The search for an immigration lawyer can be a daunting task, as the person you choose to work with will be largely responsible for the direction of your case. However, there are some basic questions you should ask a potential lawyer during your search, and in today’s blog we will discuss five important ones for determining who you should work with.
“What Is Your Past Experience?”
A lawyer’s expertise can significantly impact both the outcome and efficiency of your case. You want someone who has an in-depth knowledge of the immigration court system, both at the state level and especially at the federal level. Ideally, this means a lawyer with several years of experience and particularly one who has experience specifically in immigration law. You want to be sure to ask them how much of their practice is dedicated to immigration law so you can effectively gauge their immigration law experience, not only their general legal experience. Further, since every immigration case is unique, you want someone who has the specific immigration law experience needed to act quickly and think rationally to adapt to the circumstances of your situation.
You should also always ask a potential lawyer how they can help you. While this is a fairly broad question, the purpose is to see how they will respond to such an open inquiry and can give you a sense of how well the lawyer can think on their feet and whether they can be eloquent under pressure – which is critical for immigration lawyers, as their role in court is to defend you and convince the judge that you are where you belong. When you choose an immigration lawyer to represent you, you’re picking one who will be able to clearly and compellingly explain your circumstances to a judge.
“Have You Handled Cases Like Mine Before?”
Experienced immigration lawyers should likely have handled cases like yours before. Asking about the lawyer’s track record is a reasonable and often expected request. When faced with this question, the lawyer should be able to describe the circumstances and strategy they used in a similar case to achieve a favorable result and explain how that same approach might work for you. Of course, keep in mind that their answer in the initial consultation might be fairly general, as the lawyer will need time to evaluate the facts of your case to develop a more specific strategy. However, a confident attorney will nonetheless be happy to tell you about successful outcomes of their cases, whether you’re asking about immigration bond hearings, deportation, family petitions, naturalization and citizenship, DACA, or airport arrests. In some situations, you might also find it useful to ask for references from past clients with similar cases.
“How Will We Communicate?”
Communication is critical in the litigation process, as you should know the status of your case throughout the proceedings with every new step your attorney takes. In your initial consultation, you should ask when the lawyer is available to speak with their clients. There are situations that your lawyer should always be present for, such as if police investigate your residence or question you. Your attorney should be in reach at times when you need their representation throughout the course of your case.
You ideally want to find an immigration lawyer who will be staying in touch with you directly, either through email or phone (call and text message). You should work with an attorney who will be able to give your case the full attention it needs. For instance, at Hubbs Law, P.A., our attorneys make our clients our top priority, and we treat our clients like family. In your initial consultation, you should feel free to ask us about our transparent and detail-oriented approach to every immigration case.
Further, in immigration cases it might also be useful to ask about bilingual services if you speak a language other than English and would like comprehensive communication in your native language. Hubbs Law, P.A. offers full services in Spanish at your convenience, and we can communicate with you in Spanish throughout your case.
“What Will the Timeline Look Like?”
Whether you are facing a case of deportation or seeking U.S. naturalization, the legal process can be long and complicated, so you want to be as prepared as possible for the journey ahead. By asking for a general timeline of how long the attorney anticipates your case will take, you can get a better sense of the elements involved, as well as a rough set of milestones you and your attorney can work with. While an immigration lawyer won’t be able to give you exact dates upfront, they should be able to provide you with a general idea based on either their past experience or general protocol in immigration cases.
Be aware that preparing an immigration case can take months or even years depending on your situation, and it may need to undergo the process again after presenting it to a judge. There are several steps you need to take for your case, and you should ask what they are before you dive into them for an indefinite amount of time with your lawyer.
“What Are Your Fees?”
Perhaps the most specific question you should be asking a potential lawyer is how much they charge for their services. Rates will vary based on the complexity of your case and where you live. Some questions related to fees you might want to ask are:
- what kind of retainer fee you’ll need to pay;
- how much the attorney charges per hour; and
- how often the attorney will bill you.
Note that while it may be tempting to go for the cheapest option, you get what you pay for when it comes to legal representation. Evaluating the potential lawyer holistically in relation to their fees will be an effective way to decide on who you end up working with on your case.
Speak With Our Attorneys at Hubbs Law, P.A. Today!
If you are facing an immigration law case, do not hesitate to contact our team at Hubbs Law, P.A. Attorney E.J. Hubbs specializes in immigration law and can answer any of the above questions you might have for in an initial consultation. In immigration cases, your relationship with your attorney will be very important. You can trust that Attorney E.J. Hubbs and Attorney Erika Hubbs will prioritize your case and work thoughtfully and attentively with you.
Contact Hubbs Law, P.A. to schedule your consultation today. Se habla espanol!