Lily S. Axelrod is a Spanish-speaking attorney whose practice focuses on defending clients in deportation proceedings before the Memphis Immigration Court, including applications for cancellation of removal, asylum, special immigrant juvenile status, and permanent residency. Ms. Axelrod enjoys advising clients and other attorneys about the immigration consequences of criminal convictions. She also supports the firm’s federal court impact litigation efforts, challenging the government’s unlawful interpretations of immigration laws and unreasonable delays in adjudication immigration applications.

Prior to joining Siskind Susser, Ms. Axelrod worked at the intersection of immigration law and criminal defense at Masferrer & Associates in Boston, Massachusetts.   She represented clients accused of felonies and misdemeanors before local, state, and federal courts, including appeals and post-conviction relief such as motions for new trial. She also defended clients in removal proceedings before the Boston Immigration Court, focusing on finding creative strategies for clients with criminal records.

Ms. Axelrod graduated with honors from Harvard Law School, where she served as President of the Harvard Immigration Project and an editor of the Harvard Latino Law Review. As a law student, Ms. Axelrod provided over 1500 hours of pro bono legal services through the Harvard Immigration and Refugee Clinic, the Harvard Criminal Justice Institute, and Greater Boston Legal Services.  She also served as a legal intern with the Project on Economic, Social, and Cultural Rights (ProDESC) in Mexico City.

Before law school, Ms. Axelrod was a paralegal at Siskind Susser, and a community organizer with an immigrants’ rights organization.  A graduate of Brown University, Ms. Axelrod earned a bachelor’s degree in Public Policy and Latin American Studies, focusing her studies on immigration.  As an undergraduate, she spent eight months living in Mexico, studying the effects of immigration on social movements, and volunteering as a human rights observer in an indigenous Zapatista community facing displacement from their lands.

Ms. Axelrod serves as liaison to the Memphis Immigration Court for the Mid-South Chapter of the American Immigration Lawyers’ Association (AILA).  She is also a member of the International Bar Association (IBA), the National Immigration Project of the National Lawyers Guild (NIP-NLG), and the Memphis Bar Association. She is licensed to practice in Massachusetts, and practices exclusively in the area of immigration and nationality law.

Recognition and presentations

In June 2021, the American Immigration Lawyers Association honored Ms. Axelrod with the Sam Williamson Mentor Award, “in acknowledgment of her outstanding efforts and excellent counsel to immigration attorneys by providing mentoring assistance.”

Ms. Axelrod has given educational presentations for colleagues at local, national, and international legal conferences.  Recent presentations include:

  • “Asylum: The Current State of Particular Social Groups,” discussion leader for the American Immigration Lawyers Association Annual Conference, June 2021.
  • “Where do we go from here? State of Race Relations and Policies” virtual panel for the National Civil Rights Museum, May 2021
  • “Supreme Court and DACA Litigation Review” virtual panel at the Tennessee Bar Association Fall Immigration Law Forum, November 2020
  • “Extreme Adjustment of Status” panel at AILA Midsouth virtual conference, October 2020
  • “Federal Litigation and Supreme Court Updates” panel at the Tennessee Bar Association, Nashville, TN, March 2020.
  • “Sex, Drugs, and Rock and Roll: Criminal Inadmissibility Update” panel at the International Bar Association Biennial Global Immigration Conference, London, United Kingdom, November 2019.
  • “Asylum in the Midst of Madness: Sanity Through Sound Practice Management” webinar for the American Immigration Lawyers Association Asylum Conference, Washington DC, August 2019.
  • “Life after a Removal Order” panel at the American Immigration Lawyers Association Annual Conference, Orlando FL, June 2019.
  • “Hot Topics in Asylum Law” panel at the American Immigration Lawyers Association Annual Conference, San Francisco CA, June 2018.
  • “Removable as Charged? Overview of Criminal Grounds of Inadmissibility and Deportability” presentation at the American Immigration Lawyers Midsouth Chapter Conference, Nashville TN, November 2017.
  • “Criminal Bars to Common Immigration Benefits & Defenses to Removal” presentation for the Offices of the Shelby County Public Defender, Memphis TN 2017.
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