Virginia, US

Marlene, a former newspaper and magazine journalist and freelance writer, has been practicing immigration law for 18 years. She serves as immigration counsel to a wide range of clients from individuals to major multinationals, as well as institutions of higher education and world-renowned scientific research institutes. She has assisted top research scientists in obtaining permanent residence in the categories of Extraordinary Ability and Outstanding Researcher and whose work is in the National Interest of the United States, and has put together complex cases for investors and entrepreneurs establishing new U.S. business entities.

In addition, Marlene works on pro bono cases for the Casa Cornelia Law Center, a non-profit organization in San Diego, CA, that provides legal services to men, women and children who have been the victims of trafficking and/or abuse, and also to unaccompanied minors who qualify for immigration benefits to remain in the U.S. 

Marlene speaks English and Afrikaans.



Thomas Jefferson School of Law | J.D., 1996
University of Cape Town | B.A., 1975


Listed in Best Lawyers in America, 2018 to 2019

National Association of Women Lawyers' Outstanding Woman Graduate, 1997

Who's Who Among Students, 1995-1997

Recipient, American Jurisprudence awards in Constitutional Law II, Corporations, Trusts and Appellate Advocacy

Recipient, San Diego County Bar Association Auxiliary Scholarship, 1996

Honors List and Dean’s List, Thomas Jefferson School of Law

Wiley W. Manuel Award for Pro Bono Legal Services

Professional Accomplishments / Memberships

Bar Admissions: California

Member, American Immigration Lawyers Association (AILA)

Member, International Law Section of the San Diego County Bar Association

Member, Lawyers Club of San Diego

Previous member of Board of Directors, Lawyers Club of San Diego, 2006-2008

Previous member of Anti-Defamation League, Reader for Hate Crimes Registry, 1994-1996

Previous member of Law Review, Thomas Jefferson School of Law, Editor, Board Member, Senior Editor and Writer

Represents top San Diego scientific research institutions in obtaining permanent residence for its scientists on the basis of Extraordinary Ability, Outstanding Research and National Interest Waivers

Has worked closely with corporations in registering as Treaty Trader or Treaty Investor companies throughout the world

Represents clients’ interests in dealings with U.S. consulates and U.S. Dept. of State to resolve visa issuance problems

Works strategically and creatively on complex matters to find solutions

Publications and Lectures

Marlene has ghost-written books and newsletters on immigration law for prominent immigration attorneys both in New York and Washington. She has lectured on immigration matters at professional seminars in San Diego and has both spoken at and moderated a panel discussion on immigration at the San Diego County Bar Association’s continuing education meetings for the International Law section.