An effective immigration attorney can easily make a significant difference to your case. Many are hard-working, sincere Lawyers who honestly want to guide you. They will, after all, potentially be generating a lot more revenue in some other types of law.
However, a bad immigration lawyer can overcharge you, fail to provide the promised services, and/or cause damage to your scenario in ways you may possibly never retrieve from. Whether you’re looking for to submit an petition for a visa or green card, trying to prevent deportation, or applying for other sorts of immigration benefit, ensure that you get the right sort of attorney working for you. Allow me to share some tips to avoid the shadier kinds of professionals.
Avoid lawyers who reach you at USCIS or other sorts of Immigration Offices. A small number of “high-volume, low value” immigration attorneys hunt the halls of immigration offices seeking to solicit business. This is definitely not considered ethical behavior by the lawful bar. Besides, any kind of great immigration attorney is most likely going to be too occupied practicing immigration law and working for their customers to spend their time rounding up new customers this particular way.
Would you ask a neighbor to change your heart valve, or your doctor to fill out your tax forms? Maybe not. For the same reasons, only a real, practicing lawyer should always be relied on to deal with your immigration issues. Unfortunately, many non-lawyers; still some well-meaning ones, that do not recognize how complex this topic of law actually is; promise to be able of helping foreigners who need help with the immigration process. In many cases, they provide very little value other than a typewriting solution. In the worst cases, they might literally take your money and run, or fill out your paperwork in wrong and harmful ways without telling you the meaning of what they’re doing.
You can come across a whole lot about your lawyer on the web: whether he or she is listed as a member of a state bar association (a requirement) and of the American Immigration Lawyers’ Association or AILA (a professional firm that most of the best attorneys join); whether he or she gets good reviews on websites like Martindale; whether the lawyer has written professional articles for publication; and so on.
If the only reviews you come up with show the attorney getting arrested or disbarred, you’ll be able to rescue yourself a private meeting.
Be careful of any kind of immigration attorney who recommends that you do anything bad: perhaps lie on an application or to a USCIS officer, provide the lawyer additional funds with which to bribe an immigration authority, or purchase a fake green card from him or her.
Such situations have actually happened. The unfortunate thing is that if you are found heading along with such a scheme, you are probably to get into much more difficulty than the lawyer. Saying, “But he told me that buying this green card stamp was the fastest way to work to the U.S.!” is most likely to bring you nowhere, and will create a permanent spot on your immigration track record, potentially making you ineligible for any upcoming visas or green cards (inadmissible).
Not even the greatest lawyers can guarantee accomplishment. Ultimately, the consequence of you situation is up to an immigration judge, the Department of Homeland Defense and/or USCIS. Any attorney claiming he or she has a 100% success rate and promising you a particular result may need to be more closely evaluated.
While most good immigration attorneys will likely be pretty busy, you should be able to speak to them and their office staff to get a sense of their promise to people as well as their overall demeanor and impression of sincerity.
Speaking to a number of lawyers will provide you with some foundation for comparison before picking out the one that will be presenting you. It will give you a chance to “feel out” various lawyers to get a feeling of their individuality and work philosophy to figure out if they will be a good fit for you. In some cases, getting a second opinion may actually expose that the first lawyer did not completely comprehend your scenario or the law, or was attempting to take your money to do something impossible or unethical.