“How Much Do You Charge For
You’re here to find out my attorney fees.
You’re probably thinking about calling me to ask something like, “What do you charge to help my husband get a green card?”
Or “How much will it cost to fight my father’s deportation case at immigration court?”
I understand your concerns.
But let’s slow down for a moment.
You’re jumping the gun.
Even though all clients worry about how much legal help will cost, I don’t think this is the best way to start your case.
Instead, I feel the first question you should ask is, “What do I need to do for me, my family, and children to live together legally in the United States?”
In my view, far too many people make their immigration hiring decisions based on what it’s going to cost.
Sometimes, that may be the right criteria. Most of the time, it’s not.
The problem is you don’t know what you don’t know.
You don’t know what it is going to take to win your or your family member’s case.
You may have heard a family member, personal friend, or work colleague say, “My immigration case was like yours, and this is what we did.”
Unfortunately, they’re wrong.
No two cases are exactly alike.
Maybe they had the same general type of case. For instance, your friend’s sister was also picked up by ICE and placed in removal proceedings.
They do not have the same set of facts. Are the entry dates the same? Is the history of arrests and convictions the same? Is the history of work the same?
Is your family situation the same? How about community ties?
Of course not.
And every small difference, although it may seem insignificant, can lead to a potentially major distinction between the two cases.
If you’re going to make your hiring decision solely based on cost, you’re acting like the work of all lawyers is the same from attorney to attorney.
Yet, deep inside, you know Lawyer A is not the same as Lawyer B, and Lawyer B is not the same as Lawyer C.
If you’re going to make your hiring decision solely based on cost, you may also be looking at paralegal services, fill-out-the-form centers, or do it yourself guides.
As I noted earlier, sometimes this approach will work.
Be aware, however, going in this direction has a major shortcoming.
If tragedy strikes, it’s your family who is left alone holding the bag.
Informational errors, factual mistakes, and legal misinterpretations are not uncommon problems which arise in such situations.
Often, these lead to denied applications. In some cases, you can reapply. But you have to pay the full fees and begin the waiting period over again.
Other times, rejections can cause you or your family member to be referred to immigration court to face removal charges.
When you hire me, you are not paying just for document preparation.
You’re hiring me for my guidance through the immigration process, whether you’re seeking permanent residence or citizenship, or fighting deportation or an appeal.
My role is to be there, doing my best, when the chips are down.
When you hire me, you aren’t renting my time. You’re renting my brain and my heart.
You’re renting my commitment and compassion.
You’re hiring an ally who will do his utmost to help you and your family get your immigration situation in order, despite the less-than-friendly nature of many immigration law provisions.
So when you call me and ask how much for my services, I can’t give you an answer.
I do not have the faintest clue what you really need done to protect you and your family.
Maybe a particular strategy will work, maybe it won’t.
Imagine, for a moment, this scenario. Let’s say I tell you how much a particular course of action will cost. Then you come into my office a few days later. I find out much more about your circumstances, and I tell you that strategy won’t work. Plus, my services will cost more than the fee we discussed.
I doubt you’ll be happy with me.
If you want an immigration attorney with integrity, don’t ask me to quote you arbitrary fees for wild goose assumptions.
In other words, if you call my office and ask for a price, I won’t answer your question.
I charge for advice, guidance, counsel, and support. I cannot determine this amount until we have a full-fledged consultation.
I refuse to take a cookie-cutter approach to helping you and your family.
At our meeting, I will explore the ins and outs of your case, and provide you with my opinion about the obstacles you might face. I will explain potential courses of action But when it comes to deciding what steps to take, you and I will reach that conclusion together.
One more point. I cannot guarantee the final result. No attorney can.
I will not make false promises. If I cannot help you, I will let you know right at the start.
Once I accept your case, it’s based on my belief that I can make a difference in helping you and your family reach your immigration goals.
You will feel heard, cared about, informed, educated, and empowered to make the best decisions for yourself and those who matter most in your life.
That I can and do promise.
To Your Immigration Success!