Paul Virtue


Mayer Brown
1999 K Street, N.W.
Washington, DC 20006-1101
United States of America

Tel: +1 202 263 3875
Fax: +1 212 262 1910


Paul Virtue is a partner in the Employment & Benefits group focusing on global immigration and mobility issues. He is based in Mayer Brown’s Washington DC office where he represents clients on a broad range of employment-related immigration and compliance issues. He has more than 30 years of experience in immigration law and related policy, regulatory, and legislative areas. He advises clients on a full range of employment-related immigration, worksite compliance and policy issues.

Prior to entering private practice, Paul served as general counsel of the US Immigration and Naturalization Service (INS). As general counsel, Paul was the agency’s chief legal officer supervising a nationwide litigation staff of more than 600 lawyers and providing legal and policy advice to the INS Commissioner and senior officials, the Attorney General, the White House, and other federal agencies on issues under INS jurisdiction.

Paul held other high-level positions in the United States government during his 16 years of public service, including executive associate commissioner for programs and deputy general counsel. As executive associate commissioner, he authored more than two dozen memoranda setting forth agency guidance, including an outline for applying a new measure on “good faith” compliance enacted by Congress. The guidance, known eponymously as “The Virtue Memorandum,” continues to form the basis for worksite enforcement investigations today. Paul also represented the United States on the International Air Transport Association (IATA) Control Authority Working Group, a forum for ongoing dialogue between the airlines and immigration officials from the member states in respect of the control of illegal migration. In 1997, he received the Attorney General’s Award for Distinguished Service for his leadership role in implementing the 1996 Illegal Immigration Reform and Immigrant Responsibility Act.

Paul has testified before Congress on more than a dozen occasions as a senior level government official and more recently as an expert on immigration and compliance issues. His experience in providing advice and counsel to leaders at the highest levels of the federal government on compliance issues and immigration reform is a valuable resource for clients.

We are noted for our commitment to client service and our ability to assist clients with their most complex and demanding legal and business challenges worldwide. We serve many of the world’s largest companies, including a significant proportion of the Fortune 100, FTSE 100, DAX and Hang Seng Index companies and more than half of the world’s largest banks. We provide legal services in areas such as banking and finance; corporate and securities; litigation and dispute resolution; antitrust and competition; US Supreme Court and appellate matters; employment and benefits; environmental; financial services regulatory & enforcement; government and global trade; intellectual property; real estate; tax; restructuring, bankruptcy and insolvency; and wealth management.


Virtue is lauded for being “very capable and knowledgeable” on immigration policy, legislation and regulation.
Chambers USA, 2014