Types of permanent residence
How to Find an Immigration Lawyer
Like most other legal matters, there is a lot of paperwork to do during the immigration process. Many feel overwhelmed when the time comes to fill out their immigration forms, and begin to wonder if they need a lawyer. If the case is simple, you may be able to manage on your own, but there are also many compelling reasons to hire an attorney– such as a complex immigration case, or a lack of confidence in preparing the paperwork yourself. If you are going to use the services of an immigration lawyer, it pays to do your homework; here are some tips on how to find the right lawyer for your situation.
- Ask for references from colleagues, friends, family and acquaintances. Even if they have never been through the immigration process, they might be able to put you in contact with someone who has. People are very willing to recommend a lawyer if they were happy with their services, and even more willing to issue warnings about subpar lawyers. These recommendations will make the search a lot easier.
- You can also search the American Immigration Lawyers Association (AILA) website. AILA is a nationwide group of lawyers who practice and teach immigration law, so you can be fairly sure you’re dealing with someone who knows the intricacies of the immigration system. If you are starting fresh, you can look for a local lawyer, and if you’ve gotten a few references, you can check their credentials on the site. AILA membership is not compulsory, but it can be an indicator of the lawyer’s commitment.
- Hold interviews with a few lawyers to find one that best matches your needs and situation. Ask them about their experience with your kind of case. Immigration law is a rather broad specialty, so you will need a lawyer who knows your kind of case. If the attorney offers the names of clients as references, talk to them to get an idea of their style and work ethic.
- Compare fees. Some lawyers charge by the hour and others take a contingency fee. Ask about additional costs such as office supplies, long distance calling, and courier fees.
When you’re sure that you’ve found the lawyer you wish to use, you should call your state bar to find out their license status and their standing within the law community, and to find out if they’ve ever been disciplined. Doing your research now will ensure that your immigration case progresses smoothly and as expected.