Selecting an Immigration Lawyer for Your H-1B Visa Application
With 85,000+ new H1B visas provided each year by USCIS and thousands of other individuals in H1B status or subject to the H1B cap, there are easily hundreds of thousands, if not millions, of searches for a suitable H1B visa immigration lawyers by individuals and employers throughout the U.S. and the world on a yearly basis.
It can be difficult to make a decision as to which immigration attorney might be most suitable for you, in light of all of the options available.
The purpose of this article is to give employers and potential H1B visa beneficiaries some tips on a few of the items that they should look for when seeking the services of a lawyer.
Good Standing of a State Bar
It is important to make sure that any lawyer you are considering has been admitted to and is in good standing with a state bar in the U.S. Since U.S. immigration law is controlled by federal law, a lawyer can represent a client in connection with an H1B visa application anywhere in the U.S. as long as the lawyer is admitted to and in good standing of a state bar.
H1B visa law and immigration law in general is highly complicated. It is important for any lawyer you’re considering to be knowledgeable on immigration law and to keep up with immigration laws and trends. Unless the individual is a member of AILA (American Immigration Lawyers Association), this is practically impossible. Being an AILA member typically suggests that the lawyer devotes all or a large part of his/her practice to immigration law.
H1B Visa Experience
Not all U.S. immigration attorneys are well-versed in the H1B Visa laws. Some immigration lawyers focus exclusively on family immigration, while other lawyers may focus the majority of their practice on removal and asylum. You should discuss with any potential lawyer whether or not he/she is experienced with the H1B process.
Open communication & general comfort level – Make sure that you are comfortable with the prospective lawyer. The lawyer should be addressing your preliminary questions and should give you a sense of the strength of your case.
Also, you should try and get a sense as to what level of communication you will receive from the lawyer throughout the process. Some lawyers provide a high level of communication, while others do not.
Before committing with a lawyer, you should confirm the legal fees involved with the H1B process and whether fees are charged on an hourly basis or a flat fee basis.
It should be noted that shopping for immigration law services is not like shopping for a car or looking for the lowest price on toothpaste or other toiletries. No two firms or lawyers will provide the same level of service or application preparation.
Fees can vary based on the level of service provided and the amount of time the lawyer puts into the application. Some lawyers have a huge team of legal assistants that prepare 95% of the applications, while other lawyers don’t delegate any of the H1B application preparation to a legal assistant. Some attorneys are easily accessible to answer questions and provide advice throughout the process, while others are almost impossible to get a hold of.
There is a great deal of risk by focusing only on fees and not taking the other suggestions into account when making a decision.
Lightman Law Firm was recently honored as New York’s 2014 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.