For any immigrant coming to a new country to seek a new life, understanding the ins and outs of their new home’s immigration laws is one of the biggest challenges of their transition. This is especially true in the United States, where the number of individuals born outside the country has more than quadrupled since 1965.
The process of becoming a citizen is often labyrinthine and confusing, especially if you don’t know how to find a good immigration attorney. For that reason, many new immigrants find themselves at the mercy of unethical, corrupt immigration lawyers looking to make money off of their clients’ confusion.
To protect yourself from this fate, be sure to follow these do’s and don’ts to knowing how to find a good immigration attorney:
Do: Research any lawyer before hiring them
A great starting point is the American Immigration Lawyers’ Association (AILA) — any reputable immigration attorney should be registered here. You can also check his or her reviews on various websites; research whether they’ve published papers in legal publications and more.
Don’t: Hire the first lawyer to approach you at USCIS or similar immigration offices
It can be tempting to seek out the assistance of the first attorney to approach you at an immigration office. However, such attorneys are often lingering at these offices to try and make money off of the vulnerable and at-risk. This practice is considered unethical by the bar, so any immigration lawyer of repute won’t be found doing this.
Do: Be skeptical
You’re going to be trusting your attorney with your future — so it’s only right that you treat any prospective attorney with a fair degree of skepticism. Never fall for too-good-to-be-true promises — even the best lawyer on earth can’t guarantee you’ll get the best outcome from your case. At the end of the day, your case’s outcome is in the hands of the judge. Any immigration lawyer of repute should know this and be able to tell you this.
Don’t: Speak to only one attorney
The most important step in finding an attorney for your immigration case is to speak to more than one of them before hiring one. By shopping around, you’ll be able to get a sense for their values, philosophy and level of commitment to their clients — as well as a good feel for how present they’ll be during your case.
Knowing how to find a good immigration attorney can be one of the biggest challenges for undocumented immigrants hoping to find a path to citizenship. But with a little research and patience, you’ll be able to find the best immigration lawyer for you — and your family’s — needs.