- How to select the right lawyer: common rules
- Education and license
- Work experience
- Trust and confidentiality
- First consultation
The immigration lawyer primarily develops an immigration or visa program tailored to your specific situation. He participates in the formation of the case and the preparation of a package of documents, advises and accompanies you at all stages from submitting documents to obtaining a visa. His presence is desirable at interviews in the Citizenship and Migration Board and is mandatory when the case is heard in the immigration court.
Wanting to save the money, people begin to follow the advice of “everything knowing” friends and acquaintances who have been in a similar situation or to seek answers on the Internet. Both give the person a deceptive sense of awareness but doesn’t solve his problem. By analogy with medicine – you can make your own diagnosis and even undergo a cheap self-treatment course, but will it be possible to recover? Of course, a common cold is more likely to be overcome by yourself, but if you need a diagnosis, a serious treatment or surgery, hardly anyone will want to trust non-professionals.
The US immigration law system is one of the most difficult and confusing in the world. Therefore, the correct solution in each individual case depends on the details. In some cases it is fixable, in others it is hopeless. Due to this, the most important part in immigration process – choose the best lawyer!
How to select the right lawyer: common rules
The question of choice is always very subtle. On the Internet, there are a sufficient number of online databases and lawyers’ guides in the context of states and areas of law. However, it is important to consider that many of the reference books are paid promotion tools, which may not interest an experienced lawyer with the current clientele.
Therefore, we advise you to pay attention not to the “beauty” of the page, but to the specific characteristics of the lawyer – the presence of a license, education, experience, and human qualities.
Education and license
First of all, contact licensed lawyers. Then you will have additional protection from the state and supervisors in unforeseen cases.
Now there are many advisers and assistants on the market of immigration services. But no one except a lawyer with a license can advise you in the sphere of law and provide a full range of legal services. Turning to the paralegal, which in fact is only an assistant to a licensed lawyer, or to a lawyer without a license, you are going to an unjustified risk.
Give preference to lawyers who graduate from the doctorate and have a Juris Doctor degree. This means that a full course of theoretical and practical legal training was passed on the territory of the US. The degree of LLM (Master of Laws) can be obtained after studying in the Master’s program in the American university, regardless of the country in which the basic higher legal education was obtained.
Further, the specialist is gaining experience in practical activities and can also become a high-class lawyer. The highest degree in law sphere is the scientific degree of JSD (Doctor of Juridical Science) or Ph.D. (Doctor of Philosophy).
The work experience of a lawyer is no less valuable than education. Whichever privileged one was the graduated law school, the professionalism of the lawyer is formed in practice. Knowledge and skills should be polished for years in communication with clients, preparation of cases, interviews with immigration and visa officers, and at hearings in immigration courts.
An important role is played not only by the acquired professional qualities but also by the life experience of lawyers.
Is it better to open a branch or participate in a ready business, buy a franchise or open a company? How to bring the family to the US quickly? How do not lose investment and with them the Green Card, immigrating as part of the EB-5 program? Often, legal work is preceded by strategically important decisions, which practical experience helps to accept.
Trust and confidentiality
The data that you will open to a lawyer is very personal. You need to be more selective when it comes to trust. For even among lawyers there are people ready to cheat for a few extra dollars.
To avoid dishonesty and not to fall for bait to scammers, we advise, first of all, to check the license, look for customer testimonials and use intuition. Usually, the first consultation with a lawyer will make it possible to understand with whom you are dealing.
Each state has its own bar association. Lawyers with a license from one state are engaged in immigration law in another state. It is not always easy to get to disciplinary punishments, especially if the client does not speak English, does not know how to use a computer.
The AVVO comes to the rescue. This website automatically collects information about a lawyer. If the attorney has disciplinary sanctions, on AVVO you will see a red inscription: “This lawyer has been disciplined by a state licensing authority.”, which meaning it is better to look for another lawyer. Remember that companies that hire immigration lawyers are not assessed on AVVO. You will need to search the name of the lawyer on the website AVVO so that you do not get into trouble.
After the range of suitable immigration lawyers is narrowed, call and talk with them, find out how much money they will ask for work on your case. Assign a consultation and select from the remaining candidates an immigration lawyer who will make the best impression on you.
Perhaps you will have to pay for the first consultation to several lawyers, do not spare that money: it’s better to spend them at the first meeting and choose someone who will be honest with you and win your case than to spend money on the first immigration lawyer you find and lose.
Do not trust people who give you guarantees. Decisions in immigration matters are not taken by a lawyer; moreover, business ethics forbids giving guarantees.