How to Pick A Good Immigration Lawyer

There is no denying the fact that immigration has become a preeminent topic in the United States over recent years. The truth of the matter is that immigration law in this country is quite complicated and multi-faceted, so obtaining an immigration lawyer is paramount.

The system has inherent flaws, confusing legal wording and even corruption throughout. Unfortunately, even seemingly simple tasks related to coming, and remaining, in this country can get tangled in the web of red tape. In order to protect your constitutional rights, it is imperative to have an experienced, dedicated and competent immigration lawyer on your side to ensure somebody has your back.

We here at The Cotto Law Group in Duluth, Georgia have a particular passion for immigration law, starting at the very top with our lead attorney, Isaac F. Cotto, who has helped hundreds of individuals and families get what they deserve from the immigration system. We want you to clearly understand what to look for from a good immigration lawyer, so we’ve written this blog post on just that subject.

Avoid Bottomfeeders

An unfortunate reality in immigration law — and law in all areas — are selfish, greedy people looking to prey upon the weak and under-informed. These types of shady “lawyers” often prowl the hallways of immigration offices looking for business, hoping for the desperate. This is unethical behavior but does not prevent it from happening anyway. If someone presents themselves as a lawyer in this setting, they are absolutely not to be trusted under any circumstances. If somebody is promising you something that seems too good to be true, that’s because it is.

Key Takeaways:

  • Unethical “lawyers” are found in immigration offices preying on the desperate
  • They are never to be trusted and are engaging in unethical behavior as determined by the bar
  • Don’t listen or provide these people any information and instead seek actual representation

Verify They’re An Actual Attorney

Unethical behavior is not limited to those who may technically be immigration lawyers, but are only looking to make a profit. There are other forms of people who present themselves as immigration lawyers, but who in fact has no law degree or experience. These people generally are known as visa consultants, notario or a petition preparer. Some of these individuals may not even be intentionally trying to pull one over on you and may legitimately believe they can help you, yet the reality is they can’t because immigration law is too complex. Only legitimate, fully-experienced attorneys can handle the immigration system safely. Some may even be straight con artists, so again, tread with caution around these types of people.

Key Takeaways:

  • Some individuals may be involved in immigration services, but who don’t have law degrees and are not practicing attorneys
  • Generally they go under titles such as visa consultant, notario or petition preparer
  • These people are not qualified to help you as immigration law is too complex, and even if they truly believe they can help, the truth is they are not qualified and will fail

Do Some Research

Get to know the person you’re dealing with before committing to anything. The great thing about today’s technology is the ability to find information on nearly anyone. Verify that they are actually in the bar and in good standing. Are they members of professional organizations such as the American Immigration Law Association? Check for positive reviews to help give you confidence in their actual ability.

Key Takeaways:

  • Look into your potential immigration lawyer before committing
  • Make sure they are members of the bar and in good standing
  • Check for membership to professional organizations and look for positive reviews online

Value Experience

Immigration law is by far one of the most complex areas of law and simply going to law school and getting into the bar doesn’t guarantee any real-world success. Selecting an immigration lawyer who has actual experience and proven results in the best way to go, and perhaps the most important consideration to weigh. Having at least five years of experience is a good start, although more is still preferable. Some immigration lawyers even have specializations within immigration law, so find one who excels at your particular legal need.

Key Takeaways:

  • Don’t go with a fresh immigration lawyer with no real-world experience
  • Having experience in immigration law may be the most important consideration
  • Look for immigration lawyers who have a proven track record of success as well

Ask About Previous Cases

Think of picking an immigration lawyer sort of like a job interview. You shouldn’t be afraid to ask questions about their experience and work history. A good attorney should be more than happy to give you examples of cases they won and how they did it. A good attorney would also have plenty to choose from, so they would provide multiple instances of great legal representation.

Key Takeaways:

  • Think of finding an immigration lawyer like a job interview: don’t be afraid to ask questions about past work history
  • A good immigration lawyer will be glad to discuss previous cases they won
  • They should have more than one example, but several, especially if they have experience

Consult Multiple Lawyers

Like any other important decision in your life, don’t make a hasty decision. It’s OK to take some time to pick the very best candidate, even if you have immediate needs. Choosing poorly will only make your odds of success that much worse, so making a quicker decision did you no good in the end. Meet with your top few candidates and see which one you like best, has the most experience in your area of need and that you feel a strong connection with.

Key Takeaways:

  • Don’t be afraid to meet with multiple attorneys
  • Making a quick decision almost always turns out worse than making the best decision
  • Get a feel for your potential immigration lawyer and pick the one that meets the most requirements you need

Don’t Just Pick the Cheapest

While financial limitations are certainly an important piece of your selection process, it shouldn’t be the end all be all. You don’t have to pick the most expensive immigration lawyer because that doesn’t guarantee you anything. However, picking the cheapest because they’re the least expensive is also a poor decision-making strategy. Find a balance of what you can afford and who is best for your needs.

Key Takeaways:

  • Cost should not be the No. 1 factor in the decision-making process
  • The most expensive also doesn’t mean the best, so still do your homework
  • Never pick the cheapest attorney because they’re the least expensive, but instead find a balance between what you can afford and what you need

Trust Your Gut

Last but not least, trust your instincts. If you’ve followed all the steps above when selecting your immigration lawyer, then you have all the information you need to make a quality, informed decision. Who felt the best to you? Did you have a particular connection with one over the other? Maybe one of the attorneys had the best solution available for your needs. Trust your gut and make the call.

Key Takeaways:

  • You have all the information needed, so make a decision by trusting your instincts
  • Consider who felt most comfortable or you formed a connection with
  • Weigh what they had to say and what solutions they presented

Contact Us Today!

A good immigration lawyer can make all the difference in the world for your case, and ultimately, determine whether you succeed or fail. That’s not a chance you should be willing to take with inadequate representation. The Cotto Law Group knows we are a great choice for the people of Georgia, so contact us today and schedule your free consultation!

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