Seven Tips to Choose an Immigration Law Firm
Although it can be difficult to find the right law firm to represent your interests, you should not let that stop you from doing so. How do you get started? What are some factors you should consider? How do you know if a Immigration Law Firm company is high-quality?
The following seven objective criteria can help you choose which law firm to retain. While we are confident that American Visa Law Group will be a great choice, it is your responsibility to ensure that you make an informed decision.
1) Go to the Reviews
You should first check for quality and not quantity. It is important to check if reviews are mostly from individuals who had only a consultation, or have very little casework done. Although you may find reviews that say they are the “best immigration lawyer in California,” it’s not uncommon to see them stating things like this. However, if the case was a sibling petition or something similar, the review might not be very helpful. If the reviewer can provide an explanation of why they took on a case that was rejected by another firm or abandoned due to its complexity, you should search for such reviews. These reviews are a good indicator for obvious reasons. Five positive reviews of high quality are more valuable than fifty reviews of low quality. We encourage you look at the reviews we have received on a range of platforms including Yelp, Google and Avvo. Our rating on these platforms has earned us the distinction as having the highest average rating among all Northern California firms with at least 40 reviews.
After about a decade, an attorney may reach a level of proficiency that allows them to be considered an authority in the field. You may be concerned if the lead attorney of the firm has less experience than a decade. If this happens, it is possible to ask whether the firm is set up to avoid making mistakes that could endanger your case. American Visa Law Group founder has over a dozen years experience and more than a ten-year leadership history in immigration law. This experience will ensure that cases are handled professionally.
3) Type of Experience
You can break down immigration law practice into the following sub-specialties. You can see that immigration law is complex and it is hard to master all sub-specialties. Our firm focuses on miscellaneous work in immigration (family sponsorship, inadmissibility waivers, affirmative asylum, VAWA, visa, etc.). You can also apply for employment-based immigration. We refer clients to us for circuit court appeals, deportation defense and crimmigration (where more complex criminal law issues are needed to avoid removal, or inadmissibility). Avoid immigration firms that handle all types of immigration cases. It is an indication of being a “jack of all trades” and a lack any core competency. You could be at risk of not receiving effective counsel.
You must understand that quality comes at an expense. You should not be charged an unreasonable rate for legal services. Our website lists the American Visa Law Group’s fees prominently for your reference. While the rates may not be amongst your lowest, they are quite affordable compared with reputable firms that have experienced lawyers. You should also be aware that there are some firms that charge clients far more than usual. Our rates are determined by market research and the overhead costs we can reasonably incur. Although we cannot guarantee fair rates, we recommend that you get quotes from other firms that seem to meet the criteria. You should not be a shady prospective client.
5) Languages and Culture
One of the most common mistakes that clients making in immigration is choosing an attorney because their firm has an attorney who speaks the language they prefer to speak. If you don’t have an interpreter, or if your firm doesn’t have someone who speaks your language, it can become a problem. However, in most cases this is not the case. Although it is understandable to feel more at ease communicating in your native tongue than English, it should not be overemphasized.
6) Firm Morale
This might be the most overlooked aspect, but it is worth asking former employees what their opinions are about the company. Sometimes, this information is not available. However, it can help you get a better idea of the way your case will proceed. Invariably, a firm with high turnover and mistreated employees will show in its quality of work. Glassdoor has a lot of employee reviews. Glassdoor reviews can be viewed by employees. However, it is important to note that positive reviews of current employees are less likely to be written under coercion and might not reflect the true situation.
7) Firm Structure
Do you have a small solo practice or are there many lawyers? There will be a sweet spot somewhere in the middle. One attorney is not enough to provide a comprehensive view of your case. Even though an experienced attorney may be able to benefit from the assistance of at least one additional attorney in the firm, even if they are highly skilled. If there is only one attorney in a firm and the rest are paralegals/legal assistants, the attorney might be more stressed by having too many responsibilities. A large firm may have dozens of lawyers. This is where the drawback lies. Larger firms lack the personal touch you would get from smaller firms. It is possible that you will feel that you are just another number. A small, established immigration firm that has a large group of lawyers and other professionals working together to provide top-quality service for their clients is the “goldilocks” zone. This type of firm will give you the best chance to receive personal attention, as well as low risks of error and improper case strategy.
Trustworthy legal help
You can find low- or free-cost legal advice from organizations that help immigrants. These legal aid organisations are partly funded by the State Bar of
You can use a lawyer referral agency to locate an attorney in the area. Many services can be provided in several languages.
This list contains a listing of California rapid response lines that can be contacted immediately if you are subject to an immigration raid. (Source: OneJustice)
It doesn’t really matter if an attorney is hired or not, but it is important to understand your rights and how to protect them.
Problems with lawyer’s fees
Your lawyer can help you resolve a problem
You can avoid fraud by consulting an immigration or notario.
Pamphle: Have you been a victim of Notario Fraud and Nonattorney Fraud in Pamphle? Spanish
You can check the State Bar for a license as a lawyer.
Check out the State Bar’s list for people who recently received cease and desist notifications. This warns non-attorneys that they may be violating the law.
Learn more about immigration experts
A State Bar complaint
If you are suspicious of someone promising to provide immigration legal services but suspect that they may be acting in bad faith or not licensed attorneys, you can file a complaint at the State Bar. A complaint is free and you do not need to be a U.S. citizen in order to file one. The State Bar will not request or keep track of your citizenship status.
The State Bar investigates allegations of misconduct against California attorneys as well complaints against Californian nonattorneys practicing law without a licence (also known under the UPL).
1) Make a complaint about attorney misconduct
2) Make a nonattorney unauthorized use of law (UPL), complaint
Additional websites available to assist immigrants
Immigration Resource Directory: Multilingual immigration resource guide from the California Courts. En Espanol: Recursos de inmigracion.
LawHelpCA.org is an online legal resource that provides information on a range of legal issues faced by immigrants.
Publications of the Office of Immigrant Assistance: California’s Office of the Attorney General has information, including “Immigration Services Fraud”: Know Your Rights! English, Chinese Korean, Spanish and Tagalog.
California ImmigrantGuide: Updates. Multilingual information and updates on the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals. Also, where to find legal assistance.
California Rural Legal Assistance Services and programs available to low-income residents of rural areas, including immigrants.
Coalition for Humane Immigrant Rights CHIRLA: Information for immigrant with questions in English, Spanish and Korean.
Los Angeles County Office of immigrant Affairs: Multilingual Information on how to recognize fraud, consumer right and where to file a complaint about legal fraud
California Department of Social Services provides funding for organizations that offer legal advice and information to immigrants.
Federal Trade Commission (FTC), multilingual information for immigrants on how to avoid frauds.
American Immigration Lawyers Association created a Stop Notario Fraud campaign. It included a list listing state immigration laws, state groups that discipline lawyers, federal immigration laws and resources, as well as various state laws governing the unauthorized practice of law.
American Bar Association created training materials, case law and other resources as part of the Fight Notario Fraud campaign. Lucha contra el Fraude Notarial, the Spanish-language information is also available.
U.S. Brochures and posters for Citizenship and Immigration Services in 25 languages. They cover immigration topics and how to avoid scams.