Questions to Ask an Immigration Lawyer Before You Hire
How to Choose an Immigration Lawyer: Questions to ask
The immigration lawyer or immigration consultant you choose to hire will have an big effect on the success of your immigration application. When deciding whom to hire, ask them these five questions to know if they are the right immigration lawyer for you and your case. Of course there are no guarantees that you will make the right choice. But this is a start.
5 Questions to Ask an Immigration Lawyer Before You Hire Them
How will you approach my case?
A good immigration lawyer should be able to explain what will be involved in your case in plain language that you can easily understand, and not make the process seem unnecessarily complicated or bewildering. A clear action plan should be easy for the immigration lawyer to discuss with you.
How often will you update me?
Some immigration applications and cases can take months to years to resolve or complete. Much of the immigration process is taken up by waiting: waiting for documents to be received, waiting for documents to be processed, waiting for hearings or waiting for appeals to go through. However, your immigration lawyer should not disappear during this time and should be ready to keep you updated on the progress but how frequently he or she does so may depend on your individual case.
How much will this cost?
While not everyone is comfortable discussing money, in the end you are paying for a service and immigration lawyer should not be hesitant or vague when discussing the fees for their services. Get a clear idea of how much the immigration lawyer’s services will cost – surprise and hidden extra costs are not something that should be a part of this transaction. Don’t hesitate to ask multiple immigration lawyers about their rates to see what the general average fees you should be paying are.
What are your qualifications and experience?
Not everyone with a law degree is qualified to handle your case, nor is everyone who is offering immigration consulting services. For example, an immigration lawyer will be able to offer you legal advice and represent you in Federal court, while an immigration consultant is restricted in certain ways. An immigration lawyer has gone to law school and is regulated by the their local Bar, while an immigration consultant does not require to have graduated from university let alone law school. This is not to say, that there are not good consultants. However, be aware that there are different educational standards.
Who will represent me?
Just because you see a television commercial with a certain lawyer in it or recognize a lawyer from billboards across the city doesn’t mean they will be the one representing you. In a large law firm, there are likely many different lawyers who could be taking your case and you are free to ask the lawyer representing you if they are just as qualified as the one from tv.
About Michael Niren
Michael is a graduate of Osgoode Hall Law School in Toronto. He is a member of the Law Society of Upper Canada, the Canadian Bar Association’s Citizenship and Immigration Section and the Associate Member of the American Bar Association. Read more
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