Immigration in the U.S. is a complex and difficult procedure, even for those who have experience with the law. If you are considering, or in the process of immigrating to the United States, understand that current immigration laws are complicated, dense, and constantly changing, so trying to keep up with the process and avoid mistakes often necessitates hiring an immigration lawyer.
Hiring someone with knowledge of existing laws, and the ability to dedicate as much time as needed to completing paperwork, examining options, and meeting filing and other deadlines can be the difference between legal immigration and rejection. Here are three tips to find a qualified immigration lawyer.
Get Personal Referrals
Nothing is more valuable than a referral from a friend or family member who has experience with immigration issues and knows a good attorney. Talking to friends and family who have been exposed to the immigration legal system is also a good way to find out the attorneys you should NOT be working with. If you don’t have anyone who can give you a personal referral, you can conduct an online search, but try to find unbiased reviews from previous clients to determine whether the attorney is qualified and good to work with.
Make a Short List and Interview
Once you have a few names, narrow it down to a short list of about 3-4 finalists, and call the attorneys’ offices to schedule an initial interview. This is one of the most important relationships you will build in the immigration process, so you want to find a lawyer you feel comfortable working with, who will answer your questions and return your calls or emails in a timely manner. During this interview, you can briefly discuss details of your case to find out how much experience they have with similar cases, and ask questions about things like the immigration process and fees (whether they charge a flat fee, billed hourly, require retainers).
Check the Credentials
After your interview, do a little detective work on each of the attorneys. Contact your State Bar Association to find out whether the attorney has a legitimate law degree, is licensed, and is in good standing professionally, without a history of disciplinary action. If you see any red flags, or you are unable to find information about the lawyer from the bar association, it’s probably best for you to move on to another candidate.
There are many individuals out there who may take advantage of clients seeking help from an immigration attorney, assuming that someone looking for immigration help will not understand the legal system in the U.S. and will not be able to identify a qualified
attorney. Using these tips, you can avoid being a victim and find an attorney who is prepared to help you get the most out of your quest for legal immigration status.
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When attempting to move to the U.S. from another country, don’t settle for just any immigration lawyer. Find a qualified immigration lawyer to help you navigate the confusing and complex legal system with the best chance of achieving legal immigration status.