DO I NEED AN IMMIGRATION LAWYER?
“The leading rule for the lawyer - as for the man of every other calling, is diligence. Leave nothing for tomorrow which can be done today.”
- Abraham Lincoln
In short, it is highly recommended. Immigration law seems deceptively easy. However, it is a minefield full of traps for the unwary, and behind every case must emanate a well thought-through strategy. While it is true that almost anyone can fill out forms, immigration law is about so much more than that.
A qualified immigration lawyer will advise you on a host of issues and restrictions on work and travel that foreign nationals may face. Such rules may apply differently to those seeking non-immigrant versus immigrant status and oftentimes even apply to Permanent Residents, also known as “Green Card” holders.
We have had clients who went the “do it yourself” route prior to contacting Maged Rost, and it wasn’t pretty. It is always easier and less expensive for us to help you do things right from the outset than to try to correct mistakes or omissions that will almost inevitably occur when companies or individuals attempt to do it themselves, hire incompetent counsel or consultants who are not authorized to practice law. Seemingly innocent mistakes on submissions to the Department of Labor or the US Citizenship and Immigration Services or Customs and Border Protection can have devastating consequences. If you file immigration forms yourself, you are held to the same standard as if they were filed by an experienced immigration lawyer. The "I didn't know" excuse is not an acceptable reason to have a denial overturned.
Beyond getting an approval - which is the benefit sought - there are posting and record-keeping requirements for employers for many visa categories and when filing applications with the Department of Labor. Great care must be taken to have the complete “Audit Files” and “Public Information Files” in place should the government come knocking.
Factors to Consider When Choosing an Immigration Lawyer
1. DOES THE LAWYER HAVE EXPERIENCE WITH CASES SUCH AS YOURS?
As with any professional, experience counts when selecting an immigration lawyer. Although everyone has to start somewhere, you may not want your immigration case to be handled by a novice just as you would probably not want to be the first open-heart surgery your doctor performs.
On the other hand, you don't want to retain someone who rests on his or her knowledge from past years, you want a lawyer who is regularly updated on immigration developments as this is a fast-changing field of law that requires working with a myriad of federal government agencies. At Maged Rost, we are updated daily on changes to the immigration landscape; our lawyers regularly attend and - most importantly - lecture at Continuing Legal Education seminars for immigration lawyers. Unlike in some less evolving areas of practice, an immigration lawyer who has not kept abreast of changes in the laws for several months may have missed important developments, regulations or interpretations that could help or harm your case.
At Maged Rost, our lawyers have experience:
- Representing large, multinational companies in connection with the temporary employment of professionals and intra-company transferees, the periodic entry of business visitors, and the permanent employment of foreign workers;
- Counseling U.S. employers on all aspects of employment eligibility and verification and related unlawful discrimination practices;
- Representing foreign entrepreneurs in connection with business expansion to the U.S.;
- Representing foreign athletes and entertainers entering the U.S. to pursue professional careers;
- Representing foreign corporations expanding or relocating to the U.S.;
- Advising individual foreign nationals with respect to a wide range of immigration issues, including family-based immigration sponsorship
2. BE WARY OF CHOOSING A LAWYER BASED ON JUST THE FEE
The attorney’s fees, whether high or low, do not always indicate the competence of a lawyer or firm. You may not be able to afford the services of an attorney who charges too high of a fee, in which case you will need to choose another attorney. However, a law office that charges too little may not have the resources necessary to do a great job. Of course, keep in mind that a high fee does not guarantee competence.
At Maged Rost, we charge reasonable, flat fees for most immigration work. There are no hidden fees, no surprises. A Letter of Engagement is signed at the outset of our relationship with each client outlining in detail the terms of our representation and literally all costs involved.
3. SHOULD I INVEST IN AN INITIAL CONSULTATION?
Absolutely! Mutual trust is an essential component of any attorney-client relationship. You will want to ensure that the lawyer you hire for your immigration matter is both competent and trustworthy.
Scheduling an initial consultation of up to thirty minutes with Maged Rost will give the lawyer an opportunity to review your documents and discuss your case with you as well as provide you with the opportunity to ask questions about your matter to determine what our lawyers can assist you with.
The initial consultation is where Maged Rost’s partnership with our clients begins. The strategy and steps for obtaining your goals are discussed and if both parties agree, the start of your journey through the US immigration law maze begins. Sometimes, the end result of an initial consultation is to do nothing at all, and this could prove very valuable: if you make a wrong move in the immigration minefield, you could end up in a worse position than you would by sitting still. As Sir Francis Bacon said in 1597, “knowledge is power”, and this still holds true today. Armed with the knowledge of your legal options, you are in a better position to decide how and even whether to proceed with your matter.
4. DOES THE LAWYER CONCENTRATE IN IMMIGRATION LAW?
Immigration is a complex and ever-changing field of law. Even within the area, there are many sub-concentrations. For example, some attorneys handle exclusively deportation and asylum issues while others may limit their practices to family- and employment-based immigration matters. You want a lawyer who keeps abreast of the changes.
At Maged Rost, we eat, sleep and breathe immigration law, specifically business and family-based immigration. With nineteen years of combined experience, we are very good at what we do, and our clients have come to expect nothing but excellence from our firm. Our lawyers have been honored by legal and nonprofit organizations, have spoken at numerous events and educational seminars, and have written extensively for both lawyers and the general public alike on issues relating to business and family-based immigration. We have a very high rate of success for cases filed by our firm, above 98%. All lawyers are members and hold appointed leadership positions at the American Immigration Lawyers Association (AILA) on the local and/or the national level.
5. WILL THE LAWYER PERSONALLY HANDLE YOUR CASE?
At Maged Rost, a lawyer will be assigned to your case and will personally handle or review the work every step of the way. Each petition, application or response to a government request is reviewed by at least one and at times both partners before it leaves our firm. Although Maged Rost has had hundreds of clients, many say that we make them feel like they are the only one.
6. DOES THE FIRM LEVERAGE TECHNOLOGY?
Your immigration law firm should be technologically advanced.
Maged Rost uses technology that allows both our corporate and individual clients to login through our secure website to review data and check the progress of their cases within the firm 24/7/365. When you become our Client, you will be assigned a User Name and Password that will allow you access our Case Management System. If you are an existing Client and have not yet received or have forgotten your login information, please Contact Us to obtain or retrieve it.
Our technology saves you money: we spend less time and hire less staff to produce the same output, therefore we have less overhead! Finally, we have the capability to e-mail completed forms and other work for client review prior to sending out hard copies for signatures.
We also employ technology to receive regular updates on the law, send and receive PDF files, and to update our firm Blog and this website.