HOW TO CHOOSE AN IMMIGRATION LAWYER
Choosing an immigration lawyer can be daunting. Immigration is a complicated process: You need someone who is proactive, knowledgeable and sympathetic to your situation. The process requires time, diligence and tireless attention to detail. It is also a collaboration that involves constant cooperation and communication between you and your attorney. So before you hire an immigration attorney, learn what separates a good immigration lawyer for a great one – do your research before your first consultation.
When the time comes to choose an immigration lawyer, look for one who:
- Specializes exclusively in immigration law and has broad immigration law experience. Immigration law is very complex and is extraordinarily detail-intensive. A lawyer who claims to have immigration law experience will not necessarily have the same expertise as one who practices immigration law exclusively. Often, attorneys who practice immigration as well as other fields such as corporate or family law, do not have a great understanding of immigration law as a whole. More often than not, they have some understanding of simple petitions and may handle standard cases, but they tend not to have broad immigration law experience or expertise for more complicated cases.
- Practices in a multi-lawyer firm. When you hire an attorney, you are not hiring just one person to handle your case, you are hiring a team of legal professionals. The advantage of hiring an attorney from a multi-lawyer practice is that your attorney will have an immediate pool of additional resources. No one can be an expert in everything – having a team of talented and experienced lawyers working closely together will inspire and allow your attorney to tackle a myriad of different issues.
- Is well-known and well-respected in the community. Immigration law is a very specialized field and reputation is everything. Before hiring an immigration lawyer, do your research to find out if your lawyer is a respected member of the professional community. Check your lawyer’s credentials to ascertain whether he or she is authorized to practice law (i.e. has passed the Bar and remains in good standing), and research his or her track record. Your local state bar website will disclose if your attorney has any complaints or violations that have been filed against them. The American Immigration Lawyer Association (AILA), is another good resource. This is the official professional organization for immigration lawyers and can provide you with recommendations on immigration lawyers in your area. However, membership in AILA does not guarantee a lawyer’s experience or success record. For that, you will have to look into client reviews, on such authority website as Avvo (www.avvo.com), an online lawyer directory featuring client testimonials. It also highlights very important information like any bar violations. Examining client testimonials from third-party websites such as Google or Bing can also help you in your research.
What to Expect from Your Attorney:
When you attend your first consultation, pay attention to your attorney’s demeanor with you and with the rest of the staff. Your attorney should be familiar with the law and able to answer your questions and concerns directly. The consultation should start soon after you complete any necessary paperwork. Ideally, the firm should feel inviting and professional. Company culture and relations among staff members are crucial factors in establishing a positive atmosphere. It has been proven time and again that the best law firms have professionals who can work together as a team. In our experience, a friendly work environment and true emphasis on teamwork add tremendous value for our clients.
After you make the decision to retain an attorney for your immigration matter, your lawyer should be available to answer your questions and explain each step of the process to you. Often, lawyers rely on paralegals to help manage their cases. Even so, your attorney is the one ultimately responsible for your case and accountable to you every step of the way. At Weinstock Immigration Lawyers, we have painstakingly instituted the best practices to ensure that our clients receive the attention and results their cases deserve. Take a moment to review our attorneys and our firm as a whole. We are more than happy to discuss our track record along with your immigration needs. If you are ready to start proceeding with your case, give us a call today.