Main Menu
Photo of Debra Auerbach Clephane Kennedy

Debra Auerbach Clephane Kennedy

Partner, Detroit
Detroit
t: 248.433.8730
f: 248.540.8059

Overview

Debbie Kennedy is a partner in the Immigration Practice Group and has extensive experience handling immigration matters and counseling employers in I-9 compliance actions.  She advises both U.S. and non-U.S. employers who seek to employ foreign nationals in the United States, and has experience facilitating the employment of U.S. workers abroad. Debbie regularly counsels management and professional organizations on strategic planning immigration issues related to establishing new U.S. enterprises.  She also facilitates on-site employer training for human resource personnel on topics of temporary visa classifications, student employment, national interest waivers, permanent residence procedures, I-9 compliance, E-verify, NAFTA and IRCA discrimination.

Honors & Leadership

Honors & Awards

  • Named, Best Lawyers "Lawyer of the Year", Immigration Law (2021)
  • Recognized in The Best Lawyers in America (2009 – 2021)
  • dbusiness Magazine’s 2020 “Top Women Lawyers in Michigan”
  • Best Lawyers, Women in the Law
  • Named, Lawyer of the Year (Immigration), Best Lawyers (2015)
  • Michigan Super Lawyers
  • Leading Lawyers for Immigration Law: Employment
  • Top Women Attorneys in Michigan, Hour Detroit
  • dbusiness Top Lawyers of Metro Detroit: Immigration Law
  • Crain's Top Attorneys in Michigan
  • Martindale-Hubbell® NOTABLE® Peer Rated for Strong Ethical Standards

Professional Activities

  • Chair and Executive Board Member, International Law Section, State Bar of Michigan (2017-2018)
  • Chair Elect and Executive Board Member, International Law Section, State Bar of Michigan (2016-2017)
  • Fellow, Michigan State Bar Foundation (2015-present)
  • Treasurer and Executive Board Member, International Law Section, State Bar of Michigan (2015-2016)
  • Chair, Global Detroit Committee, American Immigration Lawyers Association (AILA) - Michigan Chapter (2015) AILA Liaison to Global Michigan (2015)
  • Secretary and Executive Board Member, International Law Section, State Bar of Michigan (2014-2015)
  • Co-Chair, International Employment Law and Immigration Committee, International Law Section, State Bar of Michigan (2011-2014)
  • Chair, Michigan AILA-Customs and Border Protection Liaison Committee (2011-2013)
  • Council Member, International Employment Law and Immigration Committee, International Law Section, State Bar of Michigan (2009-2014)
  • Chair, International Employment Law and Immigration Committee, International Law Section, State Bar of Michigan (2006-2010)
  • Member, American Immigration Lawyers Association (1992-present)
  • Member, State Bar of Michigan (1991-present)

Community Activities

  • Parent Board, Detroit Country Day School (2010-2012; 2014-present)
  • Customs and Border Protection, Citizens Academy (2012)
  • Citizenship Day, International Institute of Metropolitan Detroit (2007)
  • International Institute of Metropolitan Detroit (past Board Member)
  • American Arab and Jewish Friends, a group affiliated with Metropolitan Detroit Interfaith Roundtable (past Board Member)

Insights

News

Seminars & Speaking Engagements

  • Keynote Speaker/Lunch Panel, "Global Talent in Today's Environment," 33rd Annual West Michigan Trade Week Business Conference, Grand Rapids, Michigan (2018)
  • Moderator, "The Face of Immigration Under a New Administration:  Policy and Practice," State Bar of Michigan, International Law Section, Annual Meeting (2017)
  • Panel Speaker for "Wayne Law’s Alumni Speaker Series: Immigration Law," Wayne State University School of Law (2017)
  • "What Employment Lawyers Need to Know About Immigration Issues and Business Travel to/from Canada," Employers Counsel Network, Toronto, Ontario, Canada (2016)
  • Moderator, "Policy, Practicality, and Reality: The Three Facets of Immigration," State Bar of Michigan, International Law Section (2014)
  • "E-Verify: Voluntary or Mandatory" (2014)
  • "I-9 Compliance and Business Immigration" (2014)
  • "Employment Verification and E-Verify" (2013)
  • "Through the Looking Glass: Obama and Romney" (2012)
  • "Work Authorization Options: The Road to H-1B and Beyond," Wayne State University, Global Talent Retention Initiative (2012)
  • "Immigration in 2012: Views from the Past, the Present, and the Future," State Bar of Michigan, International Law Section Annual Meeting (2012)
  • AILA-Michigan Spring Conference, Customs & Border Protection Panel (2012)
  • "Career Options: Immigration Law," Michigan State University Law School (2012)
  • "Immigration Challenges: Homeland Security Measures vs. Labor Market Demand" (2011)
  • "Career Options: Immigration Law," International Law Section, Wayne State University Law School (2011)
  • "Career Options: Immigration Law," International Law Section, Thomas M. Cooley Law School (2011)
  • "Immigration Under the Obama Administration: A Retrospective," International Law Section, Wayne State University Law School (2011)
  • "Administrative Site Visit and Verification Program," International Law Section of the State Bar of Michigan (2010)
  • "The Face of Immigration Under the Obama Administration," International Law Section of the State Bar of Michigan (2009)
  • "IRCA & the Balancing Act: I-9 Compliance vs. Discrimination," Michigan College & University Professors Association (2005)
  • "Vigilance vs. Discrimination: I-9 Compliance for Your Workforce," M. Lee Smith HR Hero Audio Conference Series (2003)

Articles

  • Author, "Comments from the Chair," Michigan International Lawyer (2017)
  • Author, "The Face of Immigration Under the Obama Administration," Michigan International Lawyer (2009)
  • Co-author, Immigration Chapter, HR Guide to Employment Law: A Practical Compliance Reference (2009)
  • Author, "Recent Developments in Immigration Law: Part II," Michigan International Lawyer, Vol. XX, No. 1, Winter 2008
  • Author, "Recent Developments in Immigration Law: Part I," Michigan International Lawyer, Vol. XIX, No. 3, Fall 2007
  • Co-author, "The Attorney-Client Privilege and the Work Product Doctrine in Michigan," Michigan Institute of Continuing Legal Education (1992)
  • Author of numerous articles on immigration law in professional journals and immigration newsletters
  • Past Editor, "The Immigration Corner," monthly column in Michigan Employment Law Letter

Education

Bar Admissions

Back to Page

By using this site, you agree to our updated General Privacy Policy and our Legal Notices.