Christopher Helt, Esq. was born in Chicago, Illinois and attended Loyola Academy, Loyola University Chicago (graduating cum laude), and Loyola University’s School of Law, and is the managing member of The Helt Law Group, LLC. His practice concentrates in federal immigration litigation involving political asylum, refugee law and deportation/removal proceeding matters before the U.S. immigration court (the Executive Office for Immigration Review) and federal court. He has attained an “AV” (Preeminent Rating) lawyer-rating by his peers, the highest lawyer-rating possible by Martindale-Hubble.
Mr. Helt has been twice-qualified as an expert witness in federal jury trials for immigration/asylum-related matters, and is a member of the 2nd, 5th, 6th, 7th, 9th, and 11th Federal Circuit Court of Appeals, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Armed Forces, the bar to U.S. Supreme Court, amongst other bar admissions. He is listed in Marquis' Who's Who in American law and has appeared on local, national television and national radio news programs (CNN, WBBM-TV, WLS, FOX NEWS, BBC and NPR radio). His cases and clients also have been featured on a regular basis in the Chicago Tribune and Chicago Sun Times. He has appeared on national ABC, NBC, CBS news and news programs, (Dan Rather's Eye on America interview of Mr. Helt, "Collateral Damage of the War on Terrorism", CNN national news, and on the front page of the New York Times (10/13/97) and featured in Time Magazine (“Does This Boy Deserve Asylum”).
Mr. Helt has appeared on the covers of Chicago Lawyer Magazine (“New Era of Immigration Law”) and was featured and in a Chicago Reporter Magazine cover story entitled “Winning Asylum”. Mr. Helt was one of the first--if not the first--attorney in the United States to have logged the first-ever second-hand smoke lawsuit (under the EPA's classification of second-hand smoke as a carcinogen), received the first ever official apology from Chicago Police officers in a 1996 civil rights case, and represented a Chicago school principle successfully suing the Chicago school superintendent and School Board demanding fair legal representation (Chicago Tribune, 8/27/99). He also is credited with bringing to the forefront the plight of some of Serbia’s own ethnic-Albanian soldiers who were systematically and secretly murdered at the hands Yugoslavia’s former president (“Serb Army Deserter Faces Trial” (Associated Press, 5/18/99)) and is the first to successfully win an asylum claim based on a child’s autism in 2001.
Mr. Helt's pro bono work covers a wide-spectrum of clientele. He frequently provides pro bono representation to the poor and underclass, and also currently serves as an active member of the ABA's Military Pro Bono Project.
Mr. Helt currently serves as the pro bono general counsel and a board member to the "Chicago FBI Explorers", a non-profit, 501(c)(3) charitable organization which partners Chicago-area youths with members of the Chicago FBI who volunteer educational services, provide leadership skills, mentoring and community outreach.
Mr. Helt has been an invited panelist speaker to law students on asylum and other immigration issues at Northwestern University School of Law on numerous occasions, previously has advised the (Chicago) Mayor's deputy chief of staff and Chicago’s Department of Consumer Services on immigration issues during "Special Registration", and on numerous occasions has traveled to Washington, D.C., personally meeting with members of U.S. Congress to argue for changes in immigration law and on behalf of his clients. He frequently speaks publicly and to private organizations in Chicago, Memphis, and Atlanta.
In 2004, a documentary was made about the harsh realities of U.S. mostly-Muslim "Special Registration" program, entitled Patriot Acts. The film received three-stars (3) from the Chicago Tribune and was featured on the cover of its film section (“Chicago-based `Patriot Acts' Shows Strength of Human Spirit.” 3/26/04). The film highlighted those affected by that law, including his clients. The film also featured Mr. Helt's professional and personal life.
Mr. Helt is an adjunct faculty member Loyola University of Chicago and has taught separate courses on immigration policy and sociological perspectives on terrorism to undergraduate and graduate students since 2007.
In 2013, Mr. Helt traveled to Pakistan to assist in an immigration matter on behalf of his client and appeared before the National Press Club of Pakistan and also as a guest on Pakistan’s Morning with Farah Show.
In 2014, Mr. Helt was featured in the ALM edition of Chicago's Top Rated Lawyer, a distinction for attorneys in Chicago who have attained the highest rating possible for legal and ethical standards amongst their peers and members of the judiciary by Martindale-Hubble.