Law called to Lauren A. Cohen very early in life, and not in the vague, generic way most children picture “being an attorney.”
“When I was 11 years old, I knew I wanted to be a lawyer. Initially, I thought being a divorce lawyer was the way to go” she says, “because I felt that there was a real need for people to fight for children’s rights and to protect them during a confusing time.”
While a rather precocious declaration for one so young, her choice is not surprising. Strong family ties and a deep appreciation for the value of relationships certainly influenced her youthful aspirations. At any rate, she had a bigger, more encompassing dream. A native of Canada, Cohen says, “Like those who came before me, and the multitudes who have followed, I dreamed of immigrating to the United States in the pursuit of personal and professional happiness and success.”
As she matured and realized her own natural acumen for business, together with a series of opportune events, Cohen eventually fine-tuned her career course and today leads one of the most respected and comprehensive business immigration firms in the country.
As founder of e-Council Inc., Cohen has created a highly sophisticated concierge practice specializing in comprehensive project and investor services ranging from USCIS-compliant business plans to turnkey investor and EB-5 strategies.
“Being able to help others find their way to the American Dream and having the ability to give back every day in various ways is extremely rewarding,” says Cohen. “However, my practice is so heavily influenced by politics and regulatory changes that are outside of my control, it can also be challenging and at times frustrating.”
The Write Way
To overcome these challenges, Cohen and her team developed other opportunities to assist clients through services both within and outside traditional business immigration. Cohen’s most impactful recent initiative was the debut of her first book, “Finding Your Silver Lining in the Business Immigration Process: An Insightful Guide to Immigrant & Non-Immigrant Business Visas,” which became a No. 1 Amazon bestseller within the first week of publication.
“This has led to a multiplicity of opportunities to work with other types of businesses and investors,” Cohen says of her book’s impact, “particularly smaller businesses and franchises seeking expansion capital that are too often overlooked by traditional funding sources, but offer great opportunities to foreign nationals seeking to immigrate to the United States. Since e-Council is a business rather than a traditional law firm, we have greater flexibility and are able to adjust and morph our business model to meet market demand, client requirements, regulatory changes, etc.”
Another beneficent result of the book’s success is Cohen’s ability to establish and fund two very worthwhile projects that are dear to her heart. Find My Silver Lining is a nonprofit with the goal to inspire single working parents, especially “mompreneurs,” to persevere through challenging times and focus on the bright side as they strive to lead fulfilling lives. Find My Silver Lining will fund Zevi’s Silver Lining, a program established in memory of Cohen’s beloved father, in affiliation with Rales Jewish Family Services, a local nonprofit that is also very significant for her. The program will match children in need of grandparents with willing grandparent mentors in the community, and Cohen’s goal is to eventually expand the reach of the program to other communities throughout North America.
“These programs represent my commitment to helping others achieve their dreams through support, education and mentoring,” she says. “I feel so grateful to the opportunities that being a lawyer, and more recently an author, afford me. I am proud to be a lawyer in two countries, and proud that I am an immigrant myself, whose professional life is now focused on helping others follow a similar path. I get great pleasure out of hearing of each of my client’s successes, no matter how that success is defined.”
A woman of seemingly boundless energy and myriad interests, Cohen’s journey thus far – from corporate counsel to immigration expert, entrepreneur and best-selling author has also included securing her real estate license and venturing into the field of business brokerage.
“My journey made me realize that there is a deficit of information available to those interested in the business immigration visa process,” says Cohen, “whether clients, their advisers, counsel or others. What exists is either severely lacking or incredibly complicated.” Hence, Cohen’s book, which addresses these very issues head on!
Rising to the Challenge
Based on her thriving business, auspicious debut as author and extensive and passionate involvement with numerous community programs and organizations, one might surmise that Cohen’s road has been relatively easy. Quite the contrary; it has been one unevenly paved and wrought with unexpected potholes.
First entering the United States with a series of personal and professional roadblocks, and later as a single mother trying to establish herself as a respected attorney in a complicated industry, Cohen’s path was fraught with obstacles and setbacks. But she persevered, turning negatives into positives. These “bumps in the road” became the very cornerstone of e-Council Inc., and ensured that Cohen adhered to Disney character Dory’s motto to “Just Keep Swimming.”
What essentially began as a one-womanrun company focused on providing business plans for small businesses and those seeking immigration status, has transformed into an innovative, full-service, turnkey, concierge business immigration enterprise, comprised of a handful of experts, who guide immigrant and non-immigrant investors, business owners, and project developers through the rough terrain that is the American business immigration process.
“Everyone on our team is pretty much an equal,” she says of the e-Council team of professionals. “All of us must be willing to step up to the plate and help each other with even the most mundane of tasks from time to time.”
As unique and specialized as the business is, Cohen describes her team as even more so. A group of talented, experienced and highly motivated individuals who come together in seamless cohesiveness to get the job done.
“We are a virtual company; we value family and respect each other’s time,” she says. “Everyone keeps their own schedule and must be a self-starter. We are always focused on ways to give back to our community and our clients.”
In her rare moments of “downtime,” Cohen tends to focus primarily on her son, Zevi Bryce, who just entered first grade.
“I would have to say spending time with my son, traveling, showing him new people, places and things and seeing them through his eyes is one of my greatest pleasures. I had him very late in life – not by choice, this is just how it happened – and it is admittedly challenging to balance a now-successful career with being a single mom and I sometimes flounder, but at the end of the day he is the most important part of every day. My goal is to always give him the best of me, not the rest of me.”
A perpetual optimist, Cohen’s view on life sets the tone for everything she does. “Always find the silver lining in everything you do,” she says. “Persistence pays!” Cohen’s own motto to complement her new nonprofit is “Don’t Give Up – Give Back.”