Immigration law is among the most complex of all fields of legal practice. It involves statutory interpretation, regulatory interpretation and case law interpretation, and it can involve the laws of other countries as well. It also changes frequently, and can be interpreted differently by various officials in different government offices.
Thus, when you go shopping for an immigration lawyer, you need to find one who is not only well-versed in the law, but steeped in the practical experience of actually processing the kinds of applications and claims for the solutions or remedies that you need.
Here are some suggested tips for finding and selecting an immigration lawyer who is right for you:
- Ask people you know. If you know lawyers or people who have dealt with lawyers, they are likely to be a good source of information about reputable attorneys with practical experience. They are also likely to know if someone is not reputable or not sufficiently experienced in their field.
- Check the Internet. Do a search for immigration lawyers and/or search for the names of attorneys supplied to you by your friends. Do they have a Website? Do they present their credentials and practice areas on their Website? Do they have a blog or any links to presentations they have given or articles they have written? Often you can get a good idea about their practice by reading about it on their Website.
- Check with the American Immigration Lawyers Association (AILA). You can go to the AILA Website and find information about lawyers who practice immigration law. Membership in AILA is not required for an immigration lawyer, but it demonstrates some commitment to professionalism and keeping up with the latest practice trends and issues.
- Shop for Value Rather Than Price. The cost of bad advice is way more than the price of the fee. On the other hand, an hourly charge that is higher than average may result in a lower bill for value received if your lawyer knows the right steps to take, moves quickly, and gets results. Try to look at the total bill you are likely to receive for a matter and weight it against the track record of results and benefits that you seek. The lowest hourly rate will not always yield the lowest total bill and rarely will provide the best results. A good lawyer has good paying clients and will bill accordingly.
- Do a Background Check. Be sure to check with the local and state bar associations to see if your lawyer is a member in good standing and see if they have any complaints filed against them. You can also check the Internet for complaints and for positive references about lawyers through various sites dedicated to rating service providers.
For information about the immigration practice of Ron Shapiro, click on the following link to our Website.