If you need assistance from an immigration attorney in San Jose regarding your own or a family member’s application for lawful permanent residence, for example, you should make the most of your initial consultation to get as much useful information as possible. There are also a number of questions that you should ask the lawyer to ensure he or she is the right person to handle your case. The experts at Graham Adair recommend asking your immigration the following questions:
What Experience Do You Have?
Not every lawyer specializes in immigration law, and it is a very complex branch of law. It is therefore important to find a lawyer with experience in this area. You will want to make sure that whoever is representing you or your loved one has the skills and knowledge to do so. Immigration law usually encompasses other areas of law too, such as family law and business law, so a lawyer with experience in these areas will also be beneficial.
How Long Do You Expect My Case to Take?
An experienced immigration attorney should be able to provide you with a realistic timeframe by looking at your case. They will know from experience that immigration cases can vary in length from submission to approval, and they should be able to tell if there are any aspects of your case that might cause delays. However, it is important to be aware that your attorney cannot give you an exact time. Some cases can be concluded within months, but others can take many years. Your attorney should also be able to give you an indication of your chances of a successful application.
Will You be Overseeing the Case to Conclusion?
What often happens with cases that can go on for many years is that the lawyer you deal with in the beginning is not the one that sees your case to conclusion. If it is important to you that you are dealing with the same person throughout, you need to make this clear from the beginning and get confirmation that the same lawyer will be your point of contact (provided, of course, that they are still working at the firm).
How Much Will My Case Cost?
It is important to get some indication of the cost of your case. You are likely to be charged a retainer as well as per hour fees. Additionally, there will probably be filing fees added to your bill. These are costs associated with filing your immigration documents with the right government department. Try to get a breakdown of the costs you will be expected to pay over the course of your case. Your attorney might offer you a payment plan that will make it easier for you to finance your case.
How Often Will You be in Contact?
Because immigration cases can take a long time, it is best to establish how and when your lawyer will keep you informed of what is happening. Some lawyers will only get in touch with their clients when they have some news, but not knowing what is happening can be difficult for some clients. You might therefore agree to a quick weekly or monthly call or email to update, even if there is nothing specific to report.
When meeting an immigration lawyer for your first consultation, there is a lot to discuss, and you might easily come away kicking yourself for forgetting to ask about important issues. It would be a good idea to write down everything you want to ask before your meeting. The above are just some suggestions about the most important things to put to your lawyer.