How to Select an Immigration Attorney
CERTIFIED SPECIALISTS IN IMMIGRATION LAW
Immigrants frequently choose attorneys just because speak their language or are from the same country as they are. Many Chinese choose Chinese attorneys; Filipinos tend to select Filipino attorneys, etc.
Some immigration attorneys have built huge followings by blanketing ethnic newspapers with ads touting their successes. Other attorneys, including Yours Truly, are known largely through their websites.
However, speaking a particular language, running big ads or having a popular website is no guarantee of quality. Expertise and experience are far more important than “self-advertised or paid” prominence.
In my video, I stress one important criterion that is nowhere mentioned in the section of the USCIS website entitled “Finding Legal Advice” or in the ads or websites of most immigration attorneys.
A number of states put attorneys through a rigorous system where they must pass a difficult examination regarding the intricacies of immigration law, require that they have a certain amount of experience in various facets of immigration law (employment-based, family-based, asylum, deportation defense, etc.) and obtain recommendations from their colleagues. A committee checks to make sure that the attorney is in good-standing with the bar association. Only then can an attorney be deemed to be a Certified Specialist in Immigration Law.
Several years ago, I had the privilege of serving on the committee which writes and grades the examination for California attorneys seeking Certified Specialist status in Immigration Law. I can state, without hesitation, that the examination was extremely difficult to pass, and that every attorney who our committee recommended to be a Certified Specialist was both experienced and a true expert in the field.
In my opinion, persons seeking legal advice from immigration attorneys could do no better than to restrict their search to pre-screened Certified Specialists in Immigration Law.
LOCATION, LOCATION, LOCATION ?
This mantra is a good rule of thumb when you are looking to buy a house. It is less helpful when you are seeking immigration legal advice. Immigration law is federal. Therefore, an immigration lawyer in Texas or California can represent corporate and individual clients in all 50 states.
For example, during the past few weeks, attorneys in our law firm flew to New York City, Reno, Dallas and Philadelphia to represent clients. In a typical case, however, the petitions and applications are simply mailed to the USCIS, and no interview is required. The location of the attorney is irrelevant, while the skill of the attorney is paramount.
Don’t despair. Below, we link to the web addresses of all Certified Specialists in Immigration Law around the United States.
HOW TO FIND A CERTIFIED SPECIALIST IN IMMIGRATION LAW
Four states currently certify attorneys as specialists in immigration law. If enough savvy consumers of legal services use certified specialists, we predict their will be a clamor in all states to certify legal specialists in the future.
* NORTH CAROLINA
WHAT CAN A CERTIFIED SPECIALIST DO FOR YOU?
Why should you hire a Certified Specialist in Immigration Law?
This way, you can obtain top-notch legal advice and avoid the unfortunate dilemma faced by the businessman and his daughter discussed at the beginning of this article.
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