The decision to hire an immigration lawyer is a big one. After all, this is someone who will be helping you navigate through one of the most critical processes in your life – the process of immigrating to a new country. The stakes are high, and the outcome is uncertain, which is why it is so important to choose the right immigration lawyer for your needs. Here are ten factors to consider when choosing an Immigration Attorney in San Francisco.
Regarding something as crucial as your immigration status, you want an experienced professional by your side. Look for an immigration lawyer who has been practicing for at least five years and who has handled cases similar to yours.
- Success Rate:
How successful has the lawyer been in winning cases like yours? Ask for references or contact the law firm’s previous clients to get an idea of the success rate.
- Board Certification:
There are different types of lawyers, so you want to ensure you’re working with someone specializing in immigration law. One way to tell if a lawyer specializes in immigration law is to see if they are board certified by the American Immigration Lawyers Association (AILA).
- Policy Focus:
When meeting with potential lawyers, ask about their policy focus regarding immigration law. You want to ensure their views align with your own regarding family reunification, undocumented immigrants, and refugee resettlement.
- Community Involvement:
An active presence in the immigrant community can indicate that a lawyer cares about their clients and is up-to-date on the latest developments in immigration law. In addition, look for a lawyer involved in community organizations or speaking at local events.
- Support Staff:
You’ll also work with their support staff, paralegals, and administrative assistants. When meeting with potential lawyers, take note of their professionalism and helpfulness. Do they make you feel comfortable and welcome? Do they seem knowledgeable about the process?
Many immigration lawyers have a lot of clients and may not be able to give your case the individual attention it deserves. When meeting with potential lawyers, ask about their availability and how they typically communicate with clients. Would you be able to reach them by email or phone if you have questions?
- Fee Structure:
Lawyers typically charge by the hour, but some may charge a flat fee for specific services or a retainer fee upfront that will cover all future services rendered within a certain period. Make sure you understand how the lawyer intends to bill you before hiring them, so there are no surprises down the road.
- Language Skills:
If English is not your first language, look for an immigration lawyer who speaks your language fluently or has bilingual staff members who can assist you throughout the process. Nothing is worse than losing in translation during such a necessary process!
Lastly, ask for references from past clients before hiring an immigration lawyer. A good reference should be able to speak to the quality of the lawyer’s work and their experience working with them. Once you’ve considered all these factors, you should know which immigration lawyer is right for you and your needs!
The decision to hire an immigration lawyer should not be taken lightly – after all, this is someone who will be helping you navigate one of the most critical processes in your life! Of course, there are many factors to consider when choosing an immigration lawyer, but by taking your time and researching, you’re sure to find someone who meets all of your needs and whom you can trust implicitly throughout this journey!