Ellen joined Fragomen as a Partner in 2001 when the law firm she previously co-founded was merged with Fragomen’s practice. She began her legal career serving as a corporate lawyer for seven years and headed the Canadian Practice Group for a Buffalo, New York firm of more than 100 lawyers. Thereafter, she co-founded a law firm in Buffalo that primarily advised Canadians doing business in the United States in connection with corporate, tax and business immigration law matters.

Ellen concentrated her practice on Canadians entering the United States under the provisions of the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA). Following the merger of her practice with Fragomen, Ellen assisted with the opening of our firm’s first office outside of the United States in Brussels, Belgium.

She practices exclusively in the area of U.S. business immigration law with an emphasis on small and medium-sized corporations. Ellen works with a wide range of industries and highly-skilled or high net worth individuals, primarily citizens of Canada or European countries.

In addition to representing foreign clients in obtaining permission to work or live in the United States, Ellen is actively involved with several international bar associations. She serves as President of the American Foreign Law Association. Ellen is a frequent speaker and author, and she represents the firm at international conferences and meetings with both governments and non-governmental organizations in connection with global business migration.

Ellen is the founder of the Pro Bono Immigration Project of the Bar Association of Erie County, which represents indigent aliens detained at the Federal Detention Facility at Batavia, New York.

Ellen speaks English and French.


State University of New York at Buffalo School of Law | J.D., 1983
Mount Holyoke College | B.A., 1966


Listed in Best Lawyers in America, 2021

Listed in International Who's Who of Corporate Immigration Attorneys, Who’s Who Legal, 2004 to 2008, 2012 to 2018

Listed in New York Super Lawyers, 2006 to 2017

Listed as one of “The Top Women” in immigration in New York, Super Lawyers - New York Metro 2016: The Top Women

Listed in Best Corporate Immigration Lawyers; Who’s Who in the World Who's Who Legal, The International Who's Who of Business Lawyers, 2005

Fellow of the American Bar Association since 1998

Professional Accomplishments / Memberships

Bar Admissions: New York, Balie te Brussel (Flemish Bar – admitted as a Foreign Legal Consultant)

Court Admissions: U.S. District Court, Western District of New York

Member and Fellow, American Bar Association

President, American Foreign Law Association

Representative to the United Nations Economic and Social Council in Geneva, American Bar Association

Member, Advisory Board, Commission on Immigration, American Bar Association

Liaison to the Union Internationale des Avocats, American Bar Association

Steering Group, UN and International Institutions Coordinating Committee of the Section of International Law, American Bar Association

President, Working Group on Immigration and Nationality Law, Union Internationale des Avocats

Member, Council on International Affairs, Association of the Bar of the City of New York

Member, Task Force on International Legal Practice, Association of the Bar of the City of New York

Member, International Bar Association

Member, Canadian Bar Association

Member, New York State Bar Association

Member, American Immigration Lawyers Association

Former Program Officer, International Law Section, American Bar Association

Former Council Member, International Law Section, American Bar Association

Former Chair, Immigration and National Law Committee, International Law Section, American Bar Association

Former Chair, Canadian Law Committee, International Law Section, American Bar Association

Former Founding Member, International Law Section, New York State Bar Association

Former Chair, Canadian Law Committee, International Law Section, New York State Bar Association

Former Liaison to the Buffalo District Office of the U.S. Immigration and Naturalization Service, American Immigration Lawyers Association, Western New York Chapter

Assists Canadian clients qualifying for port-of-entry adjudication under the Canada-U.S. Free Trade Agreement and NAFTA to present applications for admission at various U.S. Ports of Entry as intra-company transferees, management consultants, scientific technicians and technologists

Assists U.S. companies and foreign companies doing business in the United States in obtaining work authorization for highly-skilled foreign nationals hired locally, as well as international assignees. Provides assistance with spousal work authorization, labor certification and all other aspects of nonimmigrant and immigrant visas

Advises U.S. and foreign companies on immigration compliance issues, including I-9 employment verification program issues and deemed export rules

Advises companies on the immigration consequences of mergers and acquisitions and assists in enabling the retention of key employees

Assists medical device manufacturers, technology companies, beverage distributors, international food companies, international accounting firms and law firms in obtaining work authorization for key employees in the United States in a timely and cost-effective manner

Assists professionally-qualified, adult children of non-U.S. lawyers and accountants throughout the world to obtain authorization to work in the United States in family-owned businesses or other enterprises

Works with the firm’s Global Visa group and overseas offices to assist companies in gaining permission to engage in business in worldwide jurisdictions Also works with the firm’s Consular Practice group, to assist foreign nationals in obtaining visas at U.S. Embassies and Consulates abroad, as well as foreign Embassies and Consulates in the United States

Publications and Lectures

Ellen G. Yost, Nadia H. Yakoob & Sherri C. Staples, “Immigration Considerations for International Assignments, in International Corporate Practice: a Practitioner’s Guide to Global Success,” 22-1 (Carole Basri, ed., 2008).

Ellen G. Yost & Nancy H. Morowitz, “NAFTA, in Business Immigration Law: Strategies for Employing Foreign Nationals,” (Rodney Malpert & Amanda Petersen, eds., 2007).

“Canada and U.S. Approaches to the Movement of People,” U.S.- Canada Law Journal, Case Western Reserve School of Law (2005).

“Recent Developments in U.S. Immigration Laws Affecting the Entry of Canadians into the United States,” U.S.-Canada Law Journal, Case Western Reserve School of Law (2003).

“Legal Billing Practices in the United States,” Orde van Vlaamse Balies, Advocatentag (2006).

Ellen lectures extensively on a variety of immigration topics to audiences in the United States and abroad. The following are organizations to which she has presented in recent years and the venues of the presentations:

  • American Bar Association: Atlanta, Chicago, Honolulu, New York, San Francisco, Seattle, Washington, - - D.C., Brussels, London
  • Canadian Bar Association: Hamilton, Montreal, Toronto
  • International Bar Association: Buenos Aires
  • New York State Bar Association: New York
  • Association of the Bar of the City of New York: New York
  • Union Internationale des Avocats: Fez, London, Paris
  • Association Internationale des Jeunes Avocats: Antwerp, Sydney, Toronto
  • American Immigration Lawyers Association: New Orleans
  • Flemish Bar Advocatentag: Genk, Belgium
  • The World Trade Organization: Geneva
  • International Organization for Migration: Geneva
  • Institute Universitaire des Hautes Etudes International: Geneva
  • Migration Policy Group: Brussels
  • Quaker United Nations Office: Geneva
  • International Centre for Trade and Sustainable Development: Geneva
  • Global Commission on International Migration: Budapest
  • Agoria: Brussels
  • State University of New York at Buffalo School of Law: Buffalo
  • Seton Hall Law School: Newark
  • EHSAL: Brussels
  • Brooklyn Law School: New York
  • Southern New England School of Law: Dartmouth, MA
  • Belgian-American Chamber of Commerce: New York
  • Canada –U.S. Law Institute: Cleveland
  • Branksome Hall: Toronto
  • Council on Migration Studies: New York
  • Greater Cleveland International Lawyers Group: Cleveland
  • International Taxation Conference: New York
  • Center for International Legal Studies: Salzburg
  • Embassy of Belgium: Washington, D.C.