By Isaul Verdin, Esq.
February 16, 2016
The process of selecting an immigration lawyer to represent you can be a daunting task. As you consider which lawyer to hire it is critical that you interview at least three candidates to allow you a sufficient pool to compare and subsequently make a well-informed decision. When interviewing immigration lawyers you should consider the following factors: experience; personality; and the lawyer’s network.
Given that immigration law is such a dynamic area of the law you need to consider the lawyer’s technical expertise and years of experience. Although not a prerequisite to practice immigration law, those lawyers who have obtained board certification have a well-documented history of technical expertise. Board certified lawyers have accumulated many years of legal specific knowledge and have passed rigorous examination to acquire such certification. Thus, when possible, it is recommended that you select a board certified lawyer with many years of practical experience.
Not every experienced lawyer will match your personality. There are some lawyers that have adopted client-focused approaches in their practice management style. This approach enhances communication between the client and the lawyer. Oftentimes, the client-focused approach enhances the connection with the client, which is based on empathy to accomplish common goals. On the other hand, some lawyers may have deep experience, but their management styles do not lend themselves to a high-level of client engagement. The difference in styles can be attributed to differences in lawyer personality. However, every client has different needs and personality traits, so it is important to consider this dynamic when deciding who will represent you.
The Lawyer’s Network
Many times, clients do not consider the lawyer’s network in their decision-making process. This is a mistake. Because legal objectives in the immigration law field involve dealing with outside government agencies, it is crucial for the client to evaluate the extent of the lawyer’s network. Immigration lawyers need to build professional relationships with Immigration Enforcement Officers, Adjudicators, Court Staff, and Immigration Judges. Therefore, it is important for the client to inquire about the lawyer’s depth of working relationships with such agencies. An established immigration lawyer will have developed strong working relationships and credibility with outside agencies and should be able to leverage those relationships for the client’s best interests. This will allow for maximum efficiency and capacity to accomplish the legal objective.