If you require the help of an immigration attorney, it can be difficult to know where to start and questions abound. Who can you trust? What qualifications are ideal? What are the possible outcomes? And how much will it cost?
Without a doubt, choosing the right immigration attorney is critical. Ideally, your immigration attorney will be experienced, compassionate, and accessible. A lawyer suited to your needs will provide both expert guidance and comfort throughout your entire immigration process. Further, proper legal representation increases your chance of success, especially in immigration court.
If you need help from an immigration attorney, don’t delay. Within this article, you’ll find some important considerations to help you choose your immigration attorney.
Do Your Research
When deciding which immigration lawyer to hire, research is very important. There are several ways you can collect information about local lawyers. First, talk to friends and family. If they have worked with an immigration attorney before, ask them if they’d recommend that firm. Whether they’ve had a positive or negative experience, ask them to elaborate on what made them feel that way. Was the attorney professional, accessible, and knowledgeable? Or, were they hard to reach, often late, and not helpful? The opinions of friends and family are especially important because they understand you and your needs.
After asking loved ones for any possible recommendations, it’s time to search the internet. While the internet can be invaluable, it can also lead you to scams. Be careful – only work with lawyers that are certified by your state’s bar association. Do not work with “visa consultants” or “notarios” – these people do not have the proper training to help you with your case.
A great place to start your search is the American Immigration Lawyers Assocation (AILA). Many reputable immigration attorneys are also proud members of the AILA. For your convenience, AILA even provides an attorney search – you can enter your city and state or zip code to find lawyers close to you. You can access the search here.
Schedule A Consultation
Once you’ve found a good list of possible immigration attorneys, it’s time to contact their law firms. Ideally, an immigration law firm will provide free consultations for potential clients, though you may have to pay a small fee. When you arrive at your consultation, you should be prepared to ask as many questions as possible. This will help you understand if the law firm is the right fit for you. Below, we list materials that you should bring to your consultation, as well as a list of questions you should ask the attorney.
Prepare Case Materials
In order to get the most benefit from your consultation, you should bring all materials important to your case. Ideally, you should organize all relevant paperwork in a folder or binder. That way, it will be easy for the consulting attorney to review the information in a short amount of time.
If applicable, you should bring the following to your consultation:
- Court orders;
- Identification documents or evidence;
- Written statements; and/or
- Any other relevant case materials.
Ask Detailed Questions
When meeting with a potential attorney, ask questions that will help you make your final decision. It’s important to understand how often your attorney will work with you, what their qualifications are, and how likely your case is to be successful. For example, you’ll want to be sure that any attorney you work with is registered with your state’s bar association. Further, if you required language assistance, it’s ideal to have an attorney that is either conversant or fluent in your native language. Below, we’ve listed some questions you should always ask during your initial consultation.
During a consultation, ask the attorney:
- Are you certified in immigration law?
- Do you have any other legal specialties?
- Do you practice immigration law exclusively?
- How long have you been practicing?
- Are you registered with our state’s bar association?
- If I work with your firm, how easy will it be to contact you?
- What is an estimated cost for your services?
- Are there any previous clients who would be willing to speak with me?
- What are the possible outcomes of my case?
During your consultation, the immigration lawyer will likely explain possible case outcomes with you. You will also have a chance to ask the attorney questions. Taking notes allows you to revisit individual consultations once you have met with several attorneys. If you are worried you won’t be able to take notes, bring a trusted friend or family member with you. While you concentrate on your consultation, they can take important notes to help you later.
Consider All Options
When you are ready to make your final decision and choose your immigration attorney, remember to consider every possibility and option. Hopefully, both your careful research and note-taking during consultations will ensure you’re prepared to make the right choice. Remember to carefully review any notes or research that you prepared during your search – it can only help. And most importantly, take your time and choose an attorney whom you trust!
Consider the following when choosing your immigration attorney:
- Is their office close to your home or workplace?
- How do you contact a lawyer if you need them urgently?
- Are they available for urgent appointments?
- How much will their services cost?
- Did their cost estimate consider every possible outcome or option?
- Do they speak your native language?
- Do they specialize only in immigration law?
- Did the attorney provide references? What did the references say?
- Are they certified with your state’s bar association?
- What possible case outcomes did they discuss with you?
When choosing an immigration attorney, it is critical to avoid scams. Unfortunately, some people may pose as legal professionals when they are not licensed to practice. Again, never work with “visa consultants” or “notarios” – they are not qualified to provide legal advice or assistance. In order to avoid heartbreak, only work with lawyers who are registered with their state’s bar association.
Further, be sure to ask detailed questions regarding a person’s background and experience. Finally, beware of anyone who promises a specific outcome. Unfortunately, there’s no way to guarantee success in immigration law. A professional and skilled attorney will explain several possible scenarios with you – they will not guarantee success.
Your future in America is too important – ensure you work with a qualified and experienced immigration lawyer. Legal counsel increases your chance for success and provides comfort and hope every step of the way.
Choose An Experienced Texas Immigration Attorney
Davis & Associates provides top-tier immigration law services to clients in Houston, Dallas and surrounding areas. Our professional legal team will guide you through every step of the legal process and will handle your case with compassion. For your comfort, we always provide free initial consultations. We want you to have access to our experienced attorneys before making your final decision. No matter your legal issue, we will provide you with a plan to help you move forward. Contact us today – we can help!