Immigrating to the United States can be a very stressful and anxiety-ridden process. The right immigration lawyer can put your mind at ease and alleviate much of your stress. Below is a list of the top 5 things you should look for in an immigration lawyer:
1. Your lawyer should be a member of the American Immigration Lawyers Association (AILA). It is the national association of immigration lawyers and its mission is to advance the quality of immigration law and practice. To become an AILA member, the immigration lawyer must be in good standing with his or her State Bar Association, and must not have been suspended or disbarred from the State Bar Association, administrative agency or other disciplinary authority. While being a member of AILA is no guarantee of high-level work, it does indicate that the lawyer is licensed and in good standing, and is also committed to the area of immigration law.
2. Make sure your immigration lawyer has a good reputation. If your lawyer has strong client testimonials and referrals, then it is highly likely the recommendations were earned through hard work. The best indicator of a good lawyer is what their current clients are saying about him or her.
3. Your immigration lawyer should practice immigration law exclusively. Many lawyers list immigration law as one of several of their practice areas. The U.S. immigration laws are highly technical and complex, and even full-time immigration lawyers are hard-pressed to keep with all of the latest developments. It would be impossible to be a top-notch immigration lawyer while also attempting to be a top-notch lawyer in other practice areas.
4. Make sure your immigration lawyer is experienced in your type of immigration matter. Even within the specialty area of immigration law, there are several sub-specialties – such as family, employment, deportation defense, and asylum – with each of them having its own rules and regulations. So, if your immigration matter is an employment one (ex. H1B, PERM, etc.), make sure your immigration lawyer is knowledgeable in that particular area of immigration law.
5. Make sure that the immigration lawyer’s firm is not too large. You want to ensure that the immigration lawyer you hired is actually doing the work on your case or, at the very least, is directly overseeing and reviewing your case. Your immigration lawyer, rather than his or her paralegal, should be available to promptly answer emails and phone calls and should be knowledgeable about what is happening in your case.