Hiring an attorney can be an intimidating, confusing, and even frustrating process. Before hiring an attorney, it is important to do your homework. Find out as much as you can about an attorney before signing a contract. Some questions to ask an immigration attorney at the initial consultation include:
- How long have you been practicing law?
- In what state(s) are you licensed to practice law?
- What percentage of your clients are immigration cases?
- Are you a member of the American Immigration Lawyers Association?
- How often have you handled immigration matters like my case?
- What is the range of possible outcomes in my case from best to worst?
- What will be your fees and how will you charge me?
- Who in your office will work on my case?
- How do I communicate with your office? What is your policy for returning calls and e-mails?
Below are some resources to assist you in the hiring process:
Colorado Supreme Court – The Colorado Supreme Court regulates attorneys in the State of Colorado. You can go to the Court's website to check to see if an attorney is registered in the State of Colorado and to view an attorney's disciplinary history, if any.
The Colorado Supreme Court also provides valuable information about the use of "notarios" for immigration matters – see:
American Immigration Lawyers Association (AILA) – AILA is the national association of over 11,000 attorneys and law professors who practice and teach immigration law. AILA Member attorneys represent U.S. families seeking permanent residence for close family members, as well as U.S. businesses seeking talent from the global marketplace. AILA Members also represent foreign students, entertainers, athletes, and asylum seekers, often on a pro bono basis. Founded in 1946, AILA is a nonpartisan, not-for-profit organization that provides continuing legal education, information, professional services, and expertise through its 36 chapters and over 50 national committees. AILA provides a number of resources for hiring an immigration attorney:
American Bar Association (ABA) – The ABA is the largest voluntary professional association in the world. With more than 400,000 members, the ABA provides law school accreditation, continuing legal education, information about the law, programs to assist lawyers and judges in their work, and initiatives to improve the legal system for the public. The ABA provides a link on its website to resources for selecting a lawyer
Attorney Rating Websites – Many organizations evaluate and rate attorneys in the United States. Their methodologies differ and their listings sometimes depend on a lawyer paying fees to be included. The following websites all require some form of peer and/or client endorsement to determine attorney ratings: Martindale-Hubbell http://www.martindale.com/; Best Lawyers http://www.bestlawyers.com/; Super Lawyers http://www.superlawyers.com/; and Avvo.com http://www.avvo.com/