What A Client Should Expect From His Immigration Lawyer
Many foreigners are nervous to hire a lawyer for their necessary legal immigration case or cases. Many do not know what to expect, how much it will cost, and whether they should admit all the "bad" they have in their history.
Firstly, most Immigration lawyers will give you a short free consultation over the phone to determine if you are eligible for a particular category. That is the most important factor, that there is a viable category to obtain approval.
On the other hand, a person placed in deportation, or a person who has already filed a case on his/her own and now realizes it was a mistake to do, and now wants to hire an Immigration lawyer, with these scenarios, it only requires a meeting of the minds with the lawyer as to a legal fee.
What should you expect from an Immigration lawyer you hire?
The lawyer is licensed and has many years of experience with your type of legal problem. Ask the lawyer how many years he/she has taken clients to Immigration interviews.
Location of the lawyer. If you live in South Florida, a NY Immigration lawyer is not a good for if you have local interviews or local court appearances. How long is the lawyer been practicing? The longer, the better.
Is the lawyer you meet the one whom will represent you? If not, you are not getting the best legal representation. Having one lawyer whom you deal with for the entire case is the best thing for you. Unfortunately, many law firms will pass you off to a younger Immigration lawyer, often times just before your interview or Court appearance.
Complete and written contract on how much the legal representation will cost. Not everyone charges the same fees. Some younger inexperienced lawyer will charge lower fees to gain new clients. Some lawyers are not hesitant to charge large fees, much larger than the fair market value. Nevertheless, everyone needs a contract which states how much the case will cost, and on what terms. Reasonable contingencies should also be projected and priced out.
Complete honesty from the lawyer. He/she cannot tell you everything will be fine, when a person in your situation cannot win the case. There are Immigration results that are impossible and some unlikely. Many are close to a sure thing, and other categories are 50/50. Your attorney must be able to tell you the likelihood of success, without any sugar-coating. You also must tell your lawyer everything, the good, bad, the ugly, and any results in any previous cases.
Will your lawyer speak to you on the phone or communicate with you by e-mail or both? Or will your lawyer ignore you? The worst Immigration legal service occurs when the Immigration lawyer simply refuses to talk to his client. On the other hand, a client cannot wake up each day determined to learn if there is anything new, and demand to speak to his/her attorney. Alex Barak in his 39 year career always speaks with his clients at reasonable intervals and it is his office's policy when an important event takes place, an incoming receipt, approval, appointment comes in, to contact the client the same day.
Is a lower priced lawyer just as good as a more expensive lawyer? I answer you with another question: Is a lower cost brain or heart surgeon better for your health than a higher priced one? Being approved for a work visa, green card citizenship, asylum is a life-altering event. It gives you Life in America. Hiring the experienced and highly skilled Immigration is a matter of life or death in America, especially when one is facing deportation. So low cost may give you bad results or a poor client experience.
Can I just pay a para-legal and save money? I do not have much money. If you need and want a work visa, a green card, citizenship, asylum, or need to win deportation case, it is like you are in an emergency room in a hospital. Do you want to hire a fake doctor from the flea market when you are sick?
It is illegal for persons to provide legal advice in Immigration matters in exchange for money, unless the person is a licensed lawyer or attorney.
A paralegal is a essentially person claiming he/she claims to have experience to fill out the forms. That is not what you need. You need to understand the laws applicable to your case, to have a lawyer fighting for you every step of the way, to be responsible for you, to prepare you for your interview, to go with you for your interviews, and to write convincing letters and arguments on your behalf. This can never be any substitute.
The greatest tragedies I see as a long-time Immigration lawyer are the years, money, and lives ruined by persons convincing applicants they do not need an Immigration lawyer. One needs to borrow money from friends and family when one needs an Immigration lawyer. It is a matter of your Life in America or going back home.
Despite the Covid-19 crisis, does the lawyer have a professional modern looking office? Is it a place you will feel comfortable in or is it a very small space with old furniture?
The undersigned has always practiced law in nice-looking professional buildings. His current office is Covid-19 compliant: no elevator needed, as the office is on the first floor, and client-lawyer meetings are held in a 25ft long (8 meters) conference room, with a 10 ft (3 meters) conference table. Pre-Covid-19, meetings were held in the lawyer's spacious and comfortable office, where you can see his licenses, education, and pictures of him shaking hands with President Ronald Regan, Governor Ron DeSantis, and a decision in an appeal won in the Florida Supreme Court.
If you request it, your lawyer should show you and/or print out for you the law that is in your favor.
Can I hire an Immigration lawyer to do everything but no go to the interview?
I strongly recommend against this. The main reason you hired a lawyer is to get you approved or win your case. To go without the lawyer seems completely illogical and against the best interest of the client.
Can I change lawyers after a case is started? Absolutely. If you do not feel comfortable with your lawyer, if you find out he or she did not tell you something important, feel free to change lawyers. Of course, you must be able to afford to do so.
Tell me specifically, what are the points that separate the average to the very good Immigration lawyer?
1. Experience, experience and experience. There is no substitute for experience and developing instincts, skills, and relationships with Immigration Officers and their Supervisors. A more senior Immigration lawyer will be light years ahead of a much younger lawyer.
2. Writing ability: Most Immigration cases are approved or won based upon what is placed into writing, written legal arguments of your attorney. A University English/Journalism major who becomes a lawyer will have a higher level of writing your Immigration legal material and knows how to explain your case, even complicated ones, in easy to follow, well-flowing written arguments. Ask the prospective lawyer what is his educational and professional writing background.
The undersigned was an English writing major in college/university, was a Journalist for the school Newspaper, and considers himself a professional writer before a lawyer. He has often been complimented on his writing skills, even by opposing lawyers and Judges.
3. The ability and desire to speak to the client so that the client knows what will happen, the procedures, and projections for the cases; the patience to explain in plain words and the protected.
4. The availability of a circle of equally experienced Immigration lawyers for your lawyer to consult with to obtain free 2nd and 3rd opinions in the very complicated cases.
5. A caring lawyer who cares about you, who cares about your success, who talks to you explaining what you want to know and need to know.
6. An Immigration lawyer who is a stickler for details, who demands a lot of documentation. This type of lawyer is the most successful of them all, as he does not look to cut corners. He is thorough and will not rest until you are approved and/or you win your case. He will not take chances. He will have you prepared 100% without any holes or weaknesses.
Contact Us About Your Case
Contact an experienced Immigration attorney, the Law Offices of Alex T. Barak, P.A. can help you today.
The hiring of a lawyer is an important decision that should not be based solely upon advertisements. Before you decide, ask us to send you free written information about our qualifications and experience.