FAQs (Frequently Asked Questions)
Q: Do I always need a lawyer to handle my immigration case?
A: Many immigration matters are complex enough to require legal assistance. In other cases, the consequences of losing are too severe to risk without experienced legal assistance. However, some matters are routine. Hiring a lawyer is then a matter of preference. In our initial consultation, we can discuss whether hiring a lawyer is appropriate for you, and help you make this decision.
Q: There is plenty of free information available on the Internet. Why do I need a consultation, or to hire a lawyer?
A: A consultation provides you with details and recommendations based on your case. Immigration law is complex, and constantly changing. It cannot be fully comprehended without knowing the structure, context, and history of the law. Generalized information is not a substitute for a detailed analysis of your case by an experienced attorney. When you hire a lawyer, that lawyer will review immigration law and regulations and apply them to your case. Most general advice is based on patterns of experiences, not on any legal analysis. In a field where small differences can make the difference between failure and success, general advice may harm, rather than help.
Q: What does your consultation cover?
A: A typical consultation lasts 1 1/2 hours. One of our qualified paralegal staff will obtain general information from you, discuss the facts of your case, and review of any documents you already have. Mr. Simmons will then meet with you to analyze your case, discuss which legal options are appropriate for you, and review the anticipated cost of your case. By the end of our consultation, you should know what we can do, and how much it should cost.
Q: How much do you charge for a consultation?
A: Our standard consultation fee is $250.00. We credit the cost of the consultation towards our legal fees.
Q: If I don’t live in your area, can I arrange a telephone consultation?
A: We will schedule telephone consultations. In order to schedule a telephone consultation, we require that the consultation fee be deposited in advance.
Q: How does your office bill?
A: Depending on your case, we bill on a flat fee or hourly basis. We will fully explain the terms of our representation before you hire us.
Q: What forms of payment do you accept?
A: We accept payment by cash, money order and check.
Q: Can your office handle my immigration matter, although I live in a different state?
A: Many immigration cases involve filing with regional processing centers, rather than with local offices. In those cases, the location of your immigration attorney is not important. However, if your case involves a local matter, you should have local representation. If we determine that you should have local representation, we will make a recommendation to a qualified local attorney, able to handle the matter for you.
Q: Does an immigration lawyer need to have experience with cases from my particular country in order to help me?
A: No. Most immigration laws are written to be country-neutral, meaning that they apply equally to people of all nationalities. There are a few exceptions, but they are well-known to any experienced immigration lawyer.
Q: Can a lawyer make a difference in how long the government takes to decide my case?
A: No. Government processing is not affected by whether an applicant has a lawyer. However, an experienced immigration lawyer knows when a case is taking longer than it should, and who to call to get the case “back on track.” Also, an experienced lawyer knows what cases can qualify for expedited government processing, and how to request it when appropriate.
Q: Can you guarantee that I will get the result I want in my case?
A: No responsible attorney will guarantee a result in any case. The nature of immigration law and the realities of immigration processing are such that guaranteeing a result is impossible. An experienced, ethical attorney will provide a professional opinion based on experience, knowledge of the law, and the facts of your case. However that opinion is not a guarantee.