Attorney Steven Thal has devoted more than three decades of his life to resolving complicated immigration challenges, helping immigrants realize their dreams.
While the distance from Thal’s boyhood home – a beef cattle farm in Watertown, Minnesota – to his law office in Minnetonka may be only a few miles, his journey has spanned the globe.
Thal profiled in national publication
A recent article in Attorney At Law Magazine details Thal’s rural beginnings in Watertown, which led to him becoming president of the state chapter of Future Farmers of America (FFA). Then it was off to the University of Minnesota.
After winning several FFA state speaking contests, Thal became interested in radio and TV production and joined the UM debate team. It was this communications background that set the foundation for his law career.
A worldwide perspective emerges
While earning his degree, Thal and his wife, also a UM student, became actively involved in helping international students by working with the university’s International Student Advisor’s Office and the Minnesota International Center, a nonprofit now called Global Minnesota.
After graduation, the Thals spent two years in the Peace Corps, serving in a remote community in Ecuador. Experiencing life without running water, a few hours of electricity per day and little communication with the outside world had a profound effect.
After returning to the U.S., the Thals immediately sponsored two international students and offered them a home away from home. They helped out with visa applications and attended consular interviews. Both students attended high school in the U.S., and they keep in touch to this day. The Thals have since hosted many more international students.
A personal approach to immigration issues
The Thals both returned to UM, where Steven earned his law degree, and his wife received a master’s degree in social work. Steven opened his law practice in 1988, capitalizing on his legal and personal experience, as well as his Spanish language skills, to focus on immigration matters.
Thal has served in many national and state leadership roles as a member of the American Immigration Lawyers Association. He also chaired the Minnesota State Bar Association’s immigration section. He received the organization’s National Presidential Award for Tireless and Creative Advocacy in addition to many other honors.