How Do You Find A Good Immigration Lawyer? 8 Tips

Do you have an immigration issue that needs solving? Are you trying to get a green card, or avoid deportation?

There are so many lawyers out there, and everyone is going to tell you they are the best. But when you — or a loved one — find yourself trying to remain in the United States, you can’t afford to make any mistakes, or have the wrong lawyer make them for you. So how do you cut through all the static and find the best green card lawyer you can find?

Here are 8 Tips to Help You Find the Best Green Card Lawyer:

  1. Be wary of overblown promises and unethical advice
    We all want to believe in the best outcomes for ourselves or our families. It seems easy to go with the lawyer that says what you want to hear the most. But can the lawyer actually deliver? Make sure you aren’t just going with the person that is making unrealistic promises to you. Moreover, if your lawyer is suggesting you lie on a form, or buy your way into the US, you should run away from him.
  2. Read Peer Ratings:
    There are a number of great sites with rankings of lawyers that help with green cards and immigration issues:
    Best Lawyers in America
    Super Lawyers
    Avvo
    Lawyers.com
    All of these websites contain a wealth of helpful data. A top rating in these directories says a great deal about about an Immigration Attorney. However, these sites are – by no means – the only places to look.
  3. Check out Client Reviews:
    Google the Immigration lawyer or law firm, and check out the ratings. Reviews by actual clients of a Green Card Lawyer are specific. They assist you in understanding these attorneys. Do not simply count the number of reviews, but really take time to read the reviews carefully. It’s going to give you a lot of insight into what makes that lawyer, or law firm stand out.
  4. Look Over The Firm’s Website:
    How professional is their website? As many clients have told me, “you have spent a great deal of effort on your website.  That shows me that you will also work hard on my case.”  I honestly never thought of this point until others brought it to my attention, but it makes sense. If a lawyer cares about his or her business, chances are they will care about your business as well.
  5. Make sure they are actual immigration lawyers, not visa consultants, petition preparers, or “notarios”:
    First of all, are they all in one area of law? Immigration law is one of the most complex fields there is. For example, do you want someone who will take your green card case, but they mostly do divorce law? Also, how well does the particular Green Card Lawyer know the Immigration Act? Caselaw? Federal regulations? AND MAKE SURE THEY ARE LICENSED ATTORNEYS – NOT “NOTARIOS” WHO ENGAGE IN UNAUTHORIZED PRACTICE OF LAW.  In addition, see if you can watch videos of them speaking about the law. Have they written on the topic, or lectured at law schools?
  6. Weigh Their Experience:
    Years of active practice are significant, but an even better tool to measure the experience of the Green Card Lawyer is to talk with him about how many hours he has spent on different types of cases. You not only want length of time practicing Immigration Law, you want to make sure that the lawyer has covered many cases like yours. And won them.
  7. Solo vs. Partners vs. Team:
    Ask yourself: is a one-attorney office as good as five?  Does a team of Green Card Lawyers work best to achieve success? Just like in sports where a roster wins based on its players’ teamwork, so it goes with real life problems.
  8. Accessibility:
    Are you able to talk to your Green Card Lawyer on email any day at any time? Can you count on them to call you back as quickly as possible? Trying to get a green card, and dealing with immigration problems can be one of the most stressful and life-changing processes. If it goes wrong, it can be devastating. You want to know that you aren’t just a number on an immigration lawyer’s roster. It’s important that you can contact your lawyer at any time with questions or concerns that you have. Isn’t that why they are there?

Remember: this is your life. Your green card lawyer should be there to help and support your through all aspects of your immigration process. Choose wisely, it could be the most important decision of your life!

Written by: Harlan York

Immigration Attorney Harlan York is Former Chair, Immigration Section, NJ State Bar Association and Former Co-Chair, NY State Bar Association CFLS Immigration Committee. Mr. York appeared on National Television on CBS This Morning with Charlie Rose and Primer Impacto on Univision, as well as Telemundo, NBC, and PBS. He was honored as First Ever Immigration Lawyer of The Year in NJ by Best Lawyers.

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