The US immigration landscape is complex with its ever-changing regulations and policies. Navigating through it on your own can prove to be more complicated than you think, so you might want to consider hiring an immigration lawyer.
Skilled lawyers use forefront tactics and tools such as immigration law software to handle your case and give you the best chance of winning. Whether you’re seeking to file a petition for a green card or trying to avoid deportation, you need to have the right player in your field. Here are some tips on choosing a good immigration lawyer for your case.
Ask for Referrals
Getting a referral from someone you trust is one of the simplest ways to find an immigration lawyer. Ask your friends, family, and coworkers if they have someone to recommend. Make sure to also ask them about their experience with the layer and what you should expect if you hire them.
Similarly, if you’re already using lawyers for other matters, they probably have an extensive network of trusted professionals so ask them to help you get a good one for your case.
Check With Lawyer Bar Associations
Reputable lawyers usually join bar associations to network, attract new clients, and gain access to continuing education. Bar associations usually have referral services that you can use to find a lawyer for your case.
For example, you can search under the “immigration” category in the state and local referral services. However, specialty bar associations such as AILA have more subcategories which makes it easier to narrow your search further and find a lawyer with the right expertise.
Browse for Immigration Lawyers Online
If you have an immigration lawyer you’re contemplating hiring, it would be helpful to do online research. First, look at the lawyer’s profile to ensure they can handle cases like yours.
Moreover, check on the lawyer’s license to affirm its validity and learn if they have been previously penalized for violation of practices. Such information is public and usually available on the state’s supreme court website. Last but not least, take note of the reviews from previous clients and gauge their experiences.
Make Sure You’re Dealing With an Actual Immigration Lawyer
When searching for a lawyer, you’ll likely come across notaries and consultants who offer to help with US immigration cases. They, however, aren’t licensed to practice law, and you shouldn't trust them to handle your immigration case.
Likewise, avoid general practitioners as these lack deep knowledge about immigration. Immigration law’s procedures, practices, and policies are constantly changing, and general practitioners might not be aware of the latest updates.
Interview Prospective Candidates
Once you shortlist at least three immigration lawyers, arrange a short interview with each. Ask them to explain how they could handle the type of case you have and whether they have a proven track record.
Immigration cases are generally complicated and can be very hard to predict the outcome. That being said, by hiring an experienced attorney, you can be sure your case will be presented with competence and confidence.
Be Warry of Unrealistic Promises
Immigration cases are rarely straightforward. So, if you come across a lawyer that promises your case will be easy, you need to be cautious. Look for practitioners who will have the ability to predict what might arise and develop strategies to overcome these issues instead of promising that nothing bad will happen.
Determine the Cost and Fees
Upon agreeing to proceed with a lawyer, ask about the payment options. For example, they might ask for a fixed payment or charge you per hour. If you agree to a fixed fee, ask what’s included in the price and whether there are any hidden costs.
Moreover, ask about how you’ll pay the immigration lawyer. Some might require a retainer that requires you to pay a certain amount at the beginning of the engagement. Others will send an invoice monthly or charge you in full when the case is closed. Discuss these topics beforehand to avoid future surprises.
Get a Written Contract
When you’re ready to seal the deal, make sure to put everything in writing. A well-written contract will provide you with the necessary guarantees and protect you from hiring a lawyer that over-promises yet under-delivers. The contract should outline the legal services your lawyer promised, the cost, and payment details.
Finding a good immigration lawyer for your case takes dedication. However, once you find a good one, you can rest assured that your case will be handled with the ultimate goal of obtaining the needed immigration benefits. An experienced lawyer will successfully navigate the complicated US immigration system while keeping you informed about the progress and your best options.