Meet Our Legal Team

Shara Svendsen – Attorney

The Law Office of Shara Svendsen PLLC emphasizes family-based and humanitarian immigration matters, including visas for survivors of crime, survivors of forced labor and trafficking, and people fleeing persecution. Shara Svendsen is fluent in Spanish and has been practicing immigration law since 2008.

Shara is an active leader in the local chapter of American Immigration Lawyers Association (AILA). Shara serves on the U visa, Continuing Legal Education, and asylum committees. Shara has extensive experience representing individuals and families before U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services, the Immigration Court and Courts of Appeals. She also volunteers with Familias Unidas with Lutheran Community Services Northwest.


  • State Bar of Washington

  • Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals

  • Snohomish County Bar Association


Elaine Fordyce – Attorney

Elaine’s practice focuses on family-based immigration, including petitions for relatives, adjustment of status, consular processing, and provisional waivers. Elaine also emphasizes asylum, T visas for victims of trafficking and U visas for victims of crime, and represents individuals in removal proceedings. Elaine has experience in family law, including dissolution of marriage and child support cases, and occasionally assists our clients in limited family law matters. She volunteered at the Union Gospel Mission’s Open Door Legal Services throughout law school and went on to work there as an attorney prior to entering the immigration field. At Open Door Legal Services, Elaine provided legal assistance to Seattle’s homeless and low-income populations.

Elaine earned her J.D. from the University of Washington School of Law, where she participated in the Mediation Clinic and spent a summer working as a Welfare Advocate at Solid Ground. Prior to law school, Elaine earned her B.A. in Political Science from Seattle University, where she completed the two-year honors program and received the John F. Kennedy Award.


  • State Bar of Washington

  • American Immigration Lawyer’s Association (AILA)

  • U.S. District Court

  • Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals


Alejandro Cumplido – Business Manager

Alejandro Cumplido Ramirez serves as the Business Manager for the Law Office of Shara Svendsen PLLC. Alex immigrated to the United States from Mexico as a young man and knows firsthand the stresses of living as an undocumented immigrant and the life-changing experience of becoming a U.S. citizen. In 2016, Alex left a career in transportation to manage the Law Office of Shara Svendsen PLLC.  Alex is a strong believer in the importance of communication and client relationships.  When not at work, he enjoys spending time outdoors with his family in the Pacific Northwest.

Kelly Maldonado – Paralegal

Kelly graduated high school in 2019 with an International Baccalaureate diploma, a Washington State Honors diploma, and a Washington State Seal of Biliteracy. She is currently studying at the University of Washington to obtain a Bachelor of Arts in Political Science. She is a member of UW Political Science Honors program and is set to graduate by June 2022. Kelly strives to one day attend law school.

Languages – Kelly can fluently read and write Spanish. She can also speak conversational Portuguese.
Hobbies – In her spare time, Kelly enjoys walking her dog, going to the movies, and trying new food.

Itzel Barajas – PARALEGAL

Itzel is one of our paralegals here at the Law Office of Shara Svendsen PLLC. Itzel graduated high school and went on to study business administration at Washington State University for a few years before ultimately deciding that immigration law was the route she wanted to take. Itzel’s family immigrated to the United States in the 90’s and she got to see very early on, the struggles her family had to face. This inspired her to want to help others in the same position her family was once in.

Languages – Itzel can fluently read and write Spanish.
Hobbies – Spending time with her family/pets and eating good food.

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Attorneys Licensed in Washington State