Carlos Alvardo: Helping those who seek the American dream

October 22, 2013
Carlos Alvarado

Carlos Alvarado

Carlos Alvarado Law PC is one of the sponsors of this week’s Ludington and Scottville Area Chamber of Commerce Business After Hours. See below for details.

This story is the first in our new blog series: The Business Plan, a partnership with the Ludington & Scottville Area Chamber of Commerce. 

LUDINGTON – At the corner of Staffon and Harrison streets, one block south of Ludington Avenue is a small law firm that has a big impact on many people’s lives. Ludington-based attorney Carlos Alvarado specializes in immigration, business and real estate law.

While he did not set out to be an immigration attorney, it seems fitting, since Carlos himself is an immigrant, and naturalized citizen. He came to this country from Chile in 1985 with his wife April, who was an American citizen and a teacher. In 1991, they settled in Ludington where they have made their home since, raising two children and becoming involved with many aspects of the community. Carlos actually did not become a citizen until 2009.

“I never thought I needed to be a citizen because I was a legal resident,” he says. “But, I finally determined that this was my home and this is my life. I don’t see myself going back to Chile and I wanted to enjoy the full benefits of being a citizen, which is that I have the privilege to vote. Being able to vote has been one of the major satisfactions of my life. I am a very strong supporter of the rights granted to citizens under the Constiution. Voting is something I treasure.”

Before becoming a citizen, Carlos went to college and received a law degree from the University of Michigan. He became a reputable attorney in western Michigan, specializing in business law. He also taught U.S. government classes at West Shore Community College.

He now passes on his passion for U.S. citizenship on to others who have the same dream to become legitimate and productive members of United States society. Even though he is located in Ludington, the majority of his clients live outside of this region. Immigration law, he says, is practiced in federal court. As an attorney, he is not limited to practicing just within Michigan.

“I have clients who live in 30 different states,” he says. “Current and past clients have come from China, Hong Kong, Russia, Germany, Australia, New Zeeland, United Kingdom and, of course, Canada and Mexico.” Using modern technology, such as Skype, mobile phones and email, Carlos can easily communicate with his clients anywhere they are at.

He says immigration law certainly has its challenges. While he is not a criminal lawyer by practice of representing people who violate state laws, immigration law is considered criminal. Unlike all other laws in the United States, which presume a person is innocent unless proven guilty and the burden to prove guilt is put on the prosecution, illegal immigrants are basically presumed guilty and must prove themselves worthy of becoming citizens.

“It’s a major challenge when you are working with people who have been undocumented,” Carlos says. “You have to build a record of their existence here in the States. They came to this country in the shadows, they don’t having a checking account – the operate in cash. They often don’t use their own names. So, when it’s time to present paperwork, they have already hurt themselves by hiding.”

He says in recent years the State Department has made the paperwork process a little easier. “When you win an immigration case it’s a wonderful moment. You lift a weight off someone who has lived secretly for often 15 to 20 years. They are reunited with family.”

Carlos’ practice also specializes in representing businesses in a variety of areas. Often, he must defend the business when facing an unemployment issue. He also works on business succession cases. “I love to deal with small businesses that are in the process of transitioning from the founder or owner to the next generation or are simply selling the business. It makes business grow by bringing in more capital.”

Carlos Alvarado Law PC was founded in 2008. Recently, Carlos moved the practice to shared space with attorney Ron Johnson. Though they are not partners, they share resources. He says he considers Johnson the most experienced real estate attorney in the area and Carlos is learning a lot from him.

Carlos is active in many organizations including the Ludington Rotary Club, where he serves as legal counsel and on the board; the Mason County Bar Association, where he is the current president and the Ludington and Scottville Area Chamber of Commerce, where he serves on the board.

His firm is one of the sponsors of this Wednesday’s chamber Business After Hours, which will held at A.M. Galleries in downtown Ludington from 5 to 7 p.m. Admission is $5 for chamber members and $10 for anyone else. 

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