Global migration is a very topical issue and statistics show that the U.S. has more immigrants than any other country in the world, with many people coming to start a new life or launch/join a business venture. Navigating the US immigration landscape is difficult because of its complexity and ever-changing regulations.
Even if you have received all of the paperwork, there may be a situation that is unique to your case and you might simply not have the confidence or the resources to handle it on your own. In this case, a smart idea would be to hire an immigration attorney and receive expert legal counsel.
While you may be eager for immediate help, not all immigration lawyers are the same and you must spend time doing your research and find a qualified, motivated attorney. To ensure that you find the right lawyer, you’ll need to remember a few key points.
In this article, we share some of our best tips for choosing the right immigration lawyer to work with.
Find an AILA-certified professional
The website of the American Immigration Lawyers Association (AILA) is a good place to begin your search. The AILA is a reputable, nationally accredited association of lawyers and its website allows you to filter your search criteria to locate qualified immigration lawyers in your area.
Keep in mind that membership in AILA is not a requirement for an immigration lawyer but it is a good sign that someone is dedicated to their legal profession.
An Organized Professional
Organizational skills are one of the first things you should look for in an immigration lawyer. They’re essential for lawyers that want to be successful in the legal field, especially when managing their workloads, staying updated on changes to immigration law, meeting important deadlines, and building strong client relationships. You should look for someone who’s equipped with the right tools and resources to stay organized and maximize efficiency in their legal practice.
For example, hiring an immigration lawyer that uses quality legal documents software will give you peace of mind as you’ll be able to log into the system and fill your forms online, which can make the outcome of your case and data management highly efficient. On top of that, your lawyer will instantly have access to documents and important client information from the platform’s virtual storage on demand.
Immigration law firms that adopt such legal software technology can transform how they operate and streamline the application process related to immigration documents, visa processing, and issuance.
Get a Trusted Referral
It’s a good idea to look into your network and see if anyone has ever used an immigration attorney. Start by asking family members and close friends. You might be able to find an acquaintance that has been through the immigration process and can recommend a great lawyer with extensive knowledge of immigration law and overall accessibility.
It’s also possible to find an excellent immigration lawyer through word-of-mouth advertising. A person’s personal experience with a particular attorney can tell you more about the lawyer’s expertise than anything in the mass media is likely to.
You can also narrow your search for immigration lawyers by using the internet for information, reviews, or complaints about different lawyers online. An experienced lawyer should have an online presence, and if they’re any good they should have a website with reviews from previous clients.
Interview Several Lawyers
Even though immigration lawyers tend to be very busy, it’s important to get an appointment for a consultation as soon as possible. Due to the volume of work they receive, some lawyers may charge for their initial consultations, although some offer it for free. Additionally, a good idea is to interview at least two lawyers, in person, before making your final choice.
This way, you can assess their work environment, communication style, and legal expertise. Are they organized, friendly and approachable, or are they aloof and distant? Do they have a deep understanding of the particular legal issues that you face in your specific immigration case? If you feel suspicious about the attorney, do a bit more research about them.
Also, note the time it takes for the immigration attorney to reply to your email or phone call. This is how you can determine their availability, and if they’ll pay attention to your particular case. It’s best to move on to another immigration attorney if you feel they don’t make time for you and your needs.
It might seem difficult to find a competent, knowledgeable immigration lawyer, especially when trying to avoid the many unreliable solutions that are out there that might only waste your time and money, but potentially hurt your chances of a positive outcome. With the tips above, you’ll be able to narrow down the choices of who you may want to work with.