When applying for immigration status, finding the right lawyer can be key. Hiring a reliable immigration lawyer Washington DC area can mean the difference between approval or denial.
Washington, D.C., is home to a diverse and vibrant immigrant community. If you are an immigrant in the said place, there are lawyers to help you navigate the immigration process.
To make sure you have the right person for your case, there are questions to ask before making a decision.
- 1 Important Questions to Ask an Immigration Lawyer Before You Hire Them
- 1.1 Question #1: What is your area of expertise within immigration law?
- 1.2 Question #2: What are your fees for handling an immigration case?
- 1.3 Question #3: Can you provide references from past clients?
- 1.4 Question #4: What is your success rate?
- 1.5 Question #5: Do you keep up with changes in immigration law?
- 1.6 Question #6: How long is my case likely to take?
- 1.7 Question #7: How do you handle emergencies or time-sensitive issues?
- 1.8 Question #8: Do you have any specialized training or accreditations in immigration law?
- 2 Wrap Up
Important Questions to Ask an Immigration Lawyer Before You Hire Them
Question #1: What is your area of expertise within immigration law?
Expertise refers to the specific types of immigration cases of which they’re capable.
Some immigration lawyers may be general in practicing immigration law cases. Others handle specific cases, such as family-based visas, or citizenship and naturalization.
If your case is in a specific area of immigration law, you choose someone who has experience handling similar cases. This can help ensure you receive the best representation.
Question #2: What are your fees for handling an immigration case?
It’s important to ask an immigration lawyer about their fees so that you can budget for the cost of legal representation.
Here’s a breakdown of factors affecting the cost of legal representation in an immigration case.
- Type of fee structure. Many attorneys charge hourly for their services, meaning that they bill you for every hour they spend working on your case. Other attorneys may offer a flat fee for their services.
- Experience level. Attorneys practicing law for more than five years tend to charge higher fees. However, hiring an experienced attorney can be well worth it if you’re willing to pay a premium price.
- Location. In most cases, paying more for an experienced attorney can mean better results in terms of getting approval from U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS).
- Type of immigration case. The complexity is one factor that will influence what an immigration attorney may charge. Because there are so many processes involved, it takes time and expertise.
Question #3: Can you provide references from past clients?
Past clients can provide insights into the lawyer’s abilities. When asking for references, you may want to consider the following questions:
- How satisfied were you with the lawyer’s representation?
- Did the lawyer keep you informed about the status of your case?
- Was the lawyer responsive to your questions and concerns?
- Was the lawyer able to achieve the desired outcome in your case?
Question #4: What is your success rate?
It’s natural for clients to be curious about success rates. That’s why it’s good for any potential lawyer to provide this information upfront. Keep in mind that different immigration attorneys have different areas of expertise.
However, even if their success rate isn’t 100%, it doesn’t mean that they won’t be able to provide excellent representation for your particular case. You just make sure you feel comfortable with them before deciding either way.
Question #5: Do you keep up with changes in immigration law?
Immigration laws and regulations can frequently change, so an immigration lawyer needs to stay informed about these changes. This is to provide their clients with the most accurate and up-to-date advice. Plus, this can help ensure to provide the best possible representation for your case.
Question #6: How long is my case likely to take?
When you’re pursuing an immigration case, know how long it will take to resolve. Unfortunately, the answer is not straightforward.
The timeline of your immigration case depends on multiple factors. Some applications can take several months—or even years—to process. Fortunately, there are steps to take to speed up your immigration case timeline.
Here are tips to help make sure your application is processed as quickly as possible:
- Make sure all required documentation is provided in full.
- Make sure you include all forms and supporting evidence as requested by the local office.
- Double-check all paperwork.
- Stay organized.
- Be proactive about communications.
Question #7: How do you handle emergencies or time-sensitive issues?
Emergencies or time-sensitive issues can arise at any time in an immigration case. That’s why it’s important to have a lawyer who is able to respond effectively to these situations.
Here are ways that an immigration lawyer might handle these issues:
- Responding promptly to phone calls or emails
- Filing emergency motions or requests for expedited processing
- Coordinating with other professionals to ensure that deadlines are met
Question #8: Do you have any specialized training or accreditations in immigration law?
Immigration law covers complex and specialized cases. That’s why it’s important to choose a lawyer who has the knowledge and skills to handle your case effectively.
Some specialized training or accreditations that an immigration lawyer may have include:
- A degree from an accredited law school
- Bar admission in the state where they practice law
- Membership in a professional organization, such as the American Immigration Lawyers Association (AILA)
Working with an experienced lawyer is the key to achieving a successful outcome. Now that you know the top 8 questions, you are one step closer to finding the right one.
Remember, engaging legal services is a great decision and should not be taken lightly. Investing in a high-quality professional can be a difference in your case’s success.