One question relates to the length of time that the prospective attorney has been a licensed attorney with a practice focused on Immigration and nationality law.
It is essential that the attorney you retain focuses his or her Immigration and nationality law. You wouldn’t choose a dentist for to treat a broken arm. You want to use the services of a professional who has experience with the types of issues presented in your case. Also, the period of time during which the attorney has been in practice will inform you about their experience. You want your attorney to have substantial experience.
Another question pertains to the number of cases the prospective attorney has handled that involve your particular type of immigration matter.
If your attorney has handled cases similar to your case in the past, he or she will know the most effective approaches, as well as the common errors and pitfalls. There are certain processes that can only be learned from experience. Attorneys who frequently appear in Immigration Court and before Citizenship and Immigration Services are familiar with formal and informal rules that can lead to successful outcomes. If you want to be represented by a seasoned immigration practitioner, it is best to retain an experienced attorney.
In addition, you should ask if the prospective attorney personally handles the immigration cases of clients who retain his or her law firm.
Some attorneys will meet you for a consultation, take your retainer, and then hand off your case to a younger associate or a paralegal. While it is true that some law firm staff members are experienced and may handle your case well, they may be less likely to provide you with quality representation. When an attorney handles your case from beginning to end, he or she will be intimately familiar with you and your case. He or she will keep abreast of and all important developments. Cohesive representation is best achieved if one attorney handles your case from beginning to end.
You should also ask your prospective attorney what if any charge is required for the initial consultation.
Some attorneys charge a fee for their initial consultation, and the fee may vary from a nominal fee to a substantial amount. It is a good idea to inquire whether the fee required for the initial consultation would be included in the retainer if you chose to use the attorney’s services. Some attorneys offer free consultations. You should be clear about of the attorney’s policy regarding consultation fees prior to arriving for your appointment.
In addition, you should ask your prospective attorney about his or her billing structure.
Attorneys charge varying fees for the services they provide. The fee you are charged will be determined by the nature of your case, the type of representation you require and perhaps your geographic location. For example, clients in removal proceedings are often charged a substantial fee because they are likely to require several filings and court appearances. Many attorneys will permit you to pay your fee incrementally. It is important for you to be made aware of the billing structure at the time of your consultation.
You should also ask the attorney if he or she charges for additional court appearances that may be unforeseen at the time of the consultation.
Immigration Judges often schedule several Court appearances before the completion of a case. Some attorneys charge additional fees for each Court appearance, which can lead to substantially higher fees than you originally expected. You should be made aware of these additional fees, and they should be disclosed on the retainer agreement.