Although moving to a new country can be pretty exciting and the prospect of seeing new places brings a wave of anticipation, this can prove to be a daunting endeavor when you are laden with immigration cases.
This type of case can be draining because of the time it takes to be completed. Depending on the complexities of your case, it can take months to years to be concluded.
To ease your concerns about the successful resolution of your migration plans, you will need to hire a competent immigration attorney. In your search, you will find that in the multitude of legal experts and seasoned attorneys, choosing the right one for your case is no easy task.
However, in this article, we have highlighted 5 things you must consider when hiring an immigration attorney.
Location is a sensitive detail to consider when hiring an immigration attorney. It’s crucial that the attorney you hire be located within the locality where your case will be presented. This affords you easy access to your attorney, especially when you need additional documents processed and filed.
For instance, if you plan to move to a place like Arizona, hiring immigration attorneys in Glendale gives you an advantage. The attorney will be familiar with the court and the judges that preside over that region. They’ll also be acquainted with the laws of that particular jurisdiction.
2. Swift response and availability
Like most people, your first search for a solution to your immigration challenges will probably start online with emails. It could also start with a call to the prospective attorney or firm.
Your assessment of the right attorney for your case should start at this stage. You must pay attention to how swift their email correspondence is or how fast they take or return calls.
In choosing an immigration attorney, you may be tempted to go with a ‘popular attorney’ who has a litany of cases trailing their path. While an attorney with such a profile can be presumed to be competent, much cannot be said about their availability.
Ask your prospective attorneys questions and find out if they have limited hours available daily, as this can impact your legal representation. Or, your case may be delegated to junior colleagues who may not have the expertise to handle it successfully.
Since most immigration cases take a long time to be completed, you will want to hire an attorney that will keep communication lines open, keep you informed, and also be available to commit the required time and expertise to your case.
3. Adherence to ethical practices
Despite being the enactors of laws, you will find that some attorneys love to exploit loopholes and bend the law. Some outrightly engage in unethical practices or give unethical counsel to their clients.
Beyond the borders of criminality and the risk of jail time, heeding such counsel can spell doom for your immigration processes. For the uninitiated, it may be a struggle to distinguish expert opinion from unethical advice.
To identify and save yourself from the murky waters consequent of heeding unethical counsel, here are a few things to look out for.
Avoid attorneys who make illegal offers
Avoid jeopardizing your application by heeding unethical counsel like filling in untrue details in your application. You should not hire any attorney that suggests it.
Furthermore, any attorney misconduct, such as a suggestion to induce an immigration officer with either cash or gifts, is unethical. That kind of attorney is exactly the one you should not work with.
Avoid hiring immigration attorneys who reach out to you unsolicited
It is unethical practice for lawyers to actively seek out clients. These kinds of attorneys have no limit to where they can solicit clients. From the airports to immigration offices, they swarm the area offering you their services.
Usually, they try to compel you with scare tactics. Or assure you of their access to some highly connected individual who can help process your immigration documents fast. Your best interest will be served if you do not hire such attorneys.
Be wary of guarantees
No good attorney assures the best outcome for any case. They may tell you your chances of success are high, but they can never guarantee a successful outcome.
If any attorney promises you a successful outcome, that should be your clue to avoid working with them. Such promises reek of desperation, and a desperate lawyer cannot be trusted to give the best representation.
4. Expertise and experience
Without question, this is an important factor to consider when hiring an immigration attorney. You will want a qualified, licensed, and experienced attorney to handle your immigration case.
Immigration cases are delicate, yet complex. It is not a case you want to hand over to a rookie. A simple filing or processing error can truncate the progress of a case and even mar future applications.
A seasoned lawyer will keep you updated on the status of your case and make great efforts to explain complex legal terms and processes to you. This will make you more confident and help you trust in the attorney handling your case.
Additionally, an experienced attorney is not necessarily one with years of practice under their belt. They are attorneys who specialize in immigration cases rather than general ones. This attorney preferably will have handled a lot of cases like yours.
5. Fees and legal agreement
You may have heard that attorneys who charge lowball prices for their services are either not good enough or they have extra hidden charges. This makes it necessary for you to ask if the attorney charges a flat fee.
This saves you from attorneys who initially charge low prices and subsequently, begin to add more charges to your bill as the case progresses. Also, attorneys who charge high fees may not be transparent.
So, you should not rely on just the fee to make your attorney hiring decision. Lastly, inquire if there is a legal contract. This contract will detail the terms of your agreement with the attorney, expectations, and whatever fee you will pay.
Hiring an immigration attorney can be a difficult decision to make. But you must consider some factors before you choose one. It is recommended that you read the online reviews of any attorney you wish to hire.
Also, ask people you know to recommend attorneys they have used in similar cases before. Ask the attorney if they have worked on cases similar to yours and what their success rates in similar cases are.