Why Hire an Immigration Attorney?
Many people have never used an attorney before and may not understand how we function as advocates for their cause, not just preparers of paperwork. While an alien can call the USCIS or visit a USCIS office, the fact is that USCIS representatives are not advocates for the rights of immigrants; that is not their job. They often miss things or give out information which is not legally correct or perhaps not complete. They have no incentive to analyze the individual's case and inform him/her as to what all of the options may be.
U.S. immigration law is complex and changes rapidly. Moreover, sometimes an individual case involves other bodies of the law besides immigration law. As lawyers, we study and know the law, and use it to our clients' advantage every day. Chances are, we have already successfully handled many other cases like the prospective client's case.
The client can tell us things in confidence that he or she might not want to disclose to anyone. As professionals, we are responsible for serving our clients in the same way that doctors serve their patients. Like doctors, we can be held responsible if we make a mistake. In contrast, if an alien relies on USCIS advice or on his/her own understanding of immigration requirements, then the alien has no one to blame but himself for any mistakes.
Free legal advice is worth what you pay for it. We charge our clients a reasonable legal fee in order to get their cases approved. If we do not believe a case can be approved, we will not take it simply to collect a legal fee.
The American Immigration Lawyer's Foundation states below that when choosing an immigration attorney you should beware of the following:
- Notaries, consultants, service bureaus, travel agents, or others who promise quick, easy solutions to immigration problems.
- Anyone who guarantees they can get you a visa for a certain fee.
- Lawyers from other countries who do not know U.S. laws and are not licensed to practice in the U.S.
- People who say the "know someone" who has an "inside track" or anyone who wants money to influence or bribe.
- Be wary of unlicensed operators! They are not accountable to anyone. They are known for taking people's money and doing nothing. Or worse, they may lie to the government in your name for a quick, simple solution that in the end may result in your deportation or permanent exclusion from the U.S.
- If you are not sure whether the person offering you immigration services is a lawyer or an accredited representative, ask to see the accreditation letters or U.S. bar admission certificate. If you are still not sure, call the State Bar Association. Remember, in the United States it is illegal to practice law without a license.
The attorneys at Slowik & Robinson are available to answer questions in order to help prospective clients determine if our firm is the appropriate firm to handle their legal matters. If not, we will inform the prospective client and gladly offer a referral to an appropriate legal professional or, in some cases, a not-for-profit agency that may assist with the matter.