Finding the best immigration attorney to handle your situation – whether you’re looking for a business-related visa, trying to bring your family to the United States or facing removal proceedings – is absolutely essential. But if you’re like most people, you aren’t entirely sure where to start. Should you pick up the phone and call every immigration attorney you find online? Should you ask friends and family for referrals? Should you dial the number you saw on a late-night commercial?
Here’s what you need to know.
8 Tips for Finding the Best Immigration Attorney for Your Situation
An immigration attorney can save you time and frustration by tackling complicated paperwork for you, filing forms and keeping tabs on your case. Your lawyer will also be there to answer your questions every step of the way and help you prepare for necessary immigration interviews and more.
Check out these nine tips to help you find the best immigration attorney for your situation:
- See if the lawyer speaks your native language
- Find out the firm’s policy on free consultations
- Discuss the attorney’s success rate with cases like yours
- Find out how experienced the attorney is
- Check his or her credentials
- Ensure the attorney is a member of the American Bar Association
- Spend time on the attorney’s website
- Find out whether your case will be a shared responsibility, or you’ll deal with only one lawyer
Here’s a closer look at each.
#1. See if the lawyer speaks your native language
No attorney speaks every language, but the best immigration lawyer for your situation will have access to a translator if it becomes necessary. Legal advice can be complicated – just like U.S. immigration law is – and that means you need to work with an attorney who has the linguistic ability (or an interpreter) to help you best.
#2. Find out the firm’s policy on free consultations
Some immigration law firms do not offer free consultations – so you need to keep that in mind as you’re looking for a lawyer. Every firm is different; some offer 15-minute consultations, some offer an hour, and some offer another amount of time.
The best immigration lawyer for your case is one who will make time to fully understand your situation and who won’t rush you in order to wrap up your initial meeting.
You need to work with someone who genuinely cares about communicating well with you, getting you the best possible outcome and will devote his or her full attention to your case, and that can be difficult to determine when you’re participating in a very short consultation or you’re paying for the attorney’s time.
#3. Discuss the attorney’s success rate with cases like yours
During your free consultation, you can ask an attorney any questions you’d like to – and one of them should be about his or her success rate with cases similar to yours. An experienced attorney has most likely encountered a situation like yours in the past, and he or she will be able to tell you how often clients have gotten a favorable outcome.
On the opposite side of the coin, you don’t want to work with an attorney who makes things seem easier than they are. And above all, you should never work with a lawyer who guarantees you a specific outcome.
No attorney can ever predict the future, and because immigration cases can be so complex (and because they’re often decided in an office at U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services), it’s best to work with a lawyer who’s realistic and lets you know about all the possible outcomes you could face.
#4. Find out how experienced the attorney is
First things first: Every attorney who graduates law school and passes the Texas State Bar Exam is qualified and competent. However, many people prefer to work with an experienced lawyer – one who’s worked on similar cases and has a proven track record of successful outcomes.
It’s completely up to you whether you work with a brand-new attorney or one who’s gotten favorable outcomes for hundreds of clients over the past several years.
For many people, it’s also important to work with an attorney who has been through the immigration process on a personal level.
#5. Check his or her credentials
Always make sure you’re working with an actual attorney if you intend to get legal counsel for your immigration case. Some people market themselves as “notarios” and promise in-depth legal help with immigration cases, but you need to know that notarios are not attorneys – and they are not qualified to give legal advice.
Notarios often victimize people by claiming that they are attorneys, that they’re authorized to represent immigrants before USCIS or that they have “court licenses.”
#6. Ensure the attorney is a member of the American Bar Association
Make sure that the attorney you choose to work with is a member of the American Bar Association, the largest voluntary association of lawyers in the entire world. Attorneys who are members of the American Bar Association get access to several resources that can help them work on your case.
#7. Spend time on the attorney’s website
See if the attorney you’re interested in working with has a professional, credible and informative website. The best immigration attorney for your situation won’t be afraid to share information – and his or her website won’t be a huge sales pitch trying to lure you in.
#8. Find out whether your case will be a shared responsibility or you’ll deal with only one lawyer
Some attorneys work cases alone, while others work in teams. It’s up to you whether you prefer to work with one lawyer or several, but you should certainly work with someone who will be your main point of contact on the case – few things are worse than being shuffled around to other lawyers you don’t even know when you’re in the middle of an immigration case.
Do You Need to Talk to an Immigration Attorney?
If you’re considering immigrating to the United States, you deserve to work with the best immigration attorney for your situation. You need an attorney you can trust to tell you the truth, one who has the experience necessary to understand how the immigration system works, and one who can devote the time and energy that you and your case deserve.
Whether you need help with business immigration, such as an investor visa or temporary worker visas, family immigration or something else, call our office for a free consultation now. We’ll be happy to understand your goals, answer your questions and provide you with the advice you need to start moving forward.