This may very well be the most common question we hear. Of course, the expected, self-interested answer from a traditional attorney would likely be “Yes, of course you do, since immigration law is complicated, and even a minor mistake can have drastic consequences.” Well, since we are not a traditional law firm, we know we can do better than that.
The better answer is, “It depends.” U.S. immigration law can be rather complex, but not every case has to be. We often compare immigration filings to taxes: many people’s circumstances are straightforward enough that they can handle the preparation and filing themselves; others find themselves in much more involved situations, and thus benefit from professional assistance. In the more straightforward cases, we encourage people to handle their own filings and save on legal fees. Some people may have uncomplicated cases, but simply prefer to hire a competent professional to attend to all of the details. In those instances, we’re more than happy to help.
However, most of our client base comes from a third category, which involves those cases which present more advanced, complex, and thus potentially more entangled legal issues. These cases may include individuals with a criminal record (or any past police contact); clients with prior marriages; clients with tax issues; people who might have used a different name; clients who have overstayed their visas; businesses seeking specific and technically-demanding visas for foreign employees. The list goes on.
Also, prospective clients should know that there are cases where even the best immigration lawyer cannot likely help them achieve their desired aims. We often hear from potential clients that another lawyer has “promised” that for a certain fee, everything will be resolved successfully. Those are completely empty promises, designed to prey upon vulnerable people seeking to cling to some measure of hope. It’s not surprising that none of those lawyers will ever issue a written guarantee. Our philosophy is to be extremely realistic in our case assessments, communicate that assessment clearly, and ensure that clients make completely informed decisions. We tend to have a high overall success rate because we screen our cases carefully, and turn down accept cases when it seems that our clients would be wasting their money. Where removal/deportation is a certainty, and a client and her family wish desperately to pay us to give them hope, we candidly explain that the money they would spend on our fees would be better spent on supporting the person’s resettlement. We wish we could accept every case and guarantee a positive outcome, but that’s not the way immigration law – or the world – works. When it’s all said and done, we want everyone who deals us to know that he or she was treated fairly and honestly.
Please feel free to contact us if you have additional questions. You may not always like the answer, but we promise that we will deal with you openly and honestly.