So you have decided you need the services of an immigration attorney, to represent your case in court, or help you with US official organizations. A good lawyer can make all the difference to your case. You need to make sure you have selected a seasoned professional who will genuinely help. A bad attorney will overcharge you, fail to deliver on the promised services and overall bring more damage to your case.
Whether you are trying to avoid deportation or only seeking to file a petition for a visa or green card, make sure you get the right professional on your side.
Below are some tips to avoid the wrong type of attorney:
1) Avoid representation from a representative who approached you in the immigration offices. You will find these prowling hallways of immigration offices, attempting to solicit business from people like you. Please keep in mind that this is not considered ethical by the legal bar associations. Any reliable immigration attorney will be too busy practicing law and representing clients, rather than trying to convince people to hire them.
2) Make sure you are not dealing with a petition preparer or consultant. Just as well as you would not rely on a nurse to conduct your surgery or ask a neighbor to fill out your tax forms, you should not be able to rely on any other legal rep than an immigration attorney. Sadly, many non-lawyers claim to be capable of assisting foreigners who need help with the immigration process. But the value these so called pros will bring to your immigration case is nil. A worst case scenario would have someone like this actually take your money and run, or fill out your forms in a defective way.
If you manage to get in contact with a lawyer that seems legit, there are still a couple of things to consider. Any immigration attorney who suggests that you do something illegal or fishy will not be the best representative. If they start suggesting that you lie on an application or ask for bribe money for an immigration officer, this is definitely not the right immigration attorney for you. Such schemes are likely to get you more in trouble, more so than the legal practitioner.
If an attorney starts making unrealistic promises, make sure you meet these with skepticism. It is time to find another lawyer. A seasoned immigration attorney will not guarantee 100% success from the start. Keep in mind that your case’s outcome is up to an immigration court and to the USCIS.
You will be able to find out many things about your selected lawyer online: check if they are listed as members of a bar association and the AILA (Immigration Lawyers’ Association) professional organization. Also, check if the attorney is mentioned in any online review, or in any professional papers. While most good immigration attorneys will likely be pretty busy, you should be able to talk to them and their office staff to get a sense of their commitment to clients as well as their overall demeanor and impression of honesty.