What to Expect From a Meeting With an Immigration Attorney
If you're considering immigrating to the United States, you may want to talk to an immigration attorney, but what happens when you make the call? This guide explains what you can expect from a consultation with an immigration attorney.What Happens During a Consultation With an Immigration Attorney?
Either by phone or in person during your consultation, you have the opportunity to ask an attorney questions – but how does it all work? The following sections outline what you can expect.Your Opportunity to Ask About… Anything
You can use the time during your consultation with an immigration attorney to get information about U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) processes, to ask how your case is likely to turn out, or to find out about the attorney’s fees, communication style and processes for sharing information. Most consultations only last a set period of time, but if you’re efficient with your questions, you’ll be able to get a good feel for whether the attorney you’re speaking with is a good fit for you.
Remember, too, that during your consultation, the attorney is gauging whether they can actually help you. A good attorney won’t take an impossible case or say that they can help you with something that they really can’t help you with; instead, they’ll let you know what you need to do to get a favorable outcome or tell you that you may be out of luck.
When you’re talking to an immigration attorney, here are five questions you should ask:
- Have you handled cases like mine in the past? Usually, it pays to work with an attorney who has at least some experience in cases like yours. That saves you and your attorney time and effort. And though there's no way to predict the outcome of a case, many people are more comfortable working with an attorney who has the experience necessary to get them the best possible outcome.
- What do you think about the outcome of my case? No attorney can predict the outcome of a case (and if you find one who guarantees a particular outcome, you should look for a different lawyer), but a good lawyer can tell you how they think your case is likely to pan out.
- Do you practice other types of law? Some attorneys practice all kinds of law, ranging from criminal defense and personal injury to divorce and wills. However, sometimes it's best to work with an attorney who only practices immigration law. That's because United States immigration law can be complicated and confusing, and because immigration law is always subject to change at the federal level. When you work with an attorney who only practices immigration law, you may find that they have a better grasp on the most current status of immigration in the United States.
- How much are your fees, and how do I pay them? Many attorneys charge a retainer fee up-front; then, they charge an hourly rate after that. Usually, an attorney’s retainer fee amounts to the hourly rate for the amount of time the lawyer believes it will take to complete your case. If the case takes less time, the attorney will return the remainder of your payment. If the case takes more time, the attorney will bill you an hourly rate.
- Do you have time for my case? Many attorneys are very busy, so it makes sense to ask whether an attorney you're interested in working with actually has time to work on your case. That's true whether it's a simple, straightforward case or it's more complicated in nature.
Related: Immigration and vaccine requirementsWill an Attorney Give You Legal Advice About Immigration?
During your consultation, you may ask the attorney you're speaking with for legal advice. Many attorneys are happy to share their knowledge, even if you don't end up working together. However, if you want the attorney to assist you with your case after your consultation, you'll need to retain them; that is, you need to pay their retainer fee and officially hire them.Do You Need a Consultation With an Immigration Attorney?
If you're ready to schedule a consultation with an immigration attorney, call our office. We'll be happy to set up a time that works for you when we can answer your questions and get you moving in the right direction.