We understand the importance of trusting and retaining an immigration lawyer/attorney for paid services. For some tips on hiring an immigration attorney and how you determine which attorney you should hire, read below.
Tips on Hiring an Attorney
Finding and engaging an attorney to assist you can be an overwhelming and frustrating task. To help you determine if you even want to hire an attorney, refer to these questions in your search:
1. How complicated is your immigration history, marital history, criminal history, or business plans?
If you have previously been in the U.S. and violated immigration rules or have criminal violations, it is always recommended that you speak to an immigration attorney about the immigration consequences of such violations before proceeding.
2. How patient are you in accessing free information from the Internet and other sources, filling out forms, and determining USCIS or other agency instructions?
In today’s information age, many people post free information and advice on the Internet, and in terms of immigration, sometimes the information can be conflicting. Information at www.uscis.gov is fairly informative today as is information at www.state.gov. Be careful of anecdotal advice—from whom it is coming and the date. Unlike other areas of law, immigration law is a much more fluid, ever-changing legal environment, so what may be existing policy a year ago, may no longer be the case. An immigration attorney can be critical for advice and education on what are the actual requirements, what is the actual process, what is the reality of timing—which can be critical—and the reality of success.
In addition, filling out forms and reading government directions (if they exist) can be confusing and rightly so, since you are probably only doing this once! An experienced immigration lawyer has filled out the same forms on numerous occasions and therefore has the experience to fill them out correctly and send them to the correct location. A lawyer saves you a significant amount of time and stress in handling this aspect of your case.
3. What is your comfort level of risk if you do not obtain your immigration benefit without the expertise of legal counsel?
Despite what it appears, obtaining an immigration benefit either with USCIS or at a U.S. Embassy abroad is more than filling out forms and sending in certain documents. An attorney knows the laws and policy applicable to your application, and a good attorney will go “beyond the 4 corners” of your application to determine if you are truly eligible for a benefit. There are several rules of deportation and inadmissibility that apply that are NEVER EVEN ASKED on your forms. As such, people can be denied their application and lose the costly fees and time it took to file.
As stated above, immigration law is much more fluid and unpredictable than other areas of law and so an immigration attorney can assist with explaining the process, the timing, and most importantly, review your case to make sure you are applying for the most advantageous visa or application to win!
How to Hire an Immigration Attorney
If you have determined that you want to seek the advice of an immigration lawyer or attorney, then here are some questions you should ask directly of the attorney when searching:
1. How long have you been practicing law, especially immigration law?
Obviously, the more experience an immigration attorney has, the better and especially in immigration law, which is considered one of the most complex and fast-paced areas of law in the United States. Having someone with experience is a good indicator of getting the quality service you deserve.
2. Are you in good legal standing in the state you are licensed in?
Each state regulates the attorneys licensed to practice in that state. In Colorado, the Colorado Supreme Court regulates attorneys. You can go to the Court’s website to check and see if an attorney is registered in the State of Colorado and to view an attorney’s disciplinary history, if any.
Immigration attorneys are unique in that they can practice in ANY state so long as they are licensed to practice in one state. Therefore, you need to ask an immigration attorney what state or states they are licensed in and verify their standing with the state license regulator.
3. Are you a member of AILA – The American Immigration Lawyers Association?
AILA is a national bar association solely for attorneys practicing immigration law. Immigration attorneys pay fees to belong and the benefit is access to legal updates, processing times, and commentaries on immigration news and policy, as well as a national listserv and Liaison information that are all critical for practicing immigration law today. Attorneys who practice immigration law full-time or a significant amount of time are usually members of AILA because they understand the ever-changing and complex nature of immigration law and use AILA to support their practice.
4. Have you been successful in handling a case similar to mine?
This is a key question as not all attorneys who practice immigration law even practice all aspects of immigration law. Due to the complexities of immigration, attorneys may sub-specialize so it is important you understand from your attorney the actual experience with your type of case.
If you wish to contact the Law Office of Catherine Brown, LLC to schedule a consultation directly with an experienced immigration attorney, contact us online or at 303-322-2117.