KARA L. YOUNGBLOOD, Attorney at Law
Kara L. Youngblood is a native of Morrison, Tennessee and grew up on a family-owned nursery and cow-calf farm, giving her a deep understanding of the relationship between the agricultural business and its labor force, and the extent to which legalized immigrant workers help local economies and individual livelihoods. She is the owner and founding attorney of Youngblood and Associates, a firm which she built from the ground up, now serving hundreds of local and national individual and employer clients. Youngblood and Associates is one of the most uniquely structured firms of its kind in the country, because its staff is as experienced in business agriculture as it is in immigration and labor law, which is reflected in the range of services provided and diversity of clients served.
Kara graduated cum laude from Middle Tennessee State University (MTSU) in 2009 with a Bachelor of Science degree in Agriculture Economics and a minor in Business Administration. She served as Treasurer for her sorority, Alpha Omicron Pi, and was a member of and spokesman for the Delta Tau Alpha Honor Society. Kara received the Outstanding Senior Agribusiness Award in 2009.
Kara pursued her law degree at the University of Memphis Cecil C. Humphreys School of Law. She graduated cum laude in the top 15% of her class in 2012 and received CALI Awards (top performance award) in Secured Transactions, U.S. Taxation of International Income, Partnership Taxation, and Federal Taxation of Business Enterprises. In 2011, she interned under the Honorable S. Thomas Anderson, U. S. District Judge for the Western District of Tennessee, and later worked as a law clerk for the in-house counsel of Drexel Chemical in Memphis, Tennessee, an agriculture chemical company.
Kara was admitted to practice law in the state of Tennessee in 2012 and began working as Associate Counsel for Ascend Federal Credit Union in Tullahoma, Tennessee, focusing on real estate law and federal regulatory compliance. Later, she taught undergraduate law courses at Middle Tennessee State University for both the Jennings A. Jones College of Business and the School of Agribusiness and Agriscience. In addition to classroom instruction, Kara also developed an off-campus agribusiness curriculum for MTSU’s University College. Kara also serves as an Alderman for the Town of Morrison, and previously served as the municipal attorney.
Kara has represented immigration clients before USCIS, EOIR, NVC and the BIA. Additionally, she is admitted to practice in the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Tennessee.
Kara’s passion for immigration law is based on an appreciation of the cultural diversity of rural America and the true economic necessity of a vital immigrant workforce. As such, she has developed a centered approach to her practice that incorporates these factors in her dedication to the law.
JAN KOZAK, Employment Visa Coordinator
Jan Kozak was born and raised in Pontiac, Michigan before settling permanently in Tennessee with her husband, a professional trick roper and Guinness World Record holder, whom she met at the Dixie Stampede where she danced professionally in ballet and jazz. Prior to joining the firm, Jan worked in various administrative capacities at a hospital for 20 years, preparing her for her current role which requires customer service and client interaction and support. Jan works exclusively with employer clients, focusing on PERM, TN Visas and H2A and H2B programs.
Outside of the office, she and her husband operate a calf-cow operation on their farm, which breeds Longhorns, Brangus and Hereford cattle, having previously worked caring for animals at an exotic animal ranch in Missouri as well as a family dairy farm. Her success as a cattle farmer is instrumental in providing her with the hands-on knowledge of agricultural and labor needs that employer clients face, and compliments her administrative experience.
In her current capacity, Jan additionally travels to and promotes the firm’s services at agricultural trade shows, at which she is able to relate to prospective employer clients’ needs and communicate the firm’s specialized, all inclusive and custom legal representation.
TALYA FREEBORN, Employment Visa Paralegal
Talya Freeborn was born and raised in McMinnville, Tennessee and also worked for a hospital in various leadership and training capacities for 17 years before joining the firm in 2017. Talya earned a bachelor’s degree in business management and has significant technical knowledge of project management, operating systems and employee training. She has two sons and five acres of land which she is developing into a home vineyard.
Talya is responsible for all aspects of PERM, TN Visa, H2A and H2B filing and processing, which consists of adhering to rigorous government requirements and timelines. She collects and synthesizes evidence from employer clients in order to demonstrate that each client’s operations meet the government mandates showing a need for seasonal, peak or part time labor and responds to government requests for additional information or evidence. Talya’s background in business management and computer data base systems allows her to navigate complex third-party requirements while ensuring that employers are able to understand all aspects of their cases in simple terms.
CHRISHELEN RODRIGUEZ, Individual & Family Case Manager
Chrishelen Rodriguez was born and raised in McMinnville, Tennessee, where her parents immigrated to from Mexico in the 1980s. Her mother and father established permanent residency through the 1985 amnesty program and later became U.S. citizens. Chrishelen and her family continue to celebrate their Hispanic heritage by actively participating in and contributing to the local Hispanic community, which is also home to many of our family-based clients. She initially worked in the front office in a variety of secretarial and administrative capacities, in addition to providing written and verbal Spanish translations. Her friendly attitude and lifelong residency in McMinnville make her a valuable asset to the team.
Chrishelen graduated from Warren County High School in 2010 and maintains her familial and cultural ties to Mexico through her young children, Nathan and Zoe, by visiting family and friends across the border. She is currently pursuing her Associates degree in paralegal studies with a concentration in immigration law and is a notary public in addition to her usual duties in the McMinnville office.
Chris has the most tenure of any employee, and helped build the firm to its current capacity from its inception. Initially working reception and various other duties based on need and translations, Chris promoted to Case Manager as the firm expanded because of her solid foundation of knowledge of the clients, cases and case types, firm history and purpose. She now personally oversees each family-based case to ensure that all record keeping requirements are met and that cases are thoroughly organized based on evidence collected.
GIMENA “MENA” JANTES, Employment Visa Assistant
Mena Jantes was born in Mexico and came to McMinnville, Tennessee as a child. In addition to being friendly, bilingual, rooted in the community, and an effective multi-tasker, she is also a former client who has gone through the immigration process personally, making her an invaluable resource to both clients and staff. Prior to joining the firm, Mena worked as a restaurant server for five years, and therefore has a demonstrated capacity to effectively handle a wide range of client interactions, serve as the “face” of the office and seamlessly ensure that clients’ needs are met and that staff schedules and translations are consistent and accurate.