Finding An Immigration Lawyer
Immigration to the United States, to either start a new life or launch a business venture, can be a difficult and complex process to navigate.
Even if you’ve already received the necessary application paperwork, you may be facing unique immigration-related circumstances and/or lack the confidence to go through the process alone. In such cases, it’s an excellent idea to hire an immigration lawyer and get some expert legal counsel on your side.
But how do you go about finding the best immigration lawyer for your unique situation, whatever that may be? And how do you avoid the scammers who not only waste your precious time and money, but actually hurt your chances for approval?
For starters, here’s a quick checklist of things to look for first when deciding on an immigration lawyer:
- Is the prospective lawyer AILA-certified? The American Immigration Lawyers Association is a nationally credentialed association of top-flight immigration lawyers, and their stamp-of-approval demonstrates a clear commitment to the profession.
- Does the lawyer have a great track record of getting immigration application approvals? Ask for references from other clients who got great results from this particular lawyer. Better yet, talk to your friends and family to find out who they used during their immigration process.
- Have you visited the attorney’s Avvo.com page? Or their Yelp page? What about their Google+ page that includes a review summary rating? It’s the most obvious place to look but their own website will almost always provide reviews, case studies or testimonials. These are immediate ways of checking out the reputation of local immigration attorneys, and what their past clients had to say about their service.
Carefully examining the above factors is an important part of the process, but ultimately the lawyer you choose has to be the “best fit” for your personal immigration situation.
So what does best fit really mean? It means that every immigration case is unique, and you want the immigration lawyer with demonstrable expertise with your specific situation on your side.
This is an important consideration. You really don’t want to hire a generalist, or an immigration lawyer who specializes in an area that doesn’t necessarily pertain to you. So what is the overriding theme of your case?
- Business Immigration?
- Green card marriage?
- Immigration difficulty from a specific country?
In any case, the best immigration lawyer is the one who can effectively help you navigate your individual legal circumstances, and not just a big, anonymous firm with a great reputation.
It’s why thorough research is so important before handing just any immigration lawyer your case. Reading the ranking lists and online reputations is an okay place to start, but you’ve really got to narrow things down to find the right fit.
And once you do narrow your list of prospective immigration lawyers down to two or three, be sure to request a free consultation. This allows you to evaluate their working environment, communication style, and experience with your immigration circumstances up close.
Questions to consider: Do they speak your language fluently? Are they thoroughly familiar with the specific legal aspects of your unique immigration situation, or are they merely generalists? Are they sensitive to your questions, concerns, and anxieties? Are you being offered dubious or suspicious guarantees of success? Overall, do they make you feel comfortable, or do you feel like just another case number?
Lastly, get fee schedules up front before proceeding. Some immigration lawyers charge by the hour, while others charge flat rates. If you can find a small, “boutique” firm with lawyers experienced with your case type, you may be able to avoid the bigger, unnecessary fees a larger firm will charge or the lack of prioritization that a boutique firm can provide.
Regardless, the most important consideration remains the best fit for your specific case.
For more information on how to find the best immigration attorney for your needs (regardless if you utilize our services), contact Lightman Law Firm at (212) 643-0985 or submit a consultation request online.
Lightman Law Firm was recently honored as New York’s 2015 Immigration Law Firm of the Year by Acquisition International. Additionally, founding attorney, Douglas Lightman, was named a “Rising Star” by SuperLawyers.com. Lightman Law Firm also carries a 4.9 rating on Google Reviews.