Choosing a good lawyer is important. It can make a difference in how much money you spend, how long your application takes and whether or not you get approved. Having a good lawyer is of course no guarantee that you will not spend any money, that your application will be processed in shorter than normal periods of time or that your application will be approved. But, a bad lawyer will take longer to fill out paperwork, may have you fill out the wrong forms costing you extra money, or not provide sufficient supporting evidence to get an application that should be approved, approved. Here are the basics to look for when finding a good attorney (immigration or otherwise).
- Make sure they are licensed in your state. (Note that immigration attorneys may practice immigration law in any state as long as they have an active license in a US state. So, your Tennessee lawyer can represent you at immigration court in Kansas City or elsewhere). This can be done with your state board of professional responsibility. This would also be a good time to check and see if they have been disciplined. An attorney can be licensed but still have had past complaints filed against him. In Tennessee check: http://www.tbpr.org/consumers/AttorneySearch/
- Check what kind of experience they have. Ask if they have done this kind of work before. If not, what will they do to make themselves competent to take the case? Will they associate with more experienced counsel? A law license does not mean that the lawyer knows everything about every area of law. That would be impossible. But, a good lawyer knows the limits of his experience and when it is necessary to associate with more experienced counsel to protect the interests of his client.
- Make sure they send you a copy of every document they send out and every document they receive in your case. For immigration this means the lawyer should send you a copy of every application you send in and all of the supporting documentation. This also means that when you receive a notice of action or some other document from immigration officials, your lawyer should send you a copy of the letter.
- Get a copy of your fee agreement in writing. Be sure you are clear as to what the fee covers and what it does not. In immigration every application has a corresponding fee. The attorneys fee is for the attorneys work and does not normally include the cost of the individual applications. Make sure to ask if the fee includes expenses or not (postage, copying, etc.). You should also try to get an estimate of any other expenses related to your case (e.g. if you will have to get vacinnation records, passports, translations, etc.) so that you can properly budget for your case from start to finish.
- Lastly, NOTARIOS ARE NOT LAWYERS. They are not licensed and they are not approved by immigration or any law licensing board to file and fill out paperwork. Only lawyers and those approved by the BIA are permitted to help you fill out paperwork. When in doubt, check their documentation. A good lawyer or authorized person will not be offended. After all, it is your case you are putting in their hands. You have a right to verify any and all information they give you. For more information about notario fraud visit: Notario Fraud
- Get the proper representation in Immigration Court
You should contact a competent attorney for advice about your case. This is general information and not legal advice. No attorney client relationship is formed by use of this site.