several years.
  • The Best Lawyers in America© 2021, Immigration Law. Lori has been ranked since 2003.
    • Best Lawyers® 2020 Immigration Law “Lawyer of the Year” in the Des Moines Metro
  • A. Arthur Davis Distinguished Community Leadership Award, Greater Des Moines Leadership Institute, 2015
  • President’s Commendation, American Immigration Lawyers Association (AILA), 2012
  • Immigrant Champion Award, Immigrant Entrepreneurs Summit, 2011
  • Footsteps Award, Diocese of Des Moines, for work in social action, 2009
  • Business Record’s Women of Influence Award, 2008
  • Mary Louise Smith Human Rights Award, Des Moines Human Rights Commission, 2007
  • Business Record’s Forty Under 40, Class of 2002
  • Pro Bono Award, Iowa State and Polk County Bar Associations, 1999