It is often that you’ll hear how immigrants are regularly denied their constitutional right to access the court. Moreover, the majority of immigration laws are drafted in a way that leads to automatic deportation if you can’t fulfill just one of the many eligibility requirements.
To overcome the hurdles that come with immigration law cases, you’ll need the right immigration lawyer by your side.
For that reason, we’ve gathered our top 5 tips on how you can decide who’s the right immigration lawyer for you, considering the particularities of your case.
2. Hire a lawyer specializing in immigration law
This point may seem obvious, but you’d be surprised by how many people hire a general practitioner just because a family member had a good experience with them, even though they work in a completely different area of law.
The truth is, your odds of having a successful case outcome rise when you hire someone who has
- A set of skills that are unique to this legal field
- Significant experience with cases like yours (ex. seeking asylum)
- Solid success rate
Ultimately, you want someone who understands the particularities of immigration law, the complex paperwork and procedures, as well as the best practices in the field.
2. Do take referrals from people you trust
Here’s the thing: People take notice of negative reviews more than they do of positive ones.
So, if someone you trust puts in a good word for a specific immigration lawyer, it’s likely that their lawyer has gone above and beyond to earn stellar reviews.
Even if no one you know has dealt legally with an immigration case such as yours, you’ll certainly be able to find thousands of people online who have.
You can find reviews of immigration law offices on Google, Yelp, NOLO, and many other websites. Hopefully, some of them will help you with making your decision!
3. The right immigration lawyer will be honest about your eligibility
Empty promises don’t mean much if your lawyer can’t deliver on them.
Whether you’re applying for a visa, a green card, fighting deportation, or seeking asylum, you know you’re entering a lengthy, complex, and costly process.
The outcome of that process will mainly depend on whether you fulfill the particular eligibility criteria.
For example, if you’re applying for a DACA program, you’d need to:
- Have been a certain age when you came to the US
- Have continuously resided in the US from a particular date up to submitting your application
- Haven’t been convicted of a significant misdemeanor or a felony, just to name some criteria.
If you don’t meet one or more of the necessary criteria, you’ll want your DACA lawyer to be upfront and honest about it, as this would save you a lot of time, money, and stress.
Extra tip: It’s always good to have the legal services your lawyer has promised written down in a binding contract. It never hurts to play it safe!
4. Consider the cost of hiring a particular immigration lawyer
The majority of people who enter processes within the area of immigration law have a lot to lose.
When the stakes are so high, naturally, you want to hire the best of the best – and oftentimes, that costs a lot of money. The kind of money that not everyone can afford.
This becomes even more emphasized in immigration law cases, as they involve a lot of paperwork-filing fees. And not only that – cases in this particular area of law tend to get clogged and last for years, which means you’ll likely have to pay for years of legal services.
For this reason, you might benefit from asking your desired lawyer upfront about their fees, the average length of their services, as well as the frequency of their billing. If they’re willing to negotiate the price, even better for you!
5. Look for their membership in Immigration Law organizations
This tip often gets overlooked, but your lawyer’s affiliation with important organizations in this area of law can say a lot about how committed your lawyer is to staying ahead of the newest immigration practices.
For example, you could check whether your chosen lawyer is a member of the American Immigration Lawyers Association or another association like it.
Why’s this so important in immigration law? Well, mainly because it’s a fast-changing area of law that requires a lot of flexibility, quick thinking, and a willingness to continuously learn.
Oftentimes, lawyers who are members of organizations such as these have not only the knowledge but also the personality traits and ethics of a person you’d want to represent you before the immigration authorities.