It’s crucial to find the best immigration lawyer and understand your legal situation for your case. Interpreting current immigration laws is difficult due to rumors and commentary in the news, internet, and legislature. In many places, particularly in Texas, the situation is changing rapidly.
Your best protection is a qualified immigration lawyer to inform and protect your rights through any immigration or naturalization challenge you may face. Whether you are hoping to come to the United States for better work opportunities, improved living conditions, for investment, or to be with family, the process can be very complicated. If you are already in the country and wish to remain, the situation may become more challenging. In any case, finding the best immigration lawyer is essential to dealing with the complicated procedures to achieve your goals.
But it can be difficult to find a qualified and considerate attorney whom you trust, one who will represent your case and protect your rights. Selecting the wrong immigration attorney can negatively affect your ability to enter or remain in the United States.
We understand how difficult it can be to choose an immigration lawyer when there is so much at stake. Therefore, we’ve outlined every step you need to take during your search that will make your journey easier and hopefully guide you to the best immigration lawyer for your unique needs. These steps are a comprehensive guide to how you can find, interview, and choose an immigration lawyer who is qualified, prepared, and experienced.
Checklist for Finding the Best Immigration Attorney
Hiring the right immigration attorney can make the difference between achieving your objective or having to accept an unsatisfactory ruling. Never try to save money by working with the least-cost option or by accepting a 3rd-party recommendation without research. Do your investigation and follow specific guidelines when making your selection.
STEP ONE: Do Your Research
So, you are ready to find an immigration attorney to represent your interests and protect your rights and livelihood. Despite the importance of finding such representation, it can be difficult to know exactly where to start. The immigrant status of you and/or your family is too important to trust to just anyone. With thorough research, you can pinpoint a few attorneys to pursue in further depth before making a final decision.
Talk to Friends and Family
Do you have any friends or family who have also needed the help of an immigration lawyer in your area? If so, ask them who represented them and whether or not they would recommend their services. Don’t be afraid to ask detailed questions! They may be able to provide you with a name of an attorney or law firm that represented them expertly and professionally.
Use the Internet
The internet is an excellent resource to use to find the best immigration lawyers in your area. A simple Google search should return several options that you can investigate. Once you have a list of law firms, read each website fully.
Search for professionally managed websites that offer a wide breadth of information for potential clients. You can also use a law firm’s website to get to know their specific offerings and attorneys. Once you have a list of law firms and/or lawyers that seem to be a good match, you are ready to reach out and schedule a free consultation.
Make sure you are working with a certified immigration lawyer
Always beware when using the internet to find immigration advice and legal help. While the internet can connect you to a variety of qualified and expert immigration attorneys, there are also scams that appear very believable. Keep on the lookout for anyone who says they are a “immigration consultant,” a “visa consultant,” a “notario,” or acts as if they are capable of helping with your immigration concerns despite lacking a legal degree.
Only a lawyer certified by your state’s bar association can truly represent and protect your immigration interests to the fullest legal extent and has the knowledge to navigate an often complicated judicial process.
Association ties are also important for identifying the best immigration lawyer. While membership in the American Bar Association is a fundamental requirement to practice law, being a member of the American Immigration Lawyers Association (AILA) is also important.
You can start by checking your state’s Bar Association website to identify a list of qualified attorneys. When narrowing the list of candidates, research each website to understand their real qualifications.
Find a lawyer specializing in immigration law
Some law firms offer representation in the entire scope of business and criminal law with no focus on immigration law. The right choice for any immigration or residency-related issue is an immigration attorney who specializes only in matters pertaining to that topic.
Look for a law firm with a clear commitment to immigration law as it pertains to family immigration, business immigration, deportation matters, and appeals. A dedicated immigration law firm stays current with all laws and events that may affect their clients so that they can advise the proper action at the right time.
Consider the lawyer’s location and accessibility
Depending on your case, you may wish to choose an attorney whose office is relatively near your residence. The biggest reason you would need your lawyer to be close to you is if you or a family member is facing or could face deportation. These cases could require your lawyer to represent you in court or if law enforcement officials should challenge you or someone in your, your lawyer may need to be present quickly to protect your rights.
Most immigration cases will never require a court appearance and therefore you can choose an immigration lawyer anywhere in the U.S. You may find it easier to attend a lawyer’s office to discuss case developments or strategize with your immigration attorney but in a digital world, this may not be necessary. It is up to personal preference.
Circumstances can change quickly. You should consider the lawyer’s accessibility. What time zone are they in and would that hinder your ability to coordinate with them? If you should need assistance on short notice, will the immigration attorney be available? If not, is there a qualified associate who can respond who will know your case and respond appropriately?
Look for online reviews
According to BrightLocal, 98% of people read online reviews for local businesses. Third-party commentary is even more critical when looking for an immigration lawyer. Search for online customer feedback and references that may uncover potential weaknesses on Google, Facebook and/or lawyer specific sites such as Avvo.
Consider a firm offering a free consultation
Determine if a free phone or in-person consultation is available for a first meeting. A free initial consultation is beneficial to both you and the immigration attorney. You may review your circumstances, present all documents, ask questions about similar cases, and determine whether the individual is qualified and empathetic to your situation.
The immigration attorney should offer ideas and perhaps a strategy to help. While there are no guarantees, this meeting can determine if the individual is someone you can employ.
Make a List
Using your resources at hand, including any potential personal referrals and internet results, create a list of law firms that you are interested in meeting. This should include only law firms that appear trustworthy and have lawyers certified by your state’s bar association. Once you have a list of law firms and/or lawyers that seem to be a good match, you are ready to reach out and schedule a free consultation.
Once your list is complete, you can move on to Step Two.
STEP TWO: Meet with Credible Law Firms
Once you have selected a few potential law firms, you can make contact, either by phone or via the internet. Make sure that a firm’s website makes it very clear how to get in contact, either by displaying their phone number prominently or providing a contact form on their website. Contacting firms should be easy and comfortable. For example, Nanthaveth & Associates allows you to contact their expert lawyers either by telephone at 1-512-829-7881 or by filling out an online contact form.
Schedule a Free Consultation
Most law firms, including Nantheveth & Associates, will provide free consultations to new clients. These consultations allow both attorney and client to meet, discuss the case details, and review other important information regarding your immigration concerns. It is important that you bring all your case materials with you to your meeting so that the attorney can completely understand the situation.
Nantheveth & Associates provides free 30-minute legal consultations to anyone with immigration questions or concerns. Additionally, if a potential client wishes to have more than 30 minutes to discuss their case, they can pay a small fee for a longer session.
Prepare Your Case Materials
Whether you are renewing a visa, sponsoring a green card, fighting deportation, or experiencing any other legal immigration concern, you can prepare for your consultations with attorneys by organizing all relevant materials to your case. Remember, you should organize and bring any information in your possession that could be helpful to your attorney for your free consultation. This should always include information like scheduled court dates, letters, forms, and prior rulings or decisions immediately relevant to your case.
Once you have all of your materials organized and ready, you’re prepared for your consultation. To make things as efficient as possible, bring your materials in a folder or binder.
Don’t be afraid to ask questions during your free consultation. It is imperative that you fully understand the potential courses of action that your lawyer can take on your behalf.
Prepare a list of questions before your free consultation. Doing so will help you remember every question that you feel is important. Each question you ask will better help you understand whether or not a specific attorney is the right fit for you.
A potential list of questions includes:
- How long have you been practicing immigration law?
- What is your legal specialty?
- Are you accredited by the State Bar Association?
- How much access will I have to an attorney if I choose this law firm?
- What will representation cost? (This will likely be an estimate.)
- What are the potential outcomes of my case?
- Do you have any previous clients I can speak with?
During your free consultation with an immigration attorney, you’ll likely receive a lot of crucial information about your case. Be prepared to take plenty of notes; these will be helpful once you have met with several lawyers and are ready to choose an immigration representative to oversee your case.
It may also be helpful and make you more comfortable to bring a trusted friend or family member with you. They may be able to take notes for you so you can concentrate on the information you’re receiving and ask questions.
Beware of Any Promises or Guarantees
Do not hire any immigration attorney or law firm that promises you a specific outcome. Even for the best attorneys, no specific immigration decision or outcome is guaranteed. A trustworthy and experienced immigration attorney will likely be able to outline a few possible outcomes as they deeply understand the legal process. Ultimately, the decision on your case will be in the hands of USICS, an immigration judge and/or court, and no attorney can predict with certainty final rulings.
A successful lawyer at an immigration law firm will likely have plenty of prior clients. Ask for the names of clients who might be willing to talk to you about their experience. These recommendations will help you completely understand what it’s like to work with a specific immigration attorney and/or law firm. You may learn that you’ve found a perfect match for you or, after talking with previous clients, decide to pursue another representative.
Does the immigration lawyer demonstrate compassion?
Over time, the practice of law can become a heart-hardening experience. Determine whether the individual is genuinely committed to helping and caring for those in need, or if the practice has become merely a business. Determine if the lawyer was:
- Compassionate and understanding
- Successful in their mission
Communication and the First Meeting
When you meet with an immigration lawyer for the first time, pay special attention to the two-way communication going on. An excellent attorney needs to understand your situation exactly and offer options, time-frames, and costs in detail.
Expect three outcomes from that initial meeting:
- Clear communications
- Understanding of how to proceed
- A personal and respectful relationship
STEP THREE: Make Your Final Choice
Once you have met an attorney whom you trust and hope to hire, you’ll want to complete some additional research before making a final decision. If you and your potential immigration attorney discussed the topics below during your free consultation, then you will likely already know the answers to these questions. But, if your consultation has left you with additional questions, it is essential that you complete some research before making any decisions.
Expert immigration attorneys are more likely to be both efficient and successful representatives. They will be innately familiar with both the legal challenges you face and how to potentially overcome such circumstances. The lawyers at Nanthaveth & Associates have a combined 30 years of experience, ensuring that you’ll have an attorney who knows the “ins and outs” of immigration law.
Additionally, you’ll want to consider the offerings of the law firm as a whole. Does the law firm only practice immigration law? If so, the firm can argue your case better with the most up-to-date information and guarantee that a true expert in the field represents you. Nanthaveth & Associates specializes in immigration law, and represents clients in the following practice areas: family immigration, business immigration, citizenship, and immigration appeals.
Some people do not feel comfortable speaking, reading, and/or writing in English. If you do not, it is critical that you find a lawyer who can speak your native language. They will be better able to serve you and your interests. Additionally, your lawyer will be able to translate any and all legal information provided in English to ensure that you fully comprehend the details of your case.
Cost of Services
Hiring an excellent immigration attorney is not cheap, but it is worth it. The cheapest is not always the best. Be prepared to pay more for reputable lawyers.
Lawyers with experience relevant to your specific situation are worth the money. When you or your family’s ability to live in the United States is in jeopardy, it is imperative that you hire the best immigration lawyer for the job. Often, this comes at a higher cost.
Once you have met with an immigration attorney or attorneys that you trust and have completed any additional research, it’s time to choose. Depending on the depth and breadth of your search, you may have one candidate or many. If you have consulted with a credible immigration attorney, asked questions, and researched your options, it is likely that your final choice will be perfect for you.
Schedule a Free Consultation with Nanthaveth & Associates
Nanthaveth & Associates has handled thousands of immigration cases successfully and is prepared to work diligently to ensure your protection. We have a proven history of protecting the legal rights of immigrants and nonimmigrants, helping to secure the appropriate visas, and compassionately representing individuals in all areas of immigration law.
Vi Nanthaveth heads a multilingual team of professionals dedicated to protecting the rights and residency of foreign-born individuals and their families. If you wish to contact Nanthaveth & Associates for a free consultation, complete the contact form on our site or give us a call!
About Nanthaveth & Associates:
Nanthaveth & Associates, PLLC is a trusted immigration law firm located in Austin, Texas. Immigration law experts at Nanthaveth and Associates are prepared to provide legal counsel for businesses, families and individuals in the areas of green cards, adjustment of status, work visas and investor visa applications, family-sponsored immigration, employer compliance, self-petitions, permanent residence, naturalization, waivers, appeals, foreign adoptions, and more.
For Austin, TX immigration help call Nanthaveth & Associates at 512.371.9000.