Once you’ve got your “short list” of prospective lawyers, you’ll want to speak to each one. How much a lawyer charges is bound to be a factor in whom you choose (see section F, below), but it shouldn’t be the only factor. Here are some other important considerations.
1) Familiarity With Cases Like Yours
Some immigration lawyers spend much of their time in sub-specialties, such as helping people obtain political asylum or employment-based visas. To learn how much experience a lawyer has in the type of visa or green card you’re interested in, ask some very practical questions, such as:
- How long do you expect my case to take?
- What is the reputation of the officers at the USCIS or consular office who will handle my case?
- How many cases like mine did you handle this year?
2) Client Rapport
Your first instinct is hiring a lawyer may be to look for a shark – someone you wouldn’t want to leave your child with, but who will be a tough fighter for your case. This isn’t necessarily the best choice in the immigration context. Since you may need to share some highly confidential issues with your lawyer, you’ll want to know that the person is discreet and thoughtful. Also, realize that a lawyer’s politeness goes a long way in front of immigration officials; sharks often produce a bureaucratic backlash, whereas the lawyers with good working relations with USCIS may have doors open with them.
3) Access to your lawyer
You’ll want to know that you can reach your lawyer during the months that your application winds its way through the USCIS or consular bureaucracy. A lawyer’s accessibility may be hard to judge at the beginning, but try listening to the lawyer’s receptionist as you wait in his or her office for the first time. If you get the sense that the receptionist is rude and trying to push people off or give them flimsy excuses about why the lawyer hasn’t returned their call or won’t talk to them, don’t hire that lawyer.
Many immigration lawyers are sole practitioners and use an answering machine rather than a receptionist. In that case, you’ll have to rely on how quickly they answer your initial calls. In your first meeting, simply ask the lawyer how quickly he or she will get back to you. If the lawyer regularly breaks promises, you’ll have grounds on which to complain.
Of course, you too, have a responsibility not to harass your lawyer with frequent calls. The lawyer should be available for legitimate questions about your case, including about inquiries about approaching deadlines.
4) Explaining Services and Costs
Take a good look at any printed materials the lawyer gives you on your first visit. Are they glitzy, glossy pieces that look more like advertising than anything useful? Or are they designed to acquaint you with the process you’re getting into and the lawyer’s role in it? Think about this issue again before you sign the lawyer’s fee agreement, described in the section immediately below. Being a good salesperson doesn’t necessarily make someone a good lawyer.
en sub-especialidades, tales como ayudar a las personas a obtener asilo político
o visas de trabajo. Para saber cuánta experiencia tiene un abogado en el tipo de
visa o tarjeta verde que le interesa a usted, hay algunas preguntas mas prácticas, tales como:
¿Cuanto tiempo va a tomar mi caso?
¿Cual es la reputación de los oficiales en el USCIS y la oficina de consular que controlará mi caso?
¿Cuantos casos como el mío a manejado este año?
cómo rápidamente responde a las llamadas iniciales. En su primera reunión, simplemente peda al abogado rápidamente cómo es que él o ella le van a responder a usted. Si el abogado regularmente rompe promesas, tendrá motivos para quejarse.
llamadas frecuentes. El abogado debe estar disponible para preguntas legítimas sobre su caso, incluyendo preguntas sobre acerca de plazos.
que nada útil? ¿O están diseñados para dar a conocer el proceso que se está metiendo y el papel del abogado? Reflexione sobre este tema antes de firmar el acuerdo de los honorarios de los abogados, descrito en la sección inmediatamente inferior. Ser un buen vendedor no necesariamente hace a alguien un buen abogado.