This article is from the FAQ, by with numerous contributions by others.
The best method is through word of mouth. Ask your friends and
Please treat this as my $0.02 worth on the subject of picking
an immigration lawyer. While there is no hard and fast rule on
determining whether an immigration lawyer is good or not, the
following points would be worthwhile considering in the selection process.
(1) Check to see if the lawyer is a member of the American
Immigration Lawyers Association (AILA) (As a practical matter, merely
being a member of AILA does NOT ensure competence).
(2) Also check if the lawyer holds an important position in the
local or state bar association's immigration committee (Again, not
necessarily a sign of competence, but better than the yellow pages).
(3) Look up the yellow pages of your phone book to obtain the tel#
of free attorney referral services. Call them and ask for an
opinion about the attorney you are considering.
(4) Make sure that there are no restraining orders from the supreme
judicial court that prohibits the attorney from practicing.
(5) Check prior experiences of the attorney with cases similar to that of
yours. In particular, find out if the attorney has been successful
in the past.
(6) Finally, in your first consultation with the lawyer, feel free to
bring up all questions and details pertaining to your case (this
includes legal fees, processing time etc.).
(7) Check with the better business bureau (BBB) in your city about the law
firm of the lawyer you are considering. The BBB maintains a record of
all businesses in a given city and reports to you whether the business
in question has been involved in unfair business practices (over the
past 3 years).
(1)-(7) are issues that must necessarily be considered but are
These are merely guidelines for choosing an immigration attorney.
These are by no means comprehensive. Please feel free to add your
suggestions or comments to the above list.
Q: What is AILA (Am. Imm. Lawyers Assn.)?
The American Immigration Lawyers' Association is a fee-based
organization. ANY LAWYER CAN BECOME ITS MEMEBER.
Therfore, being a member of AILA is NO gurantee of competence.
Let me add, however, AILA is a great source of information and
education. I do think it is difficult to practice good
immigration law without being a member of AILA.