Video: When Do You Need To Hire A Lawyer?
WHEN DO YOU NEED TO HIRE
AN IMMIGRATION LAWYER?
In This Video, Carlos Batara Briefly Discusses When And Why
Immigrants Need To Hire An Immigration Lawyer
When I first started practicing law, I felt awkward answering potential clients who asked me, “Do I really need an immigration lawyer?”
Over time, I’ve grown comfortable responding to this inquiry. After all, directly or indirectly, I hear it in 50% of my initial consultations.
My short answer is “Yes and No”.
Ultimately, it depends on whether you understand immigration law good enough to defend yourself. To put it another way, do you know the possible dark spots on the road ahead?
If you do, you don’t need to hire an attorney.
But if you don’t have such knowledge, the already stiff odds of winning are lower.
Losing usually means being deported from the U.S. and separation from your spouse and children for the rest of your life. Why take such risks?
In this situation, it is in your best interests to hire an immigration lawyer.
Sometimes, you may not be sure if you know enough about immigration law to defend yourself.
That’s where this video comes in.
As you watch it, you’ll gain insights about the types of issues which make immigration law cases hard to win. It’s designed to help you decide if you need to hire an immigration lawyer.
Three Options For Immigration Help And Assistance
Let’s start at the beginning.
When you’re facing an immigration problem, you have three choices.
- You can handle your case alone.
- You can get someone other than an attorney to help you.
- You can hire an attorney.
Should I Handle My Case By Myself?
It’s true. Some cases are easier than others.
The run-of-the-mill family visas petition or citizenship application matters, on the average, are not as tough as a deportation defense case at immigration court.
But which cases are run-of-the-mill?
Actually, very, very few.
As I discuss in the video, no two cases are the same. No two immigrants, even if they are brothers or sisters, have the same exact case.
In addition, unless you’re legally trained in immigration law, how can you know which cases are more complex than others?
Do you know the hidden trouble spots to watch out for?
Do you know the ins-and-outs of each line, the real meaning of each question, in permanent residency and naturalization paperwork?
If not, then it is not safe to assume everything will go smooth, even when immigration forms seem straight-forward.
In other words, although rules seem simple, looks can be deceiving.
If your case involves going to immigration court, almost no cases are simple.
The same is true when you’re fighting a negative decision by a judge at immigration court. Or a denial of your petition by an officer from an immigration agency.
Should I Use A Paralegal, Notario, Or Friend To Help Me?
You can get someone other than an attorney to help you. At times, this approach will work.
This group may include a family relative, a church friend, an immigration assistant, a paralegal, or a notario.
If this is your choice, it’s usually based in part on a desire to pay the lowest fees possible for services. In an economy, such as ours, where the cost of living is high, this consideration is understandable.
But fees should not be your only factor. Nor should fees be your primary factor.
More on attorney fees later.
Before you take the non-lawyer road, you should be aware of two problems which can flow from this approach: immigration fraud and professional incompetence.
If you would like to know more about rip offs who try to take advantage of you and your family, click this link to view our immigration video on how to avoid becoming a fraud victim.
In terms of professional incompetence, once again, the issue is really the value of legal training.
Lawyers are under a duty to keep up on changes to the law, and to know how these changes may affect your case.
Your family relatives or church friends have no such obligation.
Moreover, many paralegals, immigration assistants, and notarios who sell forms, provide typing services, or fill out applications have no clue what clients really need.
They often take a cookie cutter approach. They are not trained to assess clients’ unique circumstances or recent changes to the law.
Yet, when it comes to immigration law, one size does not fit all.
In such situations, denial is not uncommon.
Denials can happen even if the person helping you has the best intentions.
I have seen instances where immigrants, assisted by family members who used to work in an immigration office, filed immigration applications – but they were subsequently rejected by the government.
The denials, in some cases, cause immigrants to be sent to immigration court to face deportation charges.
Should I Hire An Attorney?
In the end, this is a personal choice. But you should make it as intelligently as possible.
When you have a case which you cannot handle on your own, and it is above the knowledge level of non-lawyers, hiring an immigration attorney is warranted.
However, even in this situation, many clients hesitate.
Typically, such reluctance is based on two factors. First, how do you know which lawyer can really help you? Second, can you afford that attorney’s fees?
With so many radio, television, newspaper, magazine, and internet ads, it’s hard to know who to hire.
You cannot differentiate most lawyers from each other. Their ads use similar words to describe them. They dress and talk alike. They even promise the same results.
Since they seem so similar, why should the fees from one immigration lawyer to another be different?
Like going to a grocery store, it doesn’t matter what cartoon of milk you buy. They’re all the same. And if all milk is the same, why not buy the cheapest brand?
Under this view, attorneys are commodities. Each one is the same. You’ll get the same results whomever you hire.
Deep inside, you know this is not true.
Consider any group of professionals.
You know there are doctors, and then there are doctors.
You know there are accountants, and then there are accountants
Likewise, you know there are lawyers, and then there are lawyers.
In short, not all lawyers are the same. And often, the right immigration lawyer can make a difference.
Further, fees are not always the best clue about who you should hire.
Some lawyers charge more, some charge less. Some bill by the hour, others use a flat fee structure.
The most expensive lawyer is not always the best for you. The lowest priced attorney is not always the worst choice.
In the end, the answer to the question, “Do I really need an immigration lawyer?” is up to you.
Only you can decide whether to hire a lawyer or not. Only you can choose which attorney to hire.
These decisions are not easy. You should make them as carefully as possible.
After all, your future is on the line.