Every year, over 800,000 immigrants apply to become permanent US residents. Out of these applicants, the United States Citizenship and Immigration Service turns down about 12%.
If you’re not sure about the status of your green card or if you’re worried about joining this unlucky 12%, it might be wise for you to lawyer up. The right attorney will help you apply for your green card and assist you if removal proceedings have been filed against you.
The issue is finding the best immigration lawyer for your particular needs. Check out this guide to find out what you should be on the lookout for.
Get a Referral
When you start Googling around for the best law firm, you’ll most likely find a long list of offices in your area. Narrow down your search by getting a referral.
If you’ve already hired another lawyer for a different case, they might be able to point you toward a few attorneys within their network. If you don’t have a lawyer to reach out to, talk to family and friends that have been in your situation.
Cheaper Isn’t Always Better
None of the different types of lawyers are cheap. If you want results, you’re going to have to pay for them.
If you hire an inexpensive lawyer in order to save money, they may not perform their duties to the best of their abilities.
Talk to the Bar Association
Most lawyers join the bar association so that they may network with their fellow attorneys. Being a member also gives them access to resources and continuing education opportunities.
Many bar associations have referral services that help pair clients with an immigration lawyer in Colorado, or anywhere else, who can suit their needs.
On the website, you can search by immigration lawyer. If you need to narrow things down, you can pick a subcategory.
Confirm Their Credentials
When you’ve found a possible candidate to take on your immigration case, you’ll need to confirm their credentials before you give them the job. They should have detailed knowledge of temporary work visa requirements, green cards, political asylum, and more.
Your local state bar can match you with lawyers that have the credentials you seek. They can also let you know if a particular attorney has had any complaints against them.
You can visit the American Immigration Lawyers Association website as well. There you’ll find a list of attorneys that are certified to practice immigration law.
You are technically hiring a lawyer for a job. In that sense, it’s no different than any other employer/employee relationship.
That means you have every right to interview potential lawyers. Reach out to candidates to schedule a quick phone call.
During the interview, ask the lawyer about their experience working on cases like yours. Find out what areas of immigration law they specialize in, and ask about the languages they can communicate in.
Don’t forget to ask about their opinion on your situation. If a lawyer makes lofty promises about winning your case, that should raise a few red flags. Professionals will give you their honest feedback, no matter if it’s good or bad.
Make Sure You’re Comfortable With Your Lawyer
Even if a lawyer has amazing credentials, if you don’t feel comfortable talking to them, you may want to restart your search.
For example, if they can’t speak your native language, the barrier might become tiresome after a while. You may prefer a female attorney over a male one or vice versa.
They may just rub you the wrong way. No matter your reasoning, turning down an attorney is valid. Getting a consultation doesn’t lock you into choosing a particular lawyer.
Ask for References
During the consultation process, ask the attorney for references. Most lawyers will be more than happy to give you a list of their past clients.
If the list they give you is reasonably long, that’s a good sign. It’s an even better one if the references you get in touch with seem pleased by the services they received.
Talk About the Fee
Don’t pay for a lawyer if you don’t know what you’re paying for. Get a written estimate outright.
This estimate should display a complete breakdown of what you’re going to be charged for, including additional fees. The last thing you need is financial surprises when you’re already dealing with a stressful immigration case.
You should also find out if the attorney charges a flat fee or an hourly rate.
Find a Different Lawyer If Need Be
After you’ve worked with a lawyer for a few weeks, you may find that they’re not fitting your needs as well as you thought they would. Before starting back over on your search, talk to your attorney about their performance problem.
It might be something that’s out of their hands. For example, if your case is taking a while, they might be able to use data and charts to reassure you that the delay is 100% normal.
If after talking with them, they still fail to meet your expectations, it’s okay to find someone who can.
Choose the Best Immigration Lawyer for Your Case
Whether you’re applying for a green card or trying to dispute deportation proceedings, choosing the best immigration lawyer will help spin things in your favor.
As you can see, there are many things that you should consider when shopping around for an attorney. Be sure to ask for references, get a referral, interview potential lawyers, and above all else, make sure you’re comfortable talking with them about your case.
For more tips that will help you navigate your way around the world of immigration law, visit the Legal section of our blog.