How to Hire an Immigration Attorney

How to Hire an Immigration Attorney

What questions to ask when hiring an immigration attorney


Are you a member in good standing with the Bar?

Members of a state Bar are in good standing if those persons licensed to practice law in a particular state have paid annual membership fees or dues for the current year and who are not retired, resigned, delinquent, inactive or suspended members.  For immigration law, an immigration attorney need only be a member of any state bar and not necessarily the local state bar.  Immigration law is a federal practice.


Do you have malpractice insurance?

Legal malpractice insurance can make a major difference in the outcome of legal malpractice cases.  The law does not require attorneys to have malpractice insurance.  There are different types of legal malpractice insurance.  Some cover only certain conditions or provide only partial coverage.

What if a lawyer does not have legal malpractice insurance?  Then it is possible that victims of legal malpractice may not have recourse against the lawyer who committed legal malpractice.  The insurance company will defend the attorney against the victim's claims.  Or the insurance company will pay the client if the attorney is found guilty of malpractice.


Are you a member of American Immigration Lawyers Association (AILA)?

The American Immigration Lawyers Association (AILA) is the national association of more than 14,000 attorneys and law professors who practice and teach immigration law.  AILA member attorneys represent US families seeking permanent residence for close family members, as well as US businesses seeking talent from the global marketplace.  AILA members also represent foreign students, entertainers, athletes, and asylum seekers, often on a pro bono basis.  Founded in 1946, AILA is a nonpartisan, not for profit organization that provides continuing legal education, information, professional services, and expertise through its 39 chapters and over 50 national committees.


How long have you been practicing immigration law?

An experienced attorney can deal more effectively.  Some attorneys are better than others for many reasons.  But one of the main reasons is due to experience.  This is what separates the good from the great.  Ultimately, the client reaps the benefits from an experienced and skilled attorney.  This case involves your life and your money.  The outcome of your future rests in the hands of an attorney you choose.  Do not take this decision lightly.  No two cases are the same no matter how many friends you talk to or how much you Google your case.  There is no one size fit all in immigration law.


Do you only practice immigration law?

Some attorneys dabble in different areas of law.  "Jack of all trades, master of none" is a figure of speech used in reference to a person that is competent with many skills, but spends so much time learning each new skill that they cannot become an expert in any particular one (Wikipedia).  It is ok to ask an attorney about their educational and professional background and credentials if it is not available on their website or email signature.