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What should one consider when hiring an immigration attorney?

Hiring an immigration attorney (or any attorney) for most people can be a challenging task. There are so many questions to ask and things to consider. At the end of the day, one should want to hire a competent and zealous advocate with whom they are comfortable.

A. Consider asking your prospective immigration attorney some basic but essential questions.

The questions that you should consider asking are as follows:

  1. What type of cases do they handle?,
  2. Have they handled cases similar to yours?,(Just because an immigration attorney handled your friends naturalization case does not mean they can handle your O visa case.)
  3. What was their success rate?,
  4. What differentiates them from rest of competition?,
  5. What are their fees and do they have a written engagement agreement?,
  6. What motivates them to practice immigration law?,
  7. Is Immigration law the only area they practice in?,
  8. Who will be working on your case?,
  9. How will you be kept informed about the progress of your case? (Check to see if the attorney has a process or protocol in place.),
  10. How long will it take for the matter to get resolved?,
  11. How accessible are they? (One can usually can an idea of this aspect when first contacting the attorney or their office.)

While no immigration attorney can or will give you a guarantee on results, ask about the basic strategy for your case. An immigration attorney should be willing and able to answer these questions without hesitation. Answers to these questions and the their openness to answer these questions will serve as good to guide to reach an educated decision. Also talk to more than one immigration attorney to make assessment on whom you want to hire.

B. Being comfortable with the immigration attorney representing you is important.

You have been referred to an immigration attorney who can handle your case. You had the opportunity to meet them and now need to make a decision. The questions you should be asking yourself are not only related to whether the attorney can handle the case but whether you want him or her representing you. Ask yourself if you feel comfortable communicating with the immigration attorney? Has the immigration attorney been responsive to your questions? Have they listended to you? Have they rushed you to make a decision? Are they straight forward? Do they understand your goals? Do they want to represent you? Is your case going to get the attention it needs? All these questions will help you make a better decision regarding whom you want to hire. The bottom line is that when you hire an immigration attorney you should be comfortable with them and their ability to represent you.

C. The most expensive immigration attorney is not the best and the cheapest is not the worst.

When hiring an immigration attorney, certainly cost and fees are taken into account. However, often many people assume that if the fees are high and the attorney’s office is fancy, then their work must be superior. Conversely, the presumption often is that if the attorney’s fees are not that high and the attorney has a modest office, then their work is not as superior. This is simply not the case. When hiring an immigration attorney, you are NOT looking to hire someone with the best optics but the person who can actually handle the case, is able to communicate with you in a manner that you understand and are comfortable with, and is very importantly vested in assisting you. Do not be shy to ask a lot of questions. If you go in for an immigration consultation, check to see if your prospective attorney is also discussing any other forms of relief of which you may be eligible. Be prepared with a list of questions and seek answers prior to any decision making. Usually after the initial consultation, you will have an idea about whether this is the attorney you want to hire. Finally, client reviews of attorney work (on various forums) can serve as another guide during your decision making process.

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