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How do I Pick a Good Immigration Lawyer? What should I Consider When Selecting an Immigration Lawyer?

By November 2, 2015June 14th, 2021Immigration, Questions & Answers

We are often surprised by the number of prospective clients that contact us that have had a horrible experience with their previous immigration counsel. The experiences include incompetence, neglect, apathy, bill padding and even fraud. Given the stakes that are involved when searching for immigration relief, a bad immigration lawyer can be tragic for an applicant. So how do you select a good immigration attorney? Here are a few basic tips that you can consider when deciding to hire an immigration lawyer. A good immigration lawyer or law firm can make the world of difference and it is a good idea to fully evaluate an immigration lawyer before you select him/her.

1. Check to see if the lawyer is actually a lawyer and if the lawyer is in good standing with their bar association.
See our article by clicking here on common immigration Fraud scams. Most Bar associations publicly disclose who is a member of their Bar and also when a lawyer has been sanctioned. As a general rule, if the lawyer had been disciplined by their Bar association, you may want to move to another lawyer. We have had clients where their previous lawyers had significant public reprimands and the clients were not aware. In some cases the lawyer had actually been disbarred but continued to represent him/herself as a lawyer. The so called “Notario” fraud is also rampant.

2. Check to see if the lawyer is a member of American Immigration Lawyers Association (AILA)
AILA is the national association of immigration lawyers that was established to promote justice, the philosophy of fair and reasonable immigration law and policy, advance the quality of immigration law, and enhance the professional development of the members. The group has over 12,000 members and provides regular continuing education training for immigration lawyers. Most immigration lawyers and firms are members of AILA and if the lawyer or law firm is not, this may give you an indication that the firm does not focus primarily on immigration law.

3. Google, Google, Google
You should perform simple google searches on the lawyer and the firm. Use key words including the firm or lawyer’s name combined with, “reviews”, “bad reviews,” “Complaints”, “Testimonials.” You can often find out a significant amount of information from simple Google searches that can help you. You should also consider the lack of an internet presence when deciding on a lawyer. If the lawyer or law firm does not appear on the internet, this may be a sign that they do not have many clients or that the firm is regionally focused.

4. Check the Reviews of the Lawyer and Law Firm and Check whether the Law firm is a Member of the Better Business Bureau
There are many websites that review lawyers and law firms. One prominent review site is called AVVO. You can see the perfect rating based on the reviews for Scott Legal, P.C. here. You can also see reviews on Google, Yelp, and other organizations. You can also check to see if a firm is a member of the Better Business Bureau. The link to their website can be reached by clicking here. You can also search to see if your lawyer has been selected as a Super Lawyer.

5. Ask About Performance and the Immigration Cases the Firm has Worked On
Some lawyers are perfectly happy to take on a case that is not in their area of expertise and use the client as a paying Guinea pig. If you are applying for an E-2 visa for example, ask the lawyer how many E-2 cases that they have worked on and get that in writing. You can also ask how many they have had approved. Immigration is a vast field so be sure to hire a lawyer that has extensive experience in the area that you are looking for.

6. Consider More than Just Price
All we can say here is that you often get what you pay form. Many immigration law lawyers will post fees that are extremely low and we have taken over cases where the client received horrible service and negative outcomes. This is not always the case but something to consider.

7. Go With Your Gut
If something does not feel right, you should listen to your instinct. This has to do with personality but also hard sales jobs. With immigration, some may promise the world when the applicant does not have a remedy. The old saying “If it sounds good to be true, it usually is not good and usually not true” usually applies. Also, if a lawyer is non responsive or I short with you before you actually hire them, you can just imagine what it will be like after they have taken your money. 


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This website and blog constitutes attorney advertising. Do not consider anything in this website or blog legal advice and nothing in this website constitutes an attorney-client relationship being formed. Set up a one-hour consultation with us before acting on anything you read here. Past results are no guarantee of future results and prior results do not imply or predict future results. Each case is different and must be judged on its own merits.


  • Jeff Wilcox says:

    I like the tip that you gave to choose an attorney who has positive online reviews. My wife and I have been talking about finding an attorney to help us if we will ever need them, and it would be important for us to know that we could find one who we could trust in. If we choose to find an attorney, I will be sure to check their reviews beforehand.

  • Melissa says:

    Its a great informative blog….

    My friends husband is looking for file for citizenship but he is not sure that will things work for him or not. So, I advised them to hire an immigration lawyer, who can guide them properly. But again which lawyer will help us and is fully genuine.

    If any one who have been through with the same situation and also consulted some immigration lawyer, then do refer.


  • Sariah says:

    My boyfriend’s mom entered the country as a tourist but is now wishing to change to another visa status to be able to remain here. My mom suggested that he gets immigration services for his mom, but my boyfriend wants to make sure that he gets a good and competent immigration lawyer. I like the idea of asking the lawyer about his performance, the immigration cases he has worked on, and how many he have had approved. We’ll be sure to keep this in mind to ensure that we hire an immigration lawyer that has extensive experience in IR-5 cases. Thanks!

  • Gabriel says:

    Hi there, I want to buy a house in Florida and then to rent it . I am also a qualified air conditionig engineer and I am thinking to open a business in this area….offering installation and maintenance services.Would these businesses come under the E2 visa ?

    • IanScott says:

      Hello and thank you very much for contacting us. We know that the decision to start a business in the U.S. is one that brings many questions to the forefront and we are here to help. This firm was founded on an E-2 visa so we understand much of what you are concerned with. Our goal is to assist you so that you can realize the dream of growing a business in the U.S.. I have attached a link to our E-2 visa brochure below that describes our services and fees and you can see from the brochure that we can also help you with your business plan and your business entity set-up.

      E-2 Visa Brochure

      We would like the opportunity to help you and welcome the chance to set up a one hour consultation with one of our lawyers who regularly processes E-2 visas. This lawyer will be able to answer all of your questions and can give you valuable information so that you can make informed decisions. Our consultations can be arranged based on your convenience and can be done over the telephone, via Skype, or in person.

      Our consultation fee of $250 will be refunded to you if you end up hiring us and I have attached the link to set up a consultation below.

      We hope you decide to give us the opportunity to assist you and please let us know if you would like to set up a consultation.

      Kind regards,

  • Gloria Durst says:

    I like how you say that you would want to look into an immigration lawyer’s online reviews. It would seem that if you check their reviews it would be a good way to ensure that you will hire someone who is qualified. My sister’s husband is trying to get citizenship so before he hires an immigration lawyer he’ll have to check their reviews as you suggest.

  • Georgia B says:

    I love that you say at the end to go with your gut. This really is what ends up mattering in the end. If you don’t feel good about the immigration lawyer you’re communicating with, you probably should keep looking until you find one that you do feel good about!

  • Luke Smith says:

    I loved your advice to go with your gut. I imagine that when choosing an attorney it would be important to know a little about them and get a feel for what sort of person they are. I can’t think of a better way to do that then talking with them in person so you can get that gut feeling. My sister has been thinking of hiring an attorney. I will suggest that she try to meet them in person before making a selection.

  • Sarah Smith says:

    My husband’s family are immigrants and they are running into issues. Thanks for the advice about hiring an immigration lawyer and making sure that they are in good standing with their bar association. Hopefully, we can get all the issues straightened out with the help of a lawyer.

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