Why Hire An Attorney?

Photo of a green cardSome people wonder why intending immigrants and visa holders should hire attorneys.  The answer is that experienced attorneys are usually aware of how the U.S.C.I.S.  works, many know the law as if it is their favorite novel, and are ‘required by law’ to keep their situation private through attorney-client privilege if they take no action. An attorney should provide both candid and neutral advice in a private setting. A lawyer should act as a representative with confidence, knowledge, experience and resources.  Counselors must keep a client focused upon the goal of eventually obtaining a nonimmigrant or immigrant visa to remain in this country. Immediate family members, ministers and charity workers do not intend to injure applicants, but some may do so accidentally.  A mistake can last a lifetime!

The effort and time spent is within the control of the attorney as well as the client. The amount paid should be directly proportional to the time ‘actually spent’ by the attorney.  At times, both attorneys and clients may not be able to afford each.  This conflict can be based upon how thorough the attorney wants to do his work.  The amount of time spent may also be based both upon an attorney’s current demand and experience. Unfortunately, some attorneys overlook that administrative actions are not consistent and beyond their control.  This will often create a conflict with a client, when clients cannot value an attorney’s time.  Too often, work stops or arguably left for U.S.C.I.S. to finish its responsibility.  Regrettably, flat fees are initially offered to encourage a client’s commitment to pay for an initial filing.  Sometimes, flat fees turn out to be retainers and vice versa.  If an attorney spends too much time with non-paying clients, he may be an excellent counselor, but not always able to return his calls as quickly as some clients anticipate.

The U.S.C.I.S. suffers from Congressional over-legislation and under funding. In this environment, government examiners are often taken advantage of in that not enough overtime is available to complete their work. Regulations cannot be created quick enough to interpret the laws.  Training is often not provided soon enough for quick decisions in now more complicated cases. Sometimes, clients do not immediately disclose incidents that can affect a U.S.C.I.S. decision.

The potential for unexpected administrative delays make it difficult for an ethical attorney to make a truthful commitment of adequate time to a fixed or flat fee. There are no average times for  a standard case in that each immigration matter must stand on its own. Some files are misplaced, some facts confusing, and some names remain in name checks in what seemed like uncomplicated cases.  Often, an initial retainer can prove to be the entire fee, but some so-called uncomplicated cases still get delayed in what seemed like a fixed fee agreement.  Everyone wants a committed attorney.  A candid attorney should always have exceptions to any flat fee agreement; is it a flat fee?  You can be the judge.  Instead, our office works with fee ceilings that may never be reached to eliminate some fear of spiraling legal fees.  This helps to explain some of the “why” or “how much” that callers have about fees.  We charge for an appointment, but may only charge an appointment fee.  Chances are, you will take the process more seriously if you hire an immigration attorney, which likely will result in higher success rates when you follow an experienced legal advice.

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