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Is a Good Lawyer an Oxymoron?

What Makes a Good Immigration Attorney

  • The attorney practices immigration law exclusively. Immigration Law is highly specialized and the laws are constantly changing. If your lawyer practices in multiple areas like criminal, family, estate planning AND immigration, chances are that lawyer will not be as well educated as one who practices immigration law exclusively.
  • Membership in a State Bar Association (because immigration matters are under federal jurisdiction, attorneys can practice anywhere in the U.S. with membership to any State Bar Association). The State Bar Association Directory of Lawyers will tell you how many years the attorney has been practicing and whether or not he or she is in good standing.
  • For the individual, the most important question is, “Does your attorney have respect for the law, morals, ethics and does he or she believe in your case 100%?” Does your attorney tell you the truth even if it’s not what you want to hear? Does your attorney outline what may or may not happen? If your attorney guarantees any results, run as fast as you can. No one can guarantee results.

    No one can guarantee that USCIS won’t make a mistake or even go against their own rules (as they did in processing H2Bs in 2008). Does your attorney continue to counsel you even after the visa is issued? Is your attorney willing to bend the rules to get your visa? Besides the obvious legal and morality issues, an attorney who is willing to venture into “gray areas” of fact in order to obtain your visa is putting you and your employer at great risk.

    “Gray areas” often lead to problems, for example, when you later apply for citizenship. “Gray areas” may lead to your early layoff. “Gray areas” may lead to ICE showing up at your house at 6 a.m. “Gray areas” may lead to your deportation. In the short term, a Rule Bender may get your visa but in the long run, it will likely hurt you and your employer or family. Additionally, such practices only fuel malcontent in the U.S. about immigration in general.

    Your attorney should have ethics, morals, and fully abide by the law. Your attorney should tell you the truth even if it’s something you don’t want to hear. Your attorney should believe in the facts of your case 100% so he or she can be the best advocate for you.

    Remember, in most cases, your relationship with your immigration attorney lasts for many, many years. Your attorney should ensure all your filings are unquestionable in order to safeguard both your immediate and longterm interests.

“A lawyer’s either a social engineer or he’s a parasite on society.”

-Charles Hamilton Houston