Olivia McMillan McLaren (formerly practising as Olivia Sanson) is a U.S. qualified attorney admitted to the bar of the State of New York, whose legal practice focuses on U.S. immigration and nationality law.  

Olivia has been selected for inclusion in the 2015-2019 Who's Who in Corporate Immigration publication, which provides a listing of the leading corporate immigration lawyers in the world, and as a Rising Star by Super Lawyers for the New York Metro area in 2014 and 2013, as published in the New York Times Magazine.  

Since its inception in 2014, Olivia McLaren, Ltd. has been selected as Best Boutique Immigration Law Firm - UK, Corporate Insider Business Excellence Awards 2019, Best in Immigration Law Services, Corporate LiveWire Global Awards 2017, Best Boutique Immigration Law Firm in the United Kingdom by Corporate LiveWire (2015 and 2016) and as Best Boutique Foreign Law Firm in the 2015 UK Corporate Excellence Awards by Corporate Vision. 

Our Story

After working in U.S. immigration and nationality law in New York City for a decade, Olivia moved to Edinburgh in 2014 to join her husband, a native of Scotland. Olivia has Scottish heritage herself, with ancestors emigrating from the Knapdale area to North Carolina in the early 19th century.

Olivia M. McLaren

Olivia M. McLaren



Committed to strengthening ties between Scotland and the United States through active participation in the American-Scottish Foundation. Operating a law firm in Edinburgh, Scotland, to provide advisory services for businesses and individuals requiring support in the U.S. immigration process.


Olivia McLaren, Ltd., Edinburgh, Scotland
Principal, July 2014 - present

The American-Scottish Foundation, New York, NY
International Advisory Committee, 2016 - present; Board of Directors, 2012-2016

New York Law Journal, New York, NY
Co-Columnist, Immigration Law Column (bimonthly), 2012-2014

Satterlee Stephens Burke & Burke LLP, New York, NY
Associate, July 2007 - July 2014
Practice concentrated in immigration law, assisting foreign nationals and their employers in obtaining benefits under the immigration and nationality laws of the United States. Among other things, benefits include citizenship, lawful permanent residence, and temporary visas for work or personal visits. Represented individuals in removal proceedings before the Immigration Courts and on appeal before the Board of Immigration Appeals and the Administrative Appeals Office. In addition, involved in federal court litigation to pursue immigration benefits.

Law Offices of Spar & Bernstein, P.C., New York, NY
Associate, 2005-2007
Practice concentrated in family-based immigration law and deportation defense.

Klasko, Rulon, Stock & Seltzer, LLP, New York, NY
Law Clerk/Attorney, 2004-2005
Prepared immigration cases for research scientists and world renowned mathematicians, doctors, musicians and artists.
Catholic Charities Department of Immigrant and Refugee Services, New York, NY
Legal Intern, Summer 2003
Provided research support for asylum and temporary protected status (immigration law) cases.

Professor Neil Vidmar, Duke University School of Law, Durham, NC
Research Assistant, 2002-2003
Provided research support for a motion to change venue in a prominent American terrorist case, and analyzed data for the Arizona Jury Project.


Duke University School of Law, Durham, NC
LL.M., International and Comparative Law, May 2004

Duke University School of Law, Durham, NC
J.D., May 2004

Duke-Geneva Institute in Transnational Law, Geneva, Switzerland, Summer 2002

University of Florida, Gainesville, FL
B.A., with high honors, History, May 2001
Thesis:     “Land and Labor in the Making of Haiti”

University of Cambridge, Cambridge, England, “19th-Century British History,” Summer 1999

Stanton College Preparatory School, Jacksonville, FL, 1994-1998


Admitted to the Bar of the State of New York, 2005

Member, American Immigration Lawyers Association (AILA) (2005-present)

Member, AILA Rome District Chapter Practice Management Committee (2016-2017)

Member, AILA New York Chapter Citizenship Day Committee (2007-2014) 

Member, AILA New York Chapter Corporate Practice Committee (2010-2012)

Member, Immigration Law Practitioners' Association (2016-present)

Member, New York City Bar Association (2017-present)


Interviewed for “Brexit for Americans”, The American (magazine), March-April 2019

Speaker, World Service Group (WSG) 2019 Labour Law Seminar: Immigration Law Panel, hosted by Sheppard & Wedderburn (February 22, 2019)

Speaker, Morton Fraser Podcast, “Immigration Podcast: UK and US immigration law - what we can expect to happen” (available online at https://www.morton-fraser.com/knowledge-hub/immigration-podcast-immigration-what-expect-happen, February 19, 2019)

Author, “US Immigration Law Topics: ESTA “Not Authorized”/Visitor Visa Refused – What Now?”, Immigration Law 2019 Expert Guide (CorporateLiveWire 2019)

Speaker, Scottish International Week (Institute of Directors/Scottish Business Network), “What to be Aware of When Embarking on Business in the US”, together with Nora Rothrock and David Daley of US Tax & Financial Services, and Tracey Ginn of MBM Commercial (September 21, 2018)

Editor, AILA Insight, “Buy American, Hire American - Hurting American Companies?” by Veronica Guinto (AILA Doc 18082970, July 17, 2018)

Speaker, "Doing Business in the US: Know Before You Go!", together with the Principal Officer for the U.S. Consulate General in Edinburgh, Susan A. Wilson, and Tracey Ginn of MBM Commercial (April 27, 2018)

Author, "What Does It Mean to Visit the United States for Business Purposes?", Immigration Law 2017 Expert Guide (CorporateLiveWire 2017)

Interviewed for "What the Trump Presidency Will Mean for Expats," The American (magazine), January-February 2017

Speaker, Morton Fraser Podcast, "Immigration: Factors couples can consider when choosing UK or USA" (available at: http://www.morton-fraser.com/knowledge-hub/immigration-factors-couples-can-consider-when-choosing-uk-or-usa, December 14, 2016)

Speaker, Morton Fraser Podcast, "Immigration: Potential change to business immigration rules in 2017" (available at: http://www.morton-fraser.com/knowledge-hub/immigration-potential-change-business-immigration-rules-2017, December 13, 2016)

Speaker, MBM Commercial Lunch Series, "Venturing Further into the US" (December 1, 2016)

Columnist, Business Comment (Edinburgh Chamber of Commerce) U.S.A. Immigration, published bimonthly; includes "One Minute Q&A for Human Resources" (December 2014/January 2015 and February/March 2015)

Interviewed for profile, Cohn, Rachel, "Olivia McLaren: Charting a New Path in Scotland" (Ahead of the Curve: Duke Law's Women in Entrepreneurship November 29, 2014)

Interviewed for profile "Getting Started" (Business Comment October 2014/November 2014)

Co-columnist, New York Law Journal Immigration Law column, published bimonthly
Includes primary authorship of “Foreigners on U.S. Soil: To Know Your Rights Is to Know Very Little” (June 27, 2012), “Comprehensive Immigration Reform Is Waiting in the Wings” (December 27, 2012), “Labor Department’s Green Card Test – Fair Process or Bureaucratic Whim?” (June 26, 2013), “No Comprehensive Immigration Reform: A Year-End Review” (January 2, 2014) 

Interviewed and cited for news brief, Stashenko, Joel, “Attorneys Have a Lot to Analyze in Gauging the Impact of DOMA Ruling on Client Benefits” (NYLJ June 28, 2013)

Co-author, “What about the I-9? I-9 and E-Verify Compliance in the Context of Pending Adjustment of Status Applications and Travel on Advance Parole,” Immigration Compliance Book (2009-2010 Edition, ILW) 

Prepared updates for various sections of Immigration Law & Procedure (2009-2010, Eds. Stanley Mailman and Stephen Yale-Loehr) 

Speaker, “I-9 Completion and Record Keeping” (ILW 2010)

Discussion Leader,“Citizenship Brown Bag Lunch” (AILA NY 2009) 

Speaker, “Procedural Issues in Waivers of Inadmissibility” (AILA National 2008)