Welcome to the Brownstein and Nguyen Atlanta Law Firm Blog

Thank you for stopping by our website and visiting our blog. Our goal is to provide you with helpful resources and information on legal topics in our areas of practice – immigration, business litigation and personal injury. While many other firms also practice in these areas, we believe that our passion, our experience, and our commitment to our clients’ needs help us stand out above the rest.

Trusted Atlanta Immigration LawyerOur Passion

We are passionate about the areas of law in which we practice in the greater Atlanta area. Through personal attention, diligence and perseverance we treat each client’s case as the most important one in the firm. We truly want to make a difference in our clients’ lives and help them through their legal difficulties.

Our Experience

Take a few minutes to browse our case results and testimonials – we believe these speak volumes to the expertise and skill Brownstein and Nguyen brings to the table for our clients. Established over twenty years ago, the longevity of our firm proves we are here to stay. It has also allowed founding lawyers, Jay Brownstein and Tien Nguyen, to gain a wealth of experience in their respective areas or practice. Click here to learn more about our attorneys.

Our Commitment

We are absolutely committed to upholding the highest standards in practicing law. With this comes a deep commitment to each of our clients. We strive for personalized service for each client, as we know that each legal situation and need is different. We make sure that professionalism, honesty, advocacy, and work ethic are the forefront of our practice.

Contact Us

If you are in need of legal help and interested in getting the process started, contact Brownstein and Nguyen – your immigration, business litigation, and personal injury law specialists in Atlanta, GA.

What Repeal of DACA Could Mean for U.S. Economy

Six years ago, President Barack Obama signed the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) into law, giving hundreds of thousands of young adults who were brought into the United States as children a chance to live a normal life. Those who applied for DACA status and met the requirements were able to go to college, legally work, and get driver licenses to allow them to come out of hiding and become productive residents of the United States without fear of deportation. Now, under the Trump administration, undocumented immigrants, including these young adults and their parents, could lose their right to work legally in this country and countless families could be torn apart. What many fail to realize, though, is that if President-elect Trump makes good on the promise he made to his voters, the U.S. economy will also suffer because of it.

The Economics of Immigration

If DACA is repealed, almost 645,000 undocumented immigrants will lose their right to work in the United States. Businesses would be legally obligated to immediately terminate workers who are undocumented. This would mean having to find and train new employees to fill these job vacancies. According to the Immigrant Legal Resource Center in San Francisco, this could possibly cost businesses up to $3.4 billion dollars.

Social security card applicationHowever, it is not just the cost to businesses that could cause major setbacks if immigrants lose DACA status; there are additional implications to the economy. The U.S. would also lose the tax revenue that comes from the undocumented workers protected by DACA. This means diminished contributions to Medicare and Social Security (losses totaling roughly $4.6 billion and $19.9 billion respectively). These programs are already struggling; the loss of immigrant contributions could mean reducing payments to many elderly citizens who rely on them to live.

If you are currently protected by DACA, it is important to be informed about how potential changes to U.S. immigration law may affect your immigration status. The attorneys of Brownstein & Nguyen are on your side. Contact us for legal assistance with your Atlanta immigration case.

Current Statistics on Vietnamese Immigration

Vietnamese immigration has been steadily increasing in the US since the end of the Vietnam War, when a wave of refugees began seeking residence in America. In 1980, 231,000 Vietnamese immigrants resided in the United States; by 2014, that number had increased to roughly 1.3 million. The United States receives over 80% more immigrants from Vietnam than any other country, and 3% of the overall lawful permanent residents in the US are from Vietnam, making Vietnamese immigrants the sixth largest immigrant population in the country.

Emigrating to the United States

vietnamese immigrantAt Brownstein & Nguyen LLC, we handle worldwide immigration cases, helping migrants from various economic, social, and cultural backgrounds find new homes in the United States. Our practice has helped people relocate to the US from Vietnam, Indonesia, Pakistan, Morocco, Cambodia, Thailand, Laos, Taiwan, Denmark, China, Brazil, Columbia, the United Kingdom, the Ivory Coast, Nigeria, Italy, Kenya, Israel, and a variety of other countries. Many of our Vietnamese immigrant clients enter the US with green cards sponsored by family members who are citizens or lawful permanent residents. Others obtain temporary visas so that they can work or attend school while awaiting the resolution of their permanent residency petition. As a whole, lawful Vietnamese immigrants have higher incomes and lower poverty rates than other foreign-born US residents.

Vietnamese Immigrants in America

America is a land of opportunity, and our law offices have helped Vietnamese immigrants permanently relocate to all 50 states, including Alaska and Hawaii, and even to US territory in the North Pole. California draws the largest percentage of Vietnamese green card holders, with almost 40% of immigrants relocating there. Atlanta, Georgia has the 9th densest population of Vietnamese immigrants of U.S. metropolitan areas. Approximately 29,000 Vietnamese immigrants have relocated from Vietnam to Atlanta or the nearby suburban areas of Sandy Springs and Roswell. A recent overview of the Vietnamese immigrant population by The Migration Institute found that, overall, Vietnamese immigrants to the US were:

  • 17% less likely than other foreign immigrants to be proficient at English
  • Older than native and foreign-born populations in the US with an average age of 47
  • 4% less likely to achieve a Bachelor’s Degree or higher by age 25 than other foreign-born residents, and 5% less likely to achieve a Bachelor’s Degree or higher than native US residents
  • More likely to participate in the civilian labor force than native-born citizens or other immigrants
  • Earners of higher incomes than other members of the population, with a median household income of $59,933 (as of 2014)
  • 5% less likely to live in poverty than other immigrants and 1% less likely to live in poverty than native-born US citizens
  • 29% more likely than the overall US immigrant population to become naturalized citizens

Are you a Vietnamese citizen seeking a US green card or visa? Contact Brownstein & Nguyen law offices to handle your immigration case.

Vietnamese Woman

Benefits of an LLC vs. Sole Proprietorship

To be successful, entrepreneurs should familiarize themselves with various aspects of business and law. Contract basics, vicarious liability, and other areas of business law can make or break your business down the road. Before diving into a new venture, however, entrepreneurs must first consider which type of legal ownership structure best suits their business needs. Often, this means choosing between individual ownership and a limited liability company (LLC), partnership or other legal entity.

Sole Proprietorship v. LLC

business woman with filesA sole proprietorship is the simplest way to start a business. You simply make sure to have all necessary governmental licenses or permits, personally obtain any necessary financing, and get to work. All the assets and contracts of the business (such as leases) are placed in your personal name.

On the other hand, creating a limited liability company requires a little more effort. Forming an LLC begins by reserving a name with the Secretary of State’s office, creating and filing articles of organization, and paying a filing fee (typically several hundred dollars). LLCs with multiple members should seek qualified legal advice on drafting an operating agreement to protect all of the owners and the company in the future. LLCs must be sure to carefully maintain corporate records and not to co-mingle business and personal assets and finances in order to protect the owners from personal liability in the event someone contests their LLC status. LLCs must also file separate tax returns from  owners. In most cases, however, the benefits of an LLC are worth the additional effort and expense.

Pros and Cons of a Sole Proprietorship

Many entrepreneurs choose to operate as a sole proprietorship for the ease of use and cost-effectiveness. For example:

  • Sole proprietorships do not require filing articles of organization with the state, payment of filing fees, or corporate documents such as operating agreements
  • Starting a sole proprietorship has fewer initial and ongoing costs and fees than an LLC
  • A sole proprietor may use personal funds and loans to raise capital for the business
  • Income taxes are filed and paid as part of the owner’s personal income tax returns
  • Business assets, contracts, licenses, etc. do not need to be transferred to another entity

However, a sole proprietorship leaves the business owner potentially responsible for all losses, debts, and legal liabilities of the business. Any of one of these risks, should it come to pass, is enough to doom an otherwise successful business. For example, a single lawsuit by a competing business or customer could result in a financially devastating judgment against the owner.

Benefits of Forming an LLC

While starting a business as a sole proprietorship may offer some initial benefits, forming an LLC gives business owners protection from individual liability, thereby substantially reducing the risk to both themselves and their businesses. For that reason, an LLC is typically the preferred method of starting of a business, whether it has one owner or multiple owners. Some reasons why include:

  • LLCs allow pass-through taxation on each member’s individual income tax returns
  • An LLC with multiple owners allows them to pool resources to raise capital, increase credit, and create financial leverage
  • An LLC limits the liability of each owner for legal claims arising out of contract disputes, personal injury claims, business torts and other litigation
  • An LLC may borrow against business assets more readily than individuals
  • With a well-written and thought out operating agreement, LLC owners can agree in advance on all aspects of ownership and operation of the business, reducing the risk to themselves and the business from future disputes

Jay D. Brownstein has over 25 years of experience advising business owners on corporate and contract matters, helping them to manage and avoid legal risks, and representing them in shareholder and partnership disputes and other business litigation. If you’re starting a new business and need help properly setting up an LLC, drafting partnership or other business agreements, or protecting your company in a business dispute, call Brownstein and Nguyen law offices for legal advice.

Businesswoman with Files

Seeking Residence in the United States is a Big Step

There are several routes to living in the United States for prospective Vietnamese immigrants. Immigrating from another country, or helping another person immigrate, is a daunting proposition. However, armed with a little knowledge and the proper legal assistance, Vietnamese immigrants and their families will find the journey to calling the U.S. home far easier.

Immigrant and Non-Immigrant Visas

A visa is a permit that allows the holder to enter the United States. Generally, there are two types of visas: non-immigrant visas and immigrant visas. Both of these visas are obtained through a country’s American consulate.

A non-immigrant visa indicates an intention to visit, or to stay only temporarily; after this period, the individual is expected to return to their home country. In general, only immigrant visas allow for permanent emigration to the United States. However, applicants should keep in mind that the U.S. Department of State issues temporary visas to applicants who are coming to the U.S. because of a spouse or a fiancée, which last for a limited time so the applicant can apply for a permanent residency visa. This process, as well as other situations where an individual with a non-immigrant visa applies for a permanent immigrant visa, is known as “adjustment of status.”

Green Cards, Families and Employment

To immigrate to the U.S. on a permanent basis, prospective Vietnamese immigrants must apply for an immigrant visa, also called a “green card.” A green card provides lawful permanent resident status, which means that the immigrant may reside in the U.S. indefinitely, with full legal sanction.

To obtain a green card, the prospective immigrant needs to provide a reason for emigration from their home country. The two most common types of immigrant visas applied for by Vietnamese applicants are family-based visas, meaning the applicant has a family member already living in the U.S. and wants to join them, and employment-based visas where the applicant has a job opportunity in the U.S. or whose current job is being transferred to the U.S.

green cardsOther Routes to a Green Card

There are other routes, however, that Vietnamese immigrants can use to apply for a green card. For instance, religious ministers from Vietnam working in the U.S. can apply for a permanent visa, and so can investors and job creators from Vietnam.

Additionally, the State Department allots several thousand visas each year for the so called “green card lottery”, which awards green cards randomly to applicants from less-commonly represented countries. Owing to the significant number of Vietnamese immigrants coming to U.S. each year by other means, typically very few lottery green cards are awarded to Vietnamese immigrants.

There are a finite number of green cards available each year in many of the categories. Potential immigrants or their family members can check with U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services, to CIS, to find out how many (if any) are available for a given year.

Applying for a Green Card

First, a potential immigrant must send their application to CIS. Once CIS approves this initial application, the immigrant may proceed with the full application according to CIS’ guidelines, and provide all supplementary materials.

The prospective immigrant must submit fingerprints at a location which the CIS provides to them. The fingerprints are used to conduct a background check. The applicant must also attend an interview at a time and place CIS designates.

Applicants also need to submit to a full medical examination, and provide all corresponding records. They should also submit a document called an affidavit of support, which establishes a sponsor’s support of the immigrant’s application.

 The immigration law team at Brownstein & Nguyen has helped thousands of clients with their immigration needs, including immigrant and non-immigrant visa applications. Contact us for the legal support you need and count on in pursuing U.S. residency, citizenship and other immigration needs.

Whistleblowing in the News

National headlines these days are full of news related to whistleblowing. Some headlines and situations are controversial due to their subject matter or details. However, the fact remains that individuals witnessing wrongdoing by the part of the government or private companies have the right to come forward with protections afforded under various state and federal laws, including the Whistleblower Protection Act of 1989. The act has played a major role in allowing government whistleblowers the confidence to come forward, knowing that their actions are legally protected.

One ongoing battle regarding whistleblowing involves the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) and medical device approvals. The Wall Street Journal reported that the claims of the whistleblowers  regarding imaging devices for the screening of breast cancer and colon cancer were rejected as unsubstantiated. While the case dates back to 2008, fresh controversy arose in 2012 after new evidence revealed that the FDA was monitoring employee activity on government computers. This led to further questions and debate regarding the rights of whistleblowers.

AtlantaIn more recent news, at a more local level and involving animals rather than the healthcare industry, is the case of Brittany Roberts. A former animal control officer, Roberts claims she was fired after bringing forth concerns of animal mistreatment within Detroit Animal Control. After her firing, Ms. Roberts filed a detailed whistleblower lawsuit against the department and certain officials. Only time will tell the outcome of that case. However, the City of Detroit has already begun making some changes. For starters, the city’s Animal Control department is being moved from the Detroit Police Department to the Department of Health and Human Services.

Criminal conduct or fraud by an employer,  healthcare provider, or government contractor should not be ignored or go unreported. As a government or private company employee with knowledge of serious wrongdoing, you should know your rights as a potential whistleblower. In addition to legal protections, whistleblowers can receive significant compensation under certain situations. We encourage all employees to visit whistleblowers.gov in an effort to be more aware of whistleblower protection programs.

If you or someone you know is dealing with blatant wrongdoing by their employer, we encourage you to call our law offices in Atlanta for guidance and advice in whistleblowing situations. With more than 25 years of experience in legal matters relating to business and employment situations, Jay Brownstein has expertly guided individuals faced with delicate whistleblowing decisions. Contact our offices today at 770-458-9060 for a consultation.

Dangers and Risks of Semi-Trailer Truck Accidents

Unfortunately, semi or tractor-trailer truck accidents are often much more serious than car accidents. Due to a truck’s increased mass and physics, a large truck is capable of doing heavy damage and can cause serious, sometimes fatal, injuries. Knowing the most dangerous risk factors can help keep you safer on the road. Atlanta personal injury lawyers Brownstein & Nguyen have assisted in truck accident cases, and want you to be aware of the following variables often involved in truck accidents in Georgia.

Wide Turns

Due to their length, semi trucks make extremely wide turns. Drivers of other vehicles may not be consider a truck’s turning radius, so they may not give the truck a wide enough berth at intersections. Novice truck drivers may also underestimate their vehicle’s size, and assume that they have more room to safely turn than they actually do. As a result, truck operators might inadvertently smash the back of side of their vehicle into surrounding objects including curbs, light poles, vehicles, and even buildings or overpasses. Depending upon the mass of the truck and the speed at which it’s taking the turn, the resulting collision could be quite serious.

Increased Stopping Distance

AccidentBasic physics dictates that the more mass an object has, the harder it is to stop moving once it is in motion. This applies to all objects, including semi trucks. Most drivers know instinctively that trucks have more mass than cars do, but they may not have that same intuitive understanding of the required stopping distance of a big truck. Motor vehicle drivers might maneuver around a truck in very dangerous ways, which could be comparatively safe around a car.

Even savvy car drivers don’t necessarily think about the increased mass that the contents of a truck create. Semis in particular have the capacity to store large amounts of cargo, which can add considerably to the truck’s mass, and in some cases increase risk with the transport of hazardous materials. That truck on the road could be empty, or it could be full of goods, which could add greatly to the vehicle’s stopping distance.


Semis are different from other trucks because their trailers must follow the lead of the tractor or cab that is driving them. This makes tractor-trailers particularly prone to a phenomenon called jackknifing, where the truck cab turns too suddenly or sharply for the trailer to follow, forming the same shape as that of a jackknife. Jackknifing is particularly common in hazardous weather and road conditions where vehicles skid, such as snow, sleet or rain. Additionally, if a semi is poorly loaded the contents may slide around when the vehicle stops. If the semi comes to a sudden stop, that rapid shift may be enough to make the vehicle jackknife.

Increased Risk on Georgia Roads

In 2011 a change in Georgia state law reduced the amount of inspectors checking trucks for safety. With less inspectors came fewer truck inspections, and consequently more unsafe trucks and drivers left on the road. This dangerous combination has resulted in more trucks on the road and less federal regulatory compliance. As a result, Georgia saw a 38% increase in commercial vehicle accidents from 2011-2013.

Whether you’re driving a car or a truck on the road, it’s always a good idea to keep in mind the potential hazards of trucks, for your safety and that of your loved ones. Any of these factors can become incredibly dangerous on the road, and can take other drivers by complete surprise. If you have been involved in a commercial truck accident, you should consult with an experienced personal injury attorney that will confidently assess your case. This is especially important because trucking cases involve complex rules and regulations that are not typically present in automobile injury cases. Our team at Brownstein & Nguyen is able to assist in these types of cases. Please feel free to contact us using the contact form to the right or by calling us at 770-458-9060.

Business Divorce

Let’s face it, when most people hear the word divorce they think about ending a marriage. After all, by definition divorce is, “a judicial declaration dissolving a marriage in whole or in part, especially one that releases the marriage partners from all matrimonial obligations.” Another definition is, “Any formal separation of husband and wife according to established custom.” However, a more generic definition is, “Total separation; disunion.”Business Conflict

If you look at that final definition, total separation or disunion, you’ll notice the context does not necessarily refer to marriage of persons. It could refer to a total separation or disunion of a contract or a business.

As an Atlanta business litigation lawyer, Jay Brownstein has years of experience assisting clients with business dissolutions and divorces. While a business divorce does not involve the ending of the marital union of two people, it does involve the separation of a business.

There are numerous scenarios in which a business divorce might become necessary, varying widely from one situation to another. Sometimes when a business is formed between two or more partners, a formal agreement exists that outlines the parties’ rights upon separation. However, many partnerships do not have a written agreement. In those cases, the parties’ rights can be dictated by the circumstances and applicable law.

After a business is formed, a variety of situations can occur in which one or more partners or shareholders realize that a change must occur. Differences in business strategies, goals or financial philosophies can cause serious obstacles to the continued operation of a business. If business partners agree to part ways or dissolve a business, an appropriate agreement for dissolution, transfer in ownership, or partnership buyout can be drafted and signed by the parties. However, where a disagreement can not be resolved amicably, a business divorce may require that legal counsel take certain actions to protect a client’s legal rights (including the possible filing of a court action).

If you are facing a disagreement with your business partners and need to find a resolution that is agreeable and legally sound, contact Atlanta business dispute attorney Jay Brownstein.

Cell Phone Courtesy

Work-life balance means different things for different people depending on their occupation and personal circumstances. With the use of smart phones, many individuals have adopted a work-life integration model in which they are almost constantly available via phone, text, or email. This can be quite distracting, and contrary to common courtesy and etiquette. July happens to be National Cell Phone Courtesy Month, and therefore a great time to brush up on basic rules of thumb for cell phone use in business and for personal matters. Etiquette expert Jacqueline Whitmore offers these useful tips:Safe Driving Tips

1. Be all there.

Simply put, your focus should not be on your cell phone, messages, or emails during an important business meeting or conversation. This applies to situations across the board including legal conversations, courtroom visits, and medical office visits.

2. Keep it private.

If you don’t want others to overhear the conversation you are having on your phone, find a private location or reschedule the conversation for a later time.

3. Follow the rules.

Be respectful of your surroundings, and aware of whether or not phone use is acceptable or appropriate in those situations. Special considerations apply in movie theaters, libraries, hospitals, in educational settings, and of course courtrooms.

4. Excuse yourself.

If you are expecting a phone call, inform those you are with in advance. This will prepare them for the interruption of your meeting, conversation or time together. Keep in mind that face-to-face interactions should take precedence over phone conversations.

5. Focus on driving.

While all of the above tips are important, this one is potentially a matter of life or death. The Virginia Tech Transportation Institute (VTTI) has found that the longest duration of time in which drivers take their eyes off of the road is directly the result of text messaging, browsing, and dialing. VTTI also found that text messaging doubles the risk of a motor vehicle crash. While behind the wheel, it is critical to focus on driving and avoid distraction through the use of a wireless device.

We hope that these cell phone etiquette tips along with other safety guidelines will be useful. With distracted driving as the cause of so many fatalities and serious injuries, we can not emphasize enough how important it is to follow the final tip of focusing on driving. It is possible that you or someone you know may have been involved in a distracted driving accident, or might be at some point in the future.

The attorneys of Brownstein & Nguyen are experienced in representing distracted driving automobile accident cases in the Atlanta area. With over 20 years of representation in personal injury, the reviews and testimonials speak to the skill and integrity with which Brownstein & Nguyen represent their clients. Contact the personal injury lawyers at Brownstein & Nguyen today at (770) 458-9060 for a free consultation and review of your case.

Water Safety Tips

June is National Safety Month and coincides with the end of school and the beginning of summer. This makes summer swimming safety particularly important, as kids find welcome relief in pools, ponds, and puddles across the greater Atlanta area. Sadly, they may find themselves in distress and parents must often cope with grief due to a lapse in basic water safety precautions.

water safetyAt Brownstein & Nguyen, we offer these water safety tips in an effort to reduce the number of potential clients in need of legal services by one of Atlanta’s preeminent personal injury lawyers.

Swim in Water; Drink Water

Diane McKinsey, a pool lifeguard certified by the International Lifeguard Trainer Program, works at a water park. She has one piece of water safety advice for parents: please don’t drink alcohol.

Too often, she says, alcohol interferes with adults’ summer water safety awareness. Under the effects of alcohol, parents often lose sight of their children and tragedy can result. Says McKinsey, “If you and your kids are going to swim in water, then drink water — nothing stronger.”

Be Water Wise

The National Safety Council (NSC) points out drowning as the leading cause of death among children 1 to 4 years of age.  NSC recommends parents be extra vigilant around water, including paying attention to boating safety tips as well as general water safety tips.

  • No child is drown-proof
  • Lifeguards are not babysitters
  • Undertows exist in all bodies of water—pool suction fittings and drains can trap a child underwater
  • Even strong swimmers should wear life jackets—The NSC provides many additional boating safety tips at its safety-conscious website
  • As a parent, you are your child’s best protector, so get trained for cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR)
  • If your child is out of your sight, first check bodies of water before looking elsewhere.

Teach Your Children Well

From three-year-olds to adults, all swimmers should learn basic summer water safety. The NSC recommends all swimmers learn:

  • Not to swim alone
  • To be prepared for an emergency
  • To avoid diving into unknown bodies of water
  • Never to push others into water or jump on others already in water

If through accident or another’s negligence, you find yourself needing a lawyer because of a water-related mishap, contact the personal injury lawyers at Brownstein & Nguyen.  Protect your rights and those who depend on you.

Executive Action Updates

Executive Action on Immigration

The future looked bright for more than 4 million immigrants and their families when President Obama issued his executive action on immigration in late 2014.Immigration

The action was designed to help immigrant children and their parents who had been in the country for several years without violating laws.

Unfortunately, those opposing the President’s executive immigration action sought and obtained an injunction in federal court putting it on hold.

In May, an appellate court upheld the injunction which means the executive action is indefinitely stalled. President Obama has vowed to continue to work on immigration reform.

To read more about the executive action, visit the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) website at www.uscis.gov/immigrationaction.

Immigration Laws Are Complex

If you have had any dealings with United States’s immigration laws, you understand there are few areas of US law more difficult to understand and successfully navigate. The rules are extensive and subject to a variety of interpretations that depend on the facts and circumstances of each case, as well as the immigration officer, government officials and administrative judge handling each case.

Because immigration laws are so complex, you need an experienced immigration lawyer who understands the complexities and subtle nuances of the law and how to effectively advocate for you.

Safeguard your right to stay in the United States or your ability to bring your family to the United States by working with the immigration law firm of Brownstein and Nguyen of Atlanta.

Experienced Immigration Attorneys

Brownstein and Nguyen will fight to ensure you are able to stay and work in the United States. For over 20 years, we have successfully handled immigration cases in Georgia and throughout the United States. Brownstein and Nguyen has helped thousands of clients desiring to enter, reside and stay in the United States.

Trust us with your immigration needs

We can help you with any of these immigration issues:

Visas (Fiancee, Spouses, Minor Children)
Family Immigration (Green Cards)
Employment/Investor Visas
Immigration from Vietnam

Call us today for a consultation, or fill out the simple contact form at the right. We look forward to helping you.