The immigration process can be complex and overwhelming when handled without a lawyer. It is highly recommended that you partner with a qualified and experienced immigration lawyer to help you navigate the process. It ensures that you begin the process on the right foot and avoid making errors that will set your application back.
If you are choosing an immigration law office in Chicago, IL, this blog post is for you. Here, we will highlight 8 practical tips to help you when hiring a lawyer for your immigration case.
This includes getting a trusted referral, considering their experience, confirming their credentials, and more. Let’s get started.
1. Get a Trusted Referral
One of the best ways to start when looking for an immigration law office is to speak to friends, relatives, and colleagues. If you know any people who have previously gone through this process, it’s likely they will be able to suggest a suitable immigration office.
Through this method, you may be able to gather several different options. From there, you can look for online reviews to learn more about the strengths and weaknesses of each immigration law office based on the opinions of former clients. It is easy to find reviews on websites, social media, and Google search results.
2. Schedule an Initial Consultation
When you have a shortlist of recommended immigration law offices, it’s beneficial to schedule initial consultations and meet the lawyers in person or over the phone.
During this consultation, you should ask about their experience (specifically within the context of your individual case), credentials, and expertise. Generally during the initial consultation, particularly if the meeting occurs in person, you will be able to get a feeling about the ability of the immigration lawyer and envision whether or not you could work with them.
3. Ask for References
During this initial consultation, if you get an uneasy feeling about the lawyer’s experience or competence, you may choose to ask for a list of references. These are past clients who you can speak to about their own experiences of working with a particular immigration law office.
By speaking to these people, you may be able to ease your concerns, and ask relevant questions about their abilities and the legal process. Importantly, there will be many highly competent attorneys who prefer to stand on their overall reputation – including by way of social media and reviews – and who will be reluctant to provide references out of respect for client privacy.
4. Avoid Hiring a General Practitioner
We recommend that you hire a specialized immigration lawyer, one who has experience in dealing with immigration cases. These include cases to do with naturalization, green cards, separation defense, family immigration, visas, business immigration, and appeals.
A general practitioner may lack the in-depth knowledge required to help you with your case. Given that immigration law is ever-changing, it is beneficial to partner with a lawyer who knows the field inside and out, and is up-to-date on the latest developments.
5. Look for an Online Presence
It’s 2023, so every reputable business should have a strong online presence. This includes an up-to-date website full of relevant information and details about their experience, staff, and more. You should also pay attention to their social media platforms.
In particular, it is recommended that you check out the immigration law office’s blog section on their website. A strong blog section shows that a company is a thought leader within their field and should give you confidence that they are knowledgeable and passionate about their work.
6. Confirm Their Credentials
It’s important when searching for a potential attorney to represent you in your case that they are the real deal. You should take the time to find out what their credentials are. A good starting point for this is to check the immigration law office’s website and by speaking to them directly about their credentials.
We also recommend that you contact the local state bar and find out if they have had any malpractice suits or complaints in the past. When looking for a reputable immigration lawyer, the AILA (American Immigration Lawyers Association) website is useful.
7. Understand the Cost
Before hiring an immigration lawyer, it is important that you fully understand exactly what you will be paying for. Take time to determine how much the lawyer’s services will cost you and if their fee is commensurate with their experience and practice focus.
Figure out how much you will need to pay upfront to retain the lawyer and their overall fee. Also, find out how often the lawyer will bill you and how long you will have to pay the lawyer.
8. Get Terms in Writing
A written memorialization provides you with the necessary details regarding services promised when partnering with an immigration law office. This written agreement should be specific about services the lawyer and law firm are providing, when these services will be provided and when payments will be required. This will help protect you from lawyers who over-promise and under-deliver.
Tips for Choosing an Immigration Law Office in Chicago, IL
The bottom line is that you should find an immigration lawyer that you have trust in to properly represent you and your case. The above tips will help you to find an experienced and qualified immigration lawyer.
For the firm many consider to be the best immigration law office in Chicago, IL, choose The Immigration Law Office of Richard Hanus. We have more than 25 years of experience providing immigration law representation and counsel to a varied spectrum of clientele.
For a consultation, call us at (312) 357-0033 or click here to fill out our consultation request form. We look forward to speaking with you.