What to Expect from Your Immigration Lawyer

Written by Carmen Cornejo

When hiring a lawyer, you should be aware that you have rights as a client and a consumer of services. Information is key to exercising your rights, especially when you hire an immigration lawyer and your life in this country is at stake. Lawyers are professional, trained individuals who have passed rigorous exams and must abide by rules that regulate their conduct.

Here’s what to look for. A good lawyer:

Is always respectful and conducts business with professionalism.

Provides proof of his or her membership in the Bar Association(s) and/or AILA.

Is knowledgeable about the complexities of immigration law. Not all lawyers are competent in immigration law. Do not be afraid to ask about their experience, training, education, types of cases they specialize in, and their success rate.

Acts ethically. He or she will never ask you to lie, and will never set unrealistic expectations.

Works diligently. You can expect to be informed periodically about your case and be provided with copies of the legal documents prepared on your behalf.

Charges fair fees. He or she will provide estimates for the work in advance and will explain potential extra costs. Good lawyers offer an itemized list of charges.

Keeps all information confidential and organized.

Gives you the right to make the major decisions.

If you become a victim of a bad lawyer, report the person to the Bar Association in your state.

Follow this link for a Lacey & Larkin Frontera Fund piece on how to choose a good immigration lawyer.

Whatever you do, stay clear of notarios, who are not immigration lawyers.