Manuela M. Morais, Esq.
Manuela Morais is the Principal of Morais Law. She represents and partners with corporate clients to attract and retain top-tier international talent and ensure immigration compliance. Given her significant background in “Big Law,” Manuela is uniquely able to provide large firm experience and insights within personalized, one-on-one relationships with clients of all sizes, spanning from startup companies to the largest Fortune 500 corporations. Over her 20-plus-year career in immigration law, Manuela has acted as de facto in-house immigration counsel; represented individuals and self-petitioners in unique and complex cases before the U.S. Department of State, U.S. Department of Labor, and the U.S. Department of Homeland Security; established herself as an industry thought leader; and provided a range of pro bono legal services to foreign nationals seeking immigration benefits in the United States.
Originally from Portugal, Manuela possesses a unique global perspective and speaks both English and Portuguese. Manuela graduated from Rutgers University, the State University of New Jersey, in 1993, and earned her J.D. at the Widener University School of Law in 1999. She is licensed as a practicing attorney in New Jersey and is a member of the American Immigration Lawyers Association (AILA), the Burlington County Bar Association, and the New Jersey Women Lawyers Association. Prior to founding her own law firm, Manuela was Of-Counsel and responsible for management of the Immigration Practice at Blank Rome LLP, as well as an Associate in the Immigration Practice at Pepper Hamilton LLP. She also served as Congressional Aide to the Honorable Robert E. Andrews of New Jersey prior to law school.
As a woman business owner, Manuela takes great pride in mentoring other young women and professionals of diverse backgrounds both in the field of law and in general. At Morais Law, she oversees and coaches two attorneys, three paralegals, and one law clerk – all of whom are women. Her staff includes employees fluent in Spanish and Portuguese who help provide personalized services to the firm’s international clientele. She regularly provides internships to law students and young professionals.
In her role as an Adjunct Professor at the University of Pennsylvania Law School, Manuela taught courses in Corporate Immigration Law and mentored prospective attorneys regarding careers in the immigration field. She presented at professional development events at institutions around the region and has taught Continuing Legal Education courses in the field of immigration law. She has also lectured nationally at the AILA Annual Conference on Immigration Law, the preeminent educational event for U.S. immigration attorneys.
Manuela is a committed advocate for diversity and inclusion both within the legal community and beyond the profession. She is a founding partner and sits on the Board of Directors of Women Owned Law, a national networking group for women-owned law and legal services firms. She currently heads the Membership Committee, where she is tasked with promoting the organization and its mission by attracting new members. Through Women Owned Law, Manuela is active in mentoring other women who have left large law practices to start their own firms and other entrepreneurial female legal professionals. In recognition of her professional achievements and contributions, Manuela was named a 2018 Top New Jersey Leading Woman Entrepreneur and has also been admitted to the Forum of Executive Women, a highly-selective organization of women holding the senior-most positions in the corporations, not-for-profit organizations and public-sector entities, dedicated to a mission of advancing the impact and influence of women leaders across a broad spectrum of society
As a community advocate, Manuela is dedicated to encouraging and developing the next generation of strong women and minority leaders through mentorship, employment, and community engagement. She was appointed in 2018 to the boards of both the Girl Scouts of Central & Southern New Jersey and the Rotary Club of Moorestown, where she serves on the International Committee. Manuela is also a longtime supporter of Catholic Social Services, particularly their Immigration Legal Services division and their annual holiday toy drive, which donates toys to unaccompanied minors who enter the U.S. without a legal guardian.
Emily C. Brown, Esq.
Emily C. Brown, Esq. is a Junior Partner at Morais Law and a skilled professional with experience in global labor standards and regulatory compliance. She counsels companies on immigration matters, including proper onboarding, I-9 compliance and hiring procedures. She is available to guide clients through immigration-based audits, facilitate training programs and provide risk assessment analysis. Her expertise in global labor standards, supply chain complexities and sustainable procurement practices complement the comprehensive services offered to Morais Law clients.
Ms. Brown joins Morais Law having most recently been an associate with a Toronto-based boutique immigration law firm with an office in Philadelphia, PA. In addition to providing legal counsel for corporate clients, she developed resources for the firm’s International Supply Chain Initiative to introduce a risk assessment framework that measures a company’s vulnerability to forced labor in the supply chain. Her career has included a legal clerkship with U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) where she planned and implemented training programs for attorneys and special agents nationwide on federal human trafficking investigations. She was a case manager with the International Refugee Assistance Project, legal intern with the U.S. Army JAG Corps and volunteer sexual assault victim advocate with the Center For Family Services in Camden, NJ.
An active member in the legal industry, Ms. Brown has co-authored articles on corporate social responsibility for the American Bar Association and corporate supply chain/labor trafficking in the American University Law Review. She has also presented on matters of human trafficking and forced labor to Merrill Lynch in Mount Laurel, NJ and on RVN TV. Ms. Brown has been admitted as a licensed practicing attorney in the District of Columbia. She received both her Juris Doctor and Master of Arts in International Affairs from American University in Washington, DC. Her memberships include the National Association of Women Business Owners (South Jersey Chapter).
Ashley Q. Rotchford, Esq.
Ashley Q. Rotchford, Esq. is a Junior Partner at Morais Law where she represents and partners with clients on a wide range of employment-based immigration matters, both immigrant and non-immigrant. Ms. Rotchford joins the firm having most recently been a Law Clerk for the Hon. Steven J. Polansky, P.J.Cv. at the Camden County Superior Court.
Ms. Rotchford graduated from Temple University Beasley School of Law in May of 2018, cum laude, as a member of the Rubin Public Interest Law Society and a student fellow for the Institute for International Law and Public Policy. During her time at Temple, Ms. Rotchford was an editor for the Temple Law Review. She also participated in Temple’s prestigious Law and Public Policy Program where she wrote a white paper on the legality of travel restrictions and exclusions (“travel bans”) under 212(f) of the INA. Ms. Rotchford presented her white paper at the Law and Society Association Conference in Mexico City in the summer of 2017, as well as at the Intersection of Law and Public Policy 2017 Update at Temple Law.
Ms. Rotchford was involved in advocating for the rights of immigrants during her time in law school. Not only was she a member of the Student Public Interest Network, but she also served as co-president of Temple’s National Lawyers Guild and chair of its Immigration and Human Rights Committee. Ms. Rotchford further participated in Temple’s Social Justice Lawyering Clinic where she helped create a toolkit for school boards across Pennsylvania to create policies and procedures to deal with Immigration and Customs Enforcement. Additionally, Ms. Rotchford helped draft a resolution, passed by Philadelphia City Council, recognizing the rights of undocumented restaurant workers. She also interned at the Philadelphia Immigration Court where she drafted legal opinions on immigration matters, including asylum and cancellation of removal, and wrote legal memoranda on other immigration issues. Ms. Rotchford has also worked with a Washington-based nonprofit to create an annotated bibliography for immigration attorneys to use when handling asylum claims from Central America’s Northern Triangle and interned at a national immigration advocacy non-profit where she researched issues like the economic impact of foreign workers on the native-born workforce.
Ms. Rotchford is admitted as a licensed practicing attorney in Pennsylvania.