Duties and Responsibilities of the Family Lawyer

Responsibilities of the family lawyer

A family lawyer performs a diverse range of legal duties concerned with the family. His/her services prove very beneficial when family confronts problem such as divorce, child custody, and guardianship. The family lawyers may join a big legal firm or work independently. Legal expert works as a mediator when tussle begins to grow within a family. Get the services of the family lawyers so you may not have to run off scrambling in needy time.

Role of Attorney

The family lawyer becomes the family member whom everyone respects. The legal expert saves the family from going to court. It not only saves time and money but also protects relationships. It is one of the responsibilities of the family lawyer to manage the wills and estates. In this way, he/she performs the role of attorney. The legal expert represents the family in the court.


Annulment is the breakup of husband and wife. The marriage bond has zero value after the annulment. There could be multiple reasons for the annulment; however, fraud of any type is its leading cause. If a spouse hides a communicable disease, criminal record, infertility, or previous divorce. One of the partners takes the help of the family lawyer to present case in the court.

Appeals against Previous Mistakes of Legal Proceedings

It is the fundamental right of every citizen to file an appeal when he/she believes that previous legal proceedings caused great damages mistakenly. The appeal process is not only steep and complex but also time-sensitive. The individual is bound to file it within 30 days to get it entertained.

There are different areas of law. Some domains are easy to understand. It is quite difficult to handle the appeal procedure. It is imperative to hire an experienced lawyer to tackle the problem and get the desired results.

The lawyer has to work within the limited material available on the eve of initial proceedings. Getting new information is very difficult. Lawyer dives into the previous reports to sort out any mistake. Family law appeals involve further complications.

Spouse Support & Alimony

Different terms such as maintenance, spousal support, and alimony have same meanings. A judge may entertain one of the spouses until the divorce process completed. The effects of alimony last for a certain period so that a divorced spouse may stand on feet. It is the power of the court to award permanent spousal support if the marriage span is long or a spouse falls ill. The spouse who has not been working for years, he/she may also win the advantages of alimony.

You are not a breadwinner, so numerous question about financial security arises in mind. You need the assistance of the San Diego family law lawyer to get favorable terms in the critical situation.

How to Determine the Spousal Support Amount?

Numerous factors leave an impact on determining the amount of alimony or spousal support. State law agencies take into consideration the financial security risks of a spouse that he/she may confront after the divorce. Two main factors, including the self-sufficiency and the length of the marriage, determine the amount of spousal support.

Temporary Spousal Support

Do you need temporary spousal support? Yes! Contact the family lawyer who proceeds your case in the court. Remember, none of the spouses has the right to demolish or waste any marital property.

Modify an Existing Child Support

It is a rule that the court cannot modify or change child support unless a spouse wants to get it to change. Share your provisions with the family lawyer and asks him to present them in the court. There could be multiple reasons such as medical problems, economic issues, and medical emergency of a child for the changing child support. Changing support means the resettlement of child support payments.

Child Abuse

The state laws do not give relaxation to anyone if he/she is responsible for child abuses. Many people do not know the web of laws. They receive a big setback when their offspring are taken away. Do not be panic if it happens with you. The company of a child is not only necessary for you but also for the child. You may take a son/daughter back. You must have a backup of the family lawyer who may prepare a strong case. Often, parents confront the problems of child abuse in the court though they have done nothing wrong to their children. The legal expert always stands at your back until you get the child back.

Parent’s Duty to Protect Child

Protection of the children is the primary duty of the parents. Children are taken away when they do not get the proper attention of parents. Parents fail to understand their responsibility. Sometimes, parents do not know, and they bypass a law. Who is responsible if a kid fell and injured? No one else but parents are responsible for the bad incident. They have to pay a heavy price of their carelessness.

The family lawyer proves in the court that the child will be in safe hands if it gives the child back. The court may consider an option of bringing in a relative of the child for care and protection.


Sometimes, divorce becomes a necessary evil. The family lawyer tries his/her best to bridge the differences with communication. The lawyer helps spouses to complete the divorces cordially. Every spouse wants to know what he or she may receive or lose at the end. Parents also take into account the future of children. Family lawyer answers all questions. He tries his best that trial should be fair. He is a committed person who wants to fulfill the desires of the family members.

There are two types of divorce, including the contested and uncontested divorce. The court takes the dispute of contested divorce in its hands. However, a family lawyer may help the spouses to find the resolution in an uncontested divorce.

How to Divide Property after Divorce?

Division of the property is a big challenge for the spouses after the divorce. Do not forget the services of the family lawyer to settle the problem harmoniously. People already made their minds what to keep under possession. You might have the intention to keep home, or car, little items that have emotional value. The family lawyer listens to the arguments of husband and wife and will reconcile the conflicting situation. A lawyer understands that spouses need advocacy.

Frozen Assets

Many states have amended the laws regarding property division. States take the property under its custody when you file a divorce. The measure of the state is very logical. She wants to keep articles under a single roof. If your spouse tries to transfer a certain articles, inform your lawyer who would manage the issue.

Draw the Line of Difference between Marital Property and Non-Marital Property

It is not an easy task to divide the marital and non-marital articles. Do not forget the presence of the family lawyer on the eve of division. If you had a specific object such as a vehicle or something else before the marriage, it would fall in the orbit of the non-marital property. The rest of the luggage or articles belong to marital property. If both spouses invested in a home before the marriage, it becomes both marital and non-marital asset. The family lawyer will help you to handle the problem.

Family Business

Your family business is swelling quickly, but courts notices keep you constantly worried. Hiring a family lawyer is a wise choice. The legal expert is available 24/7. You do not need to rush to courts. It is one of the responsibilities of the family lawyer to take care of such issues. Also, you need a business partner. Do not forget the agreement. It should contain necessary provisions so you may not experience any unwanted consequence. Consult with a family lawyer to prepare perfect documentation.

Make sure that your family lawyer is a capable and experienced person. It is the question of your family, and it’s business. You may have to pay the price with the bad choice of the lawyer.

Knowledge about the Family and its Technicalities

It is the tangible advantage of the family lawyer that he/she is an expert and knows the intricacies of the family law. You will become familiar with the basics of family law with time. People do not know the potential loopholes that prove very beneficial if someone discerns how to exploit them. Family lawyer set you in the right direction.


Impartiality is the key characteristic of the family lawyer. It becomes very difficult for a person to represent his/her divorce case in court. On the contrary, the lawyer does not involve in the case emotionally rather proceeds it wisely. He/she understands the previous facts and represents accordingly. Individual needs support for the time being after the loss of a relationship. The family lawyer understands the gravity of the situation, so he/she lends, helping hand to the grieved person.

The family lawyers offer their services in all domains of family life. They are the backbone of families who pressure of all legal problem. Confronting the lawsuits is a very panic and frustrating phenomenon. Enjoy the peace of mind with the family lawyer who is always available to protect your rights.


family lawyer 759x500 - 4 Reasons Why You Might Need A Family Lawyer

Dealing with family issues can be an overwhelming experience. This is especially true if they involve some legalities that make these problems more complicated to resolve. Hence, depending on your family dynamics, having a good family lawyer will make a lot of sense for you and your family. Primarily, a family lawyer is a legal professional who specializes in handling cases related to family matters.

Below are the four reasons why you might need a family lawyer as early as now:

1. To Get a Fair and Impartial View of Family Issues

In addition to expertise in family laws, having a family lawyer can be a good idea, especially in getting a fair and impartial view of family issues. Typically, facing a family problem can be an emotional roller coaster ride that can prevent you from giving a reasonable judgment of what’s really happening.

But with a legal professional on your side, they can help guide you in making sound family decisions. Since they’re not emotionally invested in the case, they can examine all the details, come up with a sound judgment and tell you if you’re rushing things that might lead to unnecessary legal actions and lawsuits. Because of this, it’s essential to consult a family lawyer before you take any steps that you might regret later on.

2. To Help in the Filing of Paperwork

Whatever family case you’re facing, a good family lawyer like the ones at www.mccunnlaw.com can assist you in properly filing paperwork. When you don’t have any legal experience, you might be overwhelmed by all the necessary documents that you should draft and file correctly. Not only that, but the improper filing of these documents might end up being excluded by the judge in your case. An example of this is when you file for divorce against your estranged spouse, in which several documents are needed for the proceeding.

However, by seeking legal help from a family lawyer, you can have peace of mind knowing that all the required paperwork will be appropriately done while meeting the time limits.

family law -

3. To Assist You in a Family-Related Lawsuit/Legal Action

As mentioned, having family problems can be vexing, especially if you have no idea what steps to take to resolve them independently. Thus, whether you like it not, some instances require you to work with a family lawyer to obtain the best possible outcome. These can be due to any of the family-related lawsuits or legal actions that you might be facing:

  • Divorce: Since divorce refers to the process of liquidating and dividing all the assets accumulated during the marriage, you need a legal expert to navigate it properly. When it comes to the division of assets resulting from divorce, your lawyer can assist in the process by making sure your rights and interests are protected. Also, given the impact of divorce on kids and families, they can also help by providing the support and guidance you need throughout the process.
  • Adoption: Another family legal matter that needs the services of a family lawyer is when you add a new member of the family. Given all the details and legal processes required by your state, they can make sure you follow all the procedures for a smooth adoption proceeding.
  • Child custody: Just like divorce and adoption, child custody can also be a complicated process since the welfare and best interests of the child are the top priority. Thus, working with a family lawyer can be an excellent idea to make the process as smooth as possible. They know the ins and outs of every child custody battle, thereby increasing your chances of winning the case in your favor.
  • Spousal/Child Support: If the other parent isn’t providing financial child support, a family lawyer can help resolve the issue by compelling them to pay the money through a case in court. Also, if you’re the other parent who can no longer pay due to financial losses, a legal professional can help by applying for lessening support money in court.

4. To Prepare Your Family’s Financial Future

Another important reason you might need a lawyer is for the preparation of your family’s financial future. Typically, no one knows what the future holds for you and your loved ones. Thus, whether you need help with pre-nuptial and post-nuptial agreements, wills, and other legal services, you should hire a good family law attorney to have all these documents prepared whenever you need them. They’ll assess your needs and recommend the best strategies that might help prepare your family’s financial future.

Also, as their client, they’ll have your family’s best interests in mind so you can rest knowing that everything they do is for your benefit and that of your family.

Wrapping Up

How to Become a Family Lawyer

In any family affairs, the things mentioned above are some of the primary reasons why you might need a family lawyer. Thus, if you find yourself facing one or all of these reasons, then now would probably be the right time to take advantage of the services of a legal professional. With them at your side, you can be confident that you’re making the right decisions towards obtaining a successful outcome.


best immigration lawyers

Looking for help on your immigration case?

Wondering how to find the best immigration lawyers?

You may be eager to get help immediately, but not all immigration lawyers are all they claim to be. It’s important to take the time to choose an excellent attorney that is qualified and motivated.

You’ll want to keep a few things in mind during your search to make sure you find a lawyer who is right for you. Below are eight tips to keep in mind for choosing the best immigration lawyers to work with.

7 Benefits of Consulting with an Immigration Lawyer in Hawaii


When trying to find the best immigration lawyers, it is best not to choose blindly and hire the first lawyer you come across. It is also much better to look for a high-quality lawyer that can handle your case like a professional than to choose the low-cost bargain option.

It can be stressful to deal with the high costs but don’t automatically choose the cheaper alternative. The costs can be well worth it in the end if you’re serious about your immigration.

Be sure to properly vet any potential attorneys you want to work with. They need to be able to fully convince you that they can do the job well.


When looking for an attorney for your immigration case, it is an excellent idea to dig into your personal network and find out if anyone you know has used an immigration lawyer in the past.

Ask your friends and family. Someone you know may be able to connect you with an acquaintance who has already undergone immigration procedures and knows about a great lawyer you can work with. Word-of-mouth can be a great way to find an immigration lawyer that’s a good fit.

Also, consider using the internet as a resource. Sometimes you can find info, reviews, and complaints on different lawyers online.


When you identify a potential attorney for your case, you need to make sure they are the real deal. Find out what their credentials are and where their experience lies. While you can find out some of this information from the lawyer’s website or from them, you can use several other sources to verify attorney credentials.

Contact the local state bar where the lawyer practices and search the database on the website. If you’re looking for an immigration lawyer in Dallas, for example, you’ll want to check with the State Bar of Texas.

Find out if they have had any complaints or malpractice suits in the past, or if there is any other information on their record you need to know about.

You should also search the AILA (American Immigration Lawyers Association) website if you are looking for an immigration lawyer. They have a database of potential lawyers that practice and teach immigration law. If you choose one of these lawyers, they will likely have the qualifications that you need.


Once you have created a list of the best immigration lawyers you could find and narrowed down the choices to who you may want to work with, you need to reach out to them.

Schedule a quick phone call or interview and speak with them to decide if they could be the right choice for you and your needs.

In the interview, ask them about previous cases they have worked on. See if they are experienced with immigration law and have performed similar cases to yours in the past. Find out where their expertise lies and make sure they would be a good fit for you.


If you’re considering using a lawyer, chances are you will sit down for a consultation to discuss your needs. This is a great time to ask the attorney for references.

An experienced and professional immigration attorney should be able to provide you with references to past cases and a list of clients who have been thrilled with the results. Make sure that any lawyer you consider has a long roster of satisfied and happy past clients.

If you make sure to check for references, you’ll have a much greater chance of being satisfied yourself and you’ll know that your lawyer can deliver results.


Before you hire a lawyer, it is important that you know exactly what you will be paying for. You should take the time to negotiate the fees ahead of time and know exactly what to expect from your relationship.

Compare the fee schedules of any lawyers you are considering. Find out if they charge an hourly rate or a flat fee.

Finally, make sure to find out about any additional fees you will incur during the process such as postage fees or long distance charges.


In addition to the more technical aspects of looking for the best immigration lawyers, you should also take into your gut instinct into account. If a lawyer doesn’t seem like he would be a good fit for you but his credentials look great on paper, you still may want to turn the other way.

You may also have some personal preferences with what kind of attorney you are comfortable with, and that’s OK too. You may prefer a male or female attorney, for example.

It can also be a huge help to find a lawyer that knows how to speak and write your language well. Having a lawyer who is familiar with your language can really help to facilitate the entire process and make communication a breeze.

Since you will be building an ongoing relationship with your lawyer, you need to make sure you will be as comfortable as possible.


It’s a good idea to look for a lawyer who is comfortable and capable of using the cloud in place of excessive physical paperwork. Paperless signing can make the entire process much easier.

By being able to sign the documents electronically, you will have a much simpler time managing the high amount of paperwork you will be dealing with. It can also save you a lot of money and hassle when it comes to postage.

By having a lawyer who can work with you in the cloud, you’ll make sure you’re managing your stress well and allow the process to go as smoothly as possible.


Immigration Law Attorneys | Melbourne FL | Immigration Law Firm

By considering the steps above, you’ll be able to find a good immigration lawyer that you can trust to work on your case. Make sure to choose a great lawyer who understands your needs.

It can be a lot of work to deal with immigration issues, but it will be worth it in the end.

Looking for the best immigration lawyers in Texas? Interested in learning more? Contact us today.

Choosing the Right Family Law Attorney

Choosing a family law attorney can be a very difficult decision. The right lawyer can make a real difference both in the outcome of your divorce and how you make it through the very emotional process. You want a trusting relationship. You want a lawyer who is serious about your case and listens to your needs. You want a lawyer who moves your case forward to the conclusion. Here are some tips on choosing the right lawyer.

Our family law attorneys offer tips on how to pick the right family law attorney.
Whether you’re considering a divorce, attempting to work out custody and support issues, planning an adoption, or facing another family law issue, choosing the right family law attorney can ease your mind and produce better results. Your lawyer becomes your partner in the process, helping you achieve the outcome you want within the boundaries of the law.

Here are some tips to help you select an attorney whom you can trust, who listens to your needs and who keeps your case moving forward until it is concluded.

Find an attorney you can work with.

Your lawyer will be your partner throughout your case. You may need to confide sensitive or embarrassing information to your attorney – things you would prefer not to tell anyone. You’ll be speaking to your attorney frequently, and you’ll need to be able to provide information and understand your lawyer’s explanations of certain steps in your case or how the law applies in your situation.

Consequently, choosing a lawyer you trust and can communicate with is crucial. While a law firm’s website and other materials provide a good start, don’t base your decision solely on the law firm. Instead, speak to each attorney you’re considering. Ask questions like: Does the attorney have experience with cases like mine? Do they explain things in a way that makes sense to me? Do they answer my questions? Do I feel like I can trust this person?

Interview prospective attorneys with your needs in mind.

Interview prospective attorneys with your needs in mind.

When you contact a law firm to speak to a prospective attorney, be as clear as you can about what you’re looking for. Many lawyers will agree to speak to you for no charge so that both of you can determine whether you’ll be a good “fit” for one another.

While speaking to a prospective attorney, keep the following issues in mind:

  • Does your personality mesh with the attorney? No matter how experienced a lawyer is, if you do not get along, your case will be more difficult.
  • Communication and promptness. Ask each lawyer how you can contact him or her and how long it will take them to get back to you. Excessive delays or “radio silence” from your lawyer can cause unnecessary aggravation, so choose an attorney who is dedicated to regularly touching base.
  • Willingness to work within your budget. It’s important to talk about money so that you can get the results you need without draining your bank account. Most attorneys are accustomed to discussing fees and costs upfront and will appreciate meeting a prospective client who also understands the need to budget wisely.

Ask for advice, but make your own decision.

Asking friends, family members and co-workers to recommend an attorney is one way to collect information about family law attorneys and law firms in your area. Attorney guides like Martindale-Hubbell or Avvo can also point you to local law firms, as can reading law firm websites and reviews.

No matter where you gather your initial information, however, speak to the lawyer before making your decision. Remember that every family, and every family law case, is unique. Your needs are different from the needs of friends or family members, even if they faced a similar problem. Also, remember to take online reviews with a grain of salt. It may be impossible to tell who posted them or what agenda the writer had when they made the post.

Get help from a family law attorney to get you through troubling times to a brighter future.

At the law firm, family law attorneys we work together to help families move through troubling times to a brighter future. Contact us today to learn more about us and how we can help you.

Pick a lawyer, not a law firm.

The most important relationship is not between the law firm and the client, but between the law partner and a client. Seek out a relationship with an individual partner in a firm as your lawyer. Never have a relationship with a law firm — have a relationship with a lawyer. Make it that partner’s responsibility to manage your case. If your case is passed off to an associate, demand an explanation and demand to know the associate’s experience. If the law partner that drew you to the law firm wants to pass off your case to an associate, then you should be thinking about another firm. Ask the lawyer you meet with this question: “Will you be handling my case?”

Ask yourself: “Do I like this lawyer?”

You must be able to get along with your lawyer. The initial interview is as much about deciding if you can have a working relationship with your attorney as it is finding out about how the law applies to your case. If the lawyer you are meeting with is abrasive, distracted, disorganized, or acts in any other way that does not give you confidence, consider how you will feel later on in the case if you chose this lawyer.

Demand expertise and experience.

It used to be common for North Carolina lawyers to handle all manner of cases from divorce to traffic to real estate. More and more lawyers are limiting their practice to specific fields, including family law. You would not go to a general practitioner for open-heart surgery, and you should be very hesitant about going to a lawyer who does not limit his or her practice to family law matters if you need a divorce.

Fees: Don’t give your lawyer a blank check.

You should be able to get a very good idea of the cost of your case from your Wake County lawyer. Ask if there is an option for a flat fee so you will know what the case will cost you. Unless a lawyer can offer you a flat fee option, you have no way of knowing how much legal representation will cost.

Settlement and litigation.

Settlement and litigation are two sides of the same coin. Most family law cases settle out of court. Some do not. You need a lawyer that is equally comfortable in settlement negotiations and the courtroom. Ask your lawyer what training and experience he or she has had in family law negotiations, mediation, and collaborative law. Ask your lawyer if he or she has the experience to handle your case in court should attempt at settlement fail.

Why hire an immigration lawyer?

Why hire an immigration lawyer?

Why hire a lawyer when there is lower-cost help available through immigration consultants and online immigration services?  Do you really need a lawyer when you could fill out the forms and follow the instructions yourself?

The reasons are many, from ensuring you fully understand the process to avoiding unnecessary delays.

The main advantages of hiring a trusted immigration lawyer, instead of depending on an immigration consultant or online immigration service or working on the case yourself are:

1. You receive guidance on which forms and documents to submit

A lawyer is not required to fill out application forms for immigration benefits. Anyone can complete the forms, which are, along with the instructions, available for free on U.S. Citizenship & Immigration Services and the U.S. Department of State’s websites.

But U.S. government agencies are not your advocates and do not consider your individual situation when providing resources and information to you. Only an immigration lawyer, who truly understands the eligibility requirements, can give you the most reliable advice on which forms and documents to submit to receive immigration benefits.

Legitimate immigration consultants and online immigration processors can certainly help you complete forms and submit the paperwork to USCIS and DOS at a much lower cost than what lawyers charge.

Nevertheless, your knowing which forms and documents to submit is not always clear by just reading instructions or doing your own research. Immigration consultants and online immigration services are prohibited from giving any legal advice concerning your immigration case, including which forms and documents to submit. Rather, you yourself have to make this determination before they then fill out the forms with your answers and prepare the documents you have given them for filing with the appropriate U.S. government agency.

Even qualified immigration consultants and highly-rated online immigration services are just document preparers. While they are distinguishable from shady Notarios who prey on vulnerable immigrant groups and engage in immigration scams, they provide limited service that does not always meet your immigration needs.

Questions on applications forms and questions from immigration or consular officers might seem simple, but often relate to legal issues that can result in denials and setbacks in your case. Immigration consultants and online immigration processors cannot counsel you on how to best answer a question or cross-check or verify your answers on the forms. All they can do is replicate and type out your responses to the questions asked on the forms.

When non-lawyer immigration consultants or online immigration processors advise you on which immigration benefit to apply for and how to prove you qualify for it, they essentially engage in unauthorized practice of law.

In contrast, immigration lawyers advise you on which exact forms and documents to submit for a particular immigration benefit. They will cross check your answers on application forms with your biographic and immigration records to help ensure accuracy and completeness. They will also counsel you on the implications of your answers to questions, as well as the effects of providing or not providing certain documents.

2. You get legal advice on how to best present your case

A good lawyer will counsel you on eligibility standards and evidentiary requirements, including those that are not spelled out in the instructions for forms or are otherwise readily known.

For instance, while an immigration consultant or online immigration service will accept your marriage certificate and divorce decrees for prior marriages as sufficient in an I-130 spousal immigrant petition, a lawyer will counsel you on additional documents to submit to prove your marriage is valid and bona fide.

A lawyer might be unnecessary in very simple cases, where the bare minimum is all that’s required to get the case approved. But in many cases, a high volume of documentary evidence, as well as credible testimony, are needed to achieve a favorable outcome.

One of the fastest growing online immigration processors, RapidVisa, states specifically that it does not give legal advice or representation, but offers a service similar to TurboTax for visa applications. At a low price, they provide online processing of K-1 fiancée visas, spousal visas, parent visas, green cards (adjustment of status), removal of conditions, citizenship (naturalization), joint sponsorship, and deferred action (Deferred Action for Childhood Arrival, under President Obama).

RapidVisa boasts an approval rate of 99.7% and 4-hour turnaround time. But it’s fair to say that these cases most likely had no complications to require the work of a lawyer, and could have been handled just as well by an applicant who was willing and able to deal with the paperwork alone.

Reputable immigration lawyers, who have the expertise to deal with the worst types of cases, are best equipped to help you present the strongest case possible. They can steer you away from pitfalls that lead to complications in your case, such as USCIS issuing a Request for Evidence or a Notice of Intent to Deny Petition. They are trained to spot issues and weaknesses that can tank your case. Unlike immigration consultants and online immigration processors, they do not merely rely on generic templates and checklists that do not account for unique situations.

3. You obtain verification on whether you actually qualify for the benefit sought

An immigration lawyer will gather facts and review your record to confirm whether you are eligible for the immigration benefit you seek. For example, under current law, you cannot apply for a marriage-based green card within the U.S. if you were not lawfully admitted to the U.S. with inspection, and you do not qualify for 245(i) benefits. If your immigrant petition is not in the immediate relative category, you may not file for adjustment to permanent residence unless you are maintaining lawful nonimmigrant status after entry as an F-1 student, H-1B worker, etc. or certain narrow exceptions apply.

Immigration consultants and online immigration processors are not equipped or authorized to verify your eligibility for a benefit sought. They cannot give advice as to which immigration status you should seek. These are legal issues that requires a lawyer’s guidance, especially when there are complications in your case.

Complications include previous marriage(s)/divorce(s), a history of visa denials, visa overstays, unlawful presence, prior removal orders, illegal entries and re-entries to the U.S., immigration fraud or willful misrepresentation, false claims to U.S. citizenship, a criminal record, and being from a high-fraud country.

In June 2016, the State of Colorado passed a law that forced RapidVisa to relocate out of Colorado Springs, Colorado to Las Vegas, Nevada, where regulations related to the document-preparation industry are favorable. Known as Immigration Consultants Deceptive Trade Practice, the Colorado law targets deceptive “notarios”, which are small operations common in Hispanic communities, but it further forbids any person from offering any immigration service, regardless of whether it involves practicing law, unless that person is a lawyer.

In a press release, Ben Ives, President of RapidVisa, stated “this was simply a case of lawyers protecting their income.” He noted, “Petitioning for a family visa is a benefit request, not a legal issue. Do you hire a lawyer to apply for your driver’s license?”

Contrary to Mr. Ives’ claim, applying for an immigration benefit involves many legal issues that determine whether a person can live, study or work in the U.S., and even visit the country. Filing for an immigration benefit has a much more serious and broader impact than applying for a driver’s license.

A U.S. citizen’s decision to bring a fiancée, spouse,  or parent to the U.S. , for example, affects the fate of the family and their reunification.  An applicant’s mistake in filing for an immigration benefit, such as a green card or citizenship, for which he does not qualify can sometimes lead him into removal proceedings and get him deported from the United States.

4. You have comprehensive counseling from start to finish

In the initial evaluation of your case, and during the course of representation, an immigration lawyer can identify your priorities and pinpoint issues to help you achieve your objectives. They can lay out your various options and describe the pros and cons of pursuing each path.

An immigration lawyer can guide you on how to avoid complications or address them as they arise, such as responding to a Request for Evidence, a Notice of Intent to Deny, a Notice of Intent to Revoke, an inadmissibility finding, or a denial decision. He or she can intervene on your behalf to resolve problems.

An immigration lawyer can also prepare you for interviews before USCIS and the U.S. Consulates by describing what questions to expect and which issues are likely to arise. Although they should not “coach” you on what to say, they may advise you on how to best present both positive and negative information.

A lawyer may appear with you at green card interviews and naturalization interviews to help protect your rights, present documentary information, and ask clarifying questions. They can further prepare and submit a legal brief to stave off concerns and persuade the officer to approve your case.

Lawyers must keep up with changes in the law, the risks (not just the benefits) of applying for immigration relief, and the nuances in the immigration process, and advise you accordingly.

A non-lawyer immigration consultant or online immigration processor cannot perform these vital services.

5. You get legal help from a licensed professional who is held to the highest ethical standards

When an immigration consultant or online immigration processor overlooks critical pieces of information or documents — which results in an avoidable revocation process, denial or delay — there is generally no recourse. You typically have to rectify the harm through their channels or file a consumer complaint with the state attorney general.

Lawyers, on the other hand, are held to ethical standards in their state rules of professional conduct. They can face disciplinary action, such as a suspension or disbarment, for failing to perform duties owed to clients. As a licensed professional, a lawyer has obligations and responsibilities that go above and beyond those of a non-lawyer immigration service.

Consult an immigration attorney at the very least 

Some states, such as CaliforniaMinnesota, and New York regulate the conduct of immigration consultants, instead of forbid them from performing any immigration service. While they may provide document preparation, they cannot offer legal advice in any situation.

Legitimate immigration consultants and online immigration processors can ease the stress that comes with handling the immigration paperwork yourself. But realize they do nothing more than document preparation. A complete reliance on non-lawyer immigration services gives you a false sense of security and could open you up to making mistakes and bungling your immigration matter.

Reliable legal representation may be more affordable than you assume. There are solo practitioners and small firm lawyers who charge reasonable fees for high-quality, comprehensive service. There are also non-profit legal service providers and pro-bono attorneys who will accept your case for sliding scale or reduced fees or no fees.

Almost everyone can gather funds to consult an experienced immigration lawyer at least once, or retain unbundled legal service to address the complicated parts of the case. Before you file for an immigration benefit, talk to a reputable immigration lawyer about the eligibility standards, documentary requirements and filing process. Relying on immigration consultants and online immigration processors can save you money upfront, but cost you a lot more in the long run.

This article provides general information only. It is based on law, regulations and policy that are subject to change. Do not consider it as legal advice for any individual case or situation. Each legal case is different and case examples do not constitute a prediction or guarantee of success or failure in any other case. The sharing or receipt of this information does not create an attorney-client relationship.

Building a More Dynamic Economy: The Benefits of Immigration

Chairman Yarmuth, Ranking Member Womack, and members of the committee, thank you for inviting me to testify before you today on this important topic. My name is Tom Jawetz, and I am the vice president for Immigration Policy at the Center for American Progress. American Progress is the nation’s foremost progressive think tank dedicated to improving the lives of all Americans through bold, progressive ideas as well as strong leadership and concerted action.

When I think of the contributions that immigrants—people from all over the world, of all backgrounds, skills, and levels of educational attainment—make to our country, I am reminded of something I often heard from my former boss and your colleague, Rep. Zoe Lofgren (D-CA), who speaks of immigrants as people who have “enough get-up-and-go to get up and go.”1 For hundreds of years, that really has been an important part of the story of America, so it is no surprise that in every state and in communities all across the country, immigrants and their children are helping to build a more dynamic economy and ensure shared prosperity for all.

One way to look at this is through immigrant entrepreneurship. Although immigrants made up just 13.7 percent of the U.S. population in 2017,2 they made up almost 30 percent of all new entrepreneurs in the United States that year.3 Immigrants continue to be nearly twice as likely as native-born people to start businesses.4

Frequently, we think about immigrant entrepreneurship in connection with tech giants and startups such as Amazon, Apple, Google, and Yahoo—which were founded by immigrants or their children—and Microsoft and Oracle, which are today led by immigrants. According to a recent study by New American Economy, nearly 44 percent of the companies on the 2018 Fortune 500 list were founded by immigrants or the children of immigrants.5 Together, these companies in fiscal year 2017 brought in $5.5 trillion in revenue—a figure that is greater than the gross domestic product (GDP) of every country in the world other than the United States and China.6

But that’s not the whole picture. We know that small businesses make up nearly 70 percent of all employer firms in the country and that they help to create jobs and power local economies. It is therefore significant that immigrants own more than 1 in 5 small businesses and are more than 20 percent more likely to own such a business than a native-born person.7 Beyond the direct economic benefits of these businesses and the jobs they create, it’s important to talk about what it means to a community to have a thriving Main Street. Immigrants own more than 60 percent of all gas stations, 58 percent of all dry cleaners, 53 percent of all grocery stores, 45 percent of all nail salons, and 38 percent of all restaurants.8 These are the businesses that represent the life and vitality of local communities.

Similarly, many times when people think about where immigrants live, they focus on traditional gateway places such as New York, San Francisco, Chicago, and Miami. Certainly, immigrants have long played a critical role in helping cities like these become the creative, diverse, thriving places that we know them to be. But over the past several decades, as immigrants have searched for new opportunities for themselves and their families, they have increasingly moved to new gateway cities such as Atlanta, Charlotte, Nashville, and Phoenix. Even in metropolitan areas, the fastest growth has occurred in the suburbs.9

Immigrants and refugees also are breathing new life into rural communities around the country that have been experiencing population decline for more than two decades. Late last year, CAP found that immigrants helped to ameliorate population decline in nearly 4 out of 5 rural places in the country that experienced such losses.10 And in those rural places that experienced population growth, immigrants were entirely responsible for the growth in more than 1 in 5 places.11 We know that sustained population loss contributes to hospitals shutting their doors, schools closing or being consolidated with those in neighboring towns, and businesses drying up. But in these rural places, immigrants are opening small businesses, providing essential health care services, rejuvenating downtown areas, and both filling and creating jobs.12 They are also contributing their food, music, culture, and language and are increasingly becoming involved in local government.

Immigrants are not only helping to build a more dynamic economy right now, but we are counting on them to help ensure our continued shared prosperity in the years ahead. Most immigrants come to the United States during their prime working and reproductive years.13 As more and more Baby Boomers retire, immigrants will not only disproportionately work as their doctors, nurses, and home health aides,14 but immigrants and their children also will do the lion’s share of the work in filling the enormous holes in the workforce that are left behind. According to a recent study by the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine, during the current decade, immigrants and their children will have accounted for virtually all of the country’s growth in the working-age population; in the decade ahead, without immigrants and their children, the working-age population in the United States would decrease by more than 7 million.15 The contributions of foreign-born workers through payroll taxes are shoring up the country’s social safety net for years to come and helping to ensure that we honor the commitment we made to older Americans now turning to those programs for support.16

As the current administration has made dramatic cuts to the U.S. Refugee Admissions Program,17 it is worth talking about the important economic contributions of refugees18—particularly to places such as Utica, New York, Clarkston, Georgia, and Fargo, North Dakota—that have increasingly turned to refugees over the years to help revitalize local communities and, again, fight population decline.19 Although the image of a refugee that we’re often presented with—and that is equally true of asylum seekers now requesting protection at our southwest border—is that of a person who comes with little more than the clothes on their backs, this fails to capture the drive and perseverance that it takes to leave your home country and everything you’ve ever known in order to find safety someplace else and start again. Despite the obstacles, that drive helps to explain why refugees thrive in America.20 Refugees have high labor force participation rates and become a net economic positive for the country within only 8 years of arrival.21 According to one survey of employers, refugee employees have higher retention rates than other workers across industry sectors and geography.22 The facts are so good that when the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, at the request of the Trump administration, prepared a study in 2017 concluding that refugees generated a net fiscal impact of $63 billion over the course of a decade, the administration led by Stephen Miller suppressed the findings.23

Up until now, I have been speaking generally about the contributions of immigrants and refugees to our economy, but I want to speak as well to the contributions of the 7 million undocumented workers in this country,24 and specifically to the hundreds of thousands of individuals whose permission to live and work in the country has been thrown into limbo as a result of the Trump administration’s decisions to end Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) and terminate designations of Temporary Protected Status (TPS) and Deferred Enforced Departure (DED).

Undocumented workers are fully integrated into the economic prosperity of this country. In 2016, CAP worked with two leading economists to study the economic impacts of removing all undocumented workers from the workforce.25 The report found that such a policy “would immediately reduce the nation’s GDP by 1.4 percent, and ultimately by 2.6 percent, and reduce cumulative GDP over 10 years by $4.7 trillion.”26 Every industry would suffer significant damage, but some would see workforce reductions of up to 18 percent or more, with long-run GDP losses in the tens of billions of dollars annually for every industry. I have included in the Appendix to my written testimony Table 1, which shows the economic damage that removing unauthorized workers from the workforce would have in each of the states from which members of this committee come. The cumulative loss for just your states would amount to more than $350 billion annually,27 and each state would experience substantial losses in key industries, including a 13 percent loss in GDP for North Carolina’s construction industry; a 12 percent loss in GDP for Texas’s leisure and hospitality industry; and a 21 percent loss in GDP for California’s agriculture, forestry, fishing, and hunting industry.28

In 2013, the U.S. Senate passed legislation with strong bipartisan support to reform our immigration system and provide a path to citizenship for undocumented immigrants who had long resided in the country. According to a series of reports prepared by the nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office and Joint Committee on Taxation, including a cost estimate for the bill as passed and a separate report on the broader economic impacts of the bill, the legislation would have decreased federal budget deficits by approximately $1 trillion over 20 years, increased the nation’s GDP by 3.3 percent in 10 years and 5.4 percent in 20 years, and increased average wages for all workers after 10 years.29 Incidentally, at a hearing just two weeks ago, Acting U.S. Secretary of Homeland Security Kevin McAleenan also testified that the legislation would have significantly increased border security and helped to address some of the challenges that the administration is now dealing with along the border.30

Earlier this month, the U.S. House of Representatives passed with bipartisan support H.R. 6, the American Dream and Promise Act, which would provide a path to citizenship for Dreamers, young immigrants who came to this country years ago as children, and individuals eligible for TPS or DED. The legislation would offer protection to people such as Donaldo Posadas Caceres, a Honduran TPS holder and member of the International Union of Painters and Allied Trades, who has worked for the past 20 years on some of the tallest bridges in the country, making needed repairs and hanging larger-than-life American flags.31 If the Senate were to take up this legislation and the president were to sign it, the bill would have a positive social and economic impact on states and communities all over the country. Although the legislation would directly affect up to 2.5 million individuals, those potential beneficiaries live with more than 5.6 million family members, more than 1 million of whom are U.S.-citizen children born in the United States.32 These individuals and their households own more than 215,000 homes and pay more than $2.5 billion annually in mortgage payments; they contribute more than $27 billion annually in federal, state, and local taxes and hold more than $75 billion in spending power.33 Working with the Center for the Study of Immigrant Integration at the University of Southern California, we have produced Table 2 in the Appendix to my remarks that shows these data as well as rental payments broken down by congressional district for each member of this committee, where available, and we would be happy to produce a similar table for your colleagues upon request. Looking at the congressional districts represented on this committee, we estimate that the legislation would provide a path to citizenship for nearly 240,000 people who—together with their households—pay nearly $1.7 billion in federal taxes and $950 million in state and local taxes annually. In your congressional districts, these households hold a cumulative $7.4 billion in spending power each year and pay more than $220 million in mortgage payments on nearly 21,000 homes and nearly $750 million in rental payments.34

What gives me hope that we may find our way back to those conversations in the years ahead is that the American public is having a visceral, negative reaction to the relentless, daily attacks on immigrants and refugees that we are now experiencing. According to Gallup polling, a record-high three-quarters of all Americans now say that immigration is a good thing for the country—the highest level of support in decades.35 The share of the American public that believes the level of immigration to the United States should increase or should increase or stay the same are both at the highest levels recorded since Gallup first began asking the question almost 55 years ago in 1965.36 And about two-thirds of the American public continues to support giving undocumented immigrants in the country an opportunity to become citizens.37

Put simply, Americans want real solutions, and they want an immigration system that actually works and that works as designed. If we can do that—if we can establish a well-functioning, modernized, and humane immigration system that both lives up to the best of our nation’s past and works for our nation’s present and future—we will once again be able to honor our traditions as a nation of laws and a nation of immigrants and will have begun to restore respect for the rule of law in our system. Moreover, we will have positioned the country to truly harness the enormous positive economic benefits that immigration holds.

7 Benefits of Hiring an Immigration Lawyer to Represent You

When Should You Seek Assistance from a Professional Immigration Attorney? -  The Video Ink

As anyone that’s gone through the process will tell you, navigating any area of immigration law is not an endeavor you’d want to go through alone. There is an extensive paperwork process that goes along with immigration that even natural-born U.S. citizens would struggle with, let alone immigrants from other countries for whom English is not their first language.

The truth about U.S. immigration is that many potential immigrants are not clear about everything required of them during the process, and this lack of information becomes a barrier from get into the country and staying there legally. Don’t let poor or insufficient legal representation be the reason you or your loved ones have to be uprooted from their homes. Here are 7 ways you can benefit from hiring an immigration lawyer to represent you throughout this complicated arm of the legal system:

São Paulo Brazil Immigration attorney, Citizenship & Employment Attorney  Lawyer for Visa Passport Rio de Janeiro

1. A Good Immigration Lawyer Avoids Mistakes

Filing the correct paperwork is an important part of the processes of acquiring a visa, getting a loved on residence in the United States, and finalizing your marriage to an immigrant, among other procedures. This paperwork is usually extensive and complicated, and without the help of an expert, there are lots of opportunities to make mistakes that sink your entire application permanently.

An experienced immigration attorney can walk you through the correct steps to apply for work permits, marriage licenses and citizenship, without allowing mistakes that derail your chance to get these crucial documents authorized by the proper parties.

2. They Are Seasoned by Experience

One of the most important benefits that hiring an immigration lawyer can offer is less tangible than the others. The help of an expert that has experience making immigrants’ dreams into realities cannot be understated.

You see, it’s invaluable to hire someone that’s done it before for thousands in the same position as you find yourself now. It’s one thing to understand the law; it’s another to understand how to find success for your clients.

3. Immigration Attorneys Can Maneuver the Permits and Regulations

A good immigration lawyer is an expert on all the procedural maneuvers necessary to get you where you want to be. Whether that’s obtaining work permit in the United States, acquiring permanent residency or full U.S. citizenship, an expert immigration attorney is a veritable expert on what you need to make that happen.

Maybe you’ll be able to make it through the process on your own but there’s a good chance you’d have something missing on your various applications that ties them up in the complex regulatory system, or causes them to be rejected entirely. Why leave your future up to a gamble?

4. They Can Explain Your Options to You

No matter what you’re situation is, you have options. Your expert immigration attorney can lay out these options in front of you, making sure you understand the full scope of your circumstances. Whether you’re facing deportation or something else, your situation is likely very sensitive, and urgent. Isn’t it important that you understand those options that you can take moving forward?

5. An Immigration Lawyer Can Advise You As a Permanent Resident

Even after obtaining a work visa or permanent U.S. residency, immigrants still have special laws that apply only to them. If you don’t follow these laws during your time in the country, you could be deported before your visa is expired or after acquiring permanent resident status. A skilled immigration lawyer can help understand these laws so you don’t endanger your status as an immigrant with residency in the United States.

6. A Lawyer Can Help You Find a Legal Job

Immigrants have a more difficult time trying to find legal employment than the average American, let alone a job that earns a competitive salary in the United States.

An immigration lawyer can assist you in the process of applying to jobs, interacting with human relations staff, and seeking employment opportunities. As an immigrant, you probably aren’t familiar with all the tools available for Americans to find jobs; luckily for you, your immigration lawyer probably is, or at the very least can guide you to hiring and recruiting resources.

7. A Good Immigration Lawyer Can Provide a Path to Citizenship

Most immigrants are working towards the American dream – U.S. citizenship. An expert attorney has made this dream a reality for thousands of immigrants, completing their journey to becoming a U.S. citizen.

An immigration lawyer has in-depth knowledge of the blueprint for citizenship, and can impart that wisdom to you during every confusing and complicated step in the arena of immigration law.

No immigration procedure is easy, and most of the time, there are many steps to take and papers to file. You might feel like you’re in over your head, especially if English isn’t your first language. No matter what you’re trying to achieve, a skilled immigration lawyer can guide you through this complicated process, one step at a time.

Immigrants and Family Law

Family Law

Family law problems involving immigration law usually happen because a relationship breaks down after a spouse or common-law partner has been sponsored to come to Canada. Below is an overview of some overlapping legal issues that may result. If you are a newcomer to Canada with a family law concern, you should seek a lawyer (or an advocate or duty counsel) who is familiar with both family law and the rights and obligations around immigration and sponsorship. Several organizations specialize in supporting newcomers in this way. MOSAIC provides information, summary advice, referrals and legal representation to low-income immigrants and refugees. The Legal Services Society also publishes a useful booklet called Sponsorship Breakdown.

Let’s look at some differences in concepts and language between family law and immigration law to start.

Use of the term “common-law” or “spouse

Generally speaking, the term “common-law spouse” or “common-law partner” is not useful when discussing rights and obligations under provincial legislation. The Family Law Act in BC does not use the term “common-law.” The act defines spouse under section 3(1), and the definition broadly captures both married people and unmarried people who live in a “marriage-like” relationship—if that relationship has continued for at least two years.

For federal laws, the term and even the criteria are quite different. The Immigration and Refugee Protection Regulations defines “common-law partner”:

common-law partner means, in relation to a person, an individual who is cohabiting with the person in a conjugal relationship, having so cohabited for a period of at least one year.

Notice the time difference? It’s important to remember that qualifying as a common-law spouse under Canadian immigration law does not necessarily mean you qualify as an unmarried spouse for the purposes of Family Law Act. If you have lived together for over one year but less than two, are not married, and your relationship ends, you may be a common-law spouse under federal law, but not a spouse of any kind under the provincial act.

Best interests of the child

Section 37(1) of the Family Law Act states that best interests of the child is the only consideration when making decisions about guardianship, parenting arrangements, and contact with the child.

Section 3(1)(d) of the [Immigration and Refugee Protection Act] states that one of the objectives of the act is “to see that families are reunited in Canada.” A very important case for immigration law, Baker v. Canada (Minister of Citizenship and Immigration), [1999] 2 SCR 817 says that “the decision-maker should consider children’s best interests as an important factor, give them substantial weight, and be alert, alive and sensitive to them.”

Sponsor’s obligations

Employer Sponsorship Obligations: How long do they last? - Australia Visa

Immigration rules state that a sponsor must commit to providing for their spouse‘s (or common-law partner’s) needs and the needs of any dependent children. This commitment is actually made to the government and is called an undertaking. The undertaking continues even if the relationship between a sponsor and their spouse or other dependent breaks down. If a sponsor and their spouse separate, and the sponsor will not or cannot support the spouse voluntarily, the spouse may apply for welfare or other government benefits to support themselves and any dependent children. If the government (whether provincial or federal) supports the spouse by paying benefits (such as welfare), the government will then turn to the sponsor and require them to pay back the cost of those benefits. Each undertaking lasts for a period of time called a length of undertaking, during which time the sponsor is liable to support the spouse and repay the government for any support it provides the spouse. See the CIC website for a table showing the different lengths of undertaking, depending on who is sponsored.

Family law and immigration law support obligations are different. Where an undertaking is an obligation between a sponsor and the government, a support obligation in family law is between the spouses as individuals. To get a sponsor to pay spousal or child support under family law, the immigrant spouse must claim it the same way any Canadian resident or citizen would — including applying to court if need be.

One family law case from BC Supreme CourtAujla v. Aujla, 2004 BCSC 1566, shows that a sponsor’s obligations under a sponsorship agreement and undertaking, are separate from the sponsor’s obligation to pay spousal support based on family law legislation. If you were sponsored, have dependents, and your relationship with the sponsor has now ended, talk to a lawyer to discuss your entitlement to spousal or child support, or consult some of the resources mentioned here.

A sponsor’s obligations could extend to stepchildren. For stepparents, both family law and immigration law outline obligations to provide for sponsored dependents in some way.

As discussed in the chapter on Child Support, under the heading “Stepparents and child support“, section 147(4) of theFamily Law Act imposes a duty on stepparents in some cases to pay child support.

If your spouse sponsored you and your children to come to Canada, and if they helped support that child for at least one year, then you may be able to get a child support order under the Family Law Act. Be aware of the one-year limitation period for making a claim, noted in section 147(4)(b).

Sponsorship application

Withdrawal Of Sponsorship Application For Canada Immigration | WorkStudyVisa

If you leave your sponsoring spouse while the sponsorship application is still in progress, you must inform Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada of this change in your application. Failure to do so constitutes misrepresentation, which is a ground for refusal of your Permanent Residence application. At this point, you may not be able to proceed with your sponsorship application for Permanent Residence, but there may be other options available to you that allow you to stay in Canada. This could include a Permanent Resident application on humanitarian and compassionate grounds. This is especially the case if you leave your partner due to abuse in the relationship. Contact the Legal Services Society, or other community resources like MOSAIC, to see if you qualify for a free lawyer.

You should also inform IRCC of your change of address, so that they may continue to correspond with you after you leave your spouse’s residence.

Permanent resident spouses

Canadians in USA - U.S. Green Cards for Canadian Citizens

In October 2012, the government of Canada introduced a rule that most sponsored spouses were under conditional permanent residency status for the first two years. This condition was removed on April 28, 2017, when the government introduced a rule that sponsored spouses or common-law partners of Canadian citizens and permanent residents no longer need to live with their sponsor in order to keep their permanent resident status.

If your sponsor is abusive, you no longer need to worry about the threat of deportation or potential loss of status. Your residency status is no longer contingent on the length of the relationship. That being said, the government of Canada will still continue to investigate complaints about marriage fraud (where someone marries a Canadian citizen or permanent resident for the sole purpose of gaining entry into Canada). This means that if you leave your spouse, there is a possibility that he or she may file a complaint of marriage fraud with IRCC. IRCC will then send you a letter with a 30 day deadline to respond to their concerns and tell your side of the story. If that happens, you should seek legal advice. You could also write to the IRCC officer and ask for an extension on the response date. This will buy you some time to find a lawyer. If you do not receive a positive response from the officer, then you must respond by the date listed on the letter to avoid a removal order.

No matter what, your spouse may still remain responsible for supporting you and your children. If you are married or qualify as an unmarried spouse under the Family Law Act you may also be entitled to claim a share in the family property. See the chapter on Property & Debt.

So long as your sponsorship is still within the term of undertaking (discussed above), your sponsor’s obligation to support you continues. You will not lose your permanent resident status if you have to apply for welfare. If you do apply for welfare, keep in mind that you will be expected to show that you tried to obtain support from your spouse. If your relationship ended because of abuse, you may not have to try to get support from your spouse. The booklet on Sponsorship Breakdown contains good information on this topic.

Non-resident spouses[edit]

If you do not have permanent resident status, you must seek legal advice and help right away, since the breakdown of your relationship with your sponsor may affect your ability to remain in Canada (if that is in fact what you would like to do). There are a number of agencies that help immigrants and refugees. See the booklet Sponsorship Breakdown for a list of community workers and settlement agencies.

Everything You Need to Know About Becoming an Immigration Lawyer

Want to make a difference—and have a lasting career—as an immigration lawyer? Keep reading for answers to frequently asked questions about this rewarding legal specialty.

First things first…

Who might be interested in immigration law?

Does the thought of working on human rights issues excite you? Do you like interacting with people from other countries and cultures? Are you interested in criminal law, constitutional law, civil rights law, family law, education law, entertainment law, sports law, compliance, or business law? Do you hope to be a transactional lawyer or litigate in federal court?

If any of the above apply to you, you are likely to benefit from studying immigration law. Why? Because immigration law provides you with a foundation to represent people who have immigration matters to resolve, but it also allows you to recognize how a person’s immigration status might impact them in many seemingly unrelated ways.

What do immigration lawyers do?

The immigration issues that have seen intense political debate and media coverage in recent years are only part of the story.

The United States sees a constant influx of people hoping to live, work, and study within its borders, and immigration lawyers can help individuals, families, and businesses navigate those various and often complex immigration pathways. A person’s immigration status might impact and intersect with other legal matters too, such as family law, criminal law, business, and tax law, and being well versed in immigration law is necessary for attorneys practicing in those areas as well.

Immigration lawyers may represent clients in administrative courts, or they may counsel clients about their legal rights and obligations related to immigration, among other things. They also suggest courses of action based on their knowledge of immigration law.

For example, immigration lawyers might help citizens of other countries through the process of gaining legal status to work in the United States with the H-1B visa program. This program provides a framework for American employers to hire non-U.S. citizens in jobs where their skills are needed. Individuals hoping to come to the United States to fill such positions must gain approval through a complex and often intimidating process. They (or often the employers hoping to hire them) often turn to immigration lawyers, who provide assistance in completing forms and taking other required steps. The lawyers may also represent clients in dealing with government officials in matters related to the visa application.

Related: Meet professor Dina Francesca Haynes, Director of the Immigration Law certificate at New England Law | Boston

You can find immigration lawyers in various legal settings as well, from large law firms to smaller practices that include or specialize in immigration law, to government agencies to nonprofit organizations. (Every world-class performer or athlete has an immigration attorney behind them, advising on and securing necessary visas!) Some immigration attorneys provide services through a nonprofit or public interest law fair. Or they may prepare correspondence, meet with government officials, make presentations, and advise staff and volunteers, among other duties.

Finally, highly experienced immigration lawyers may pursue other career interests, such as teaching immigration law in law schools. Many universities have an immigration attorney on staff to advise incoming students and faculty as well. Other possibilities include becoming an immigration judge, a legislative aid (every member of Congress has an immigration advisor on staff), or an appointed or elected official.

Even criminal lawyers would be well-advised to understand immigration law, as they can be professionally sanctioned for failing to properly advise non-citizen clients of the immigration consequences of convictions, pleas, and sentences.

At the end of the day, immigration law can be a strong fit to students interested in human rights and international law, as well as those interested in business law or criminal law.

How can you become an immigration lawyer?

Regardless of the eventual practice area, completing a bachelor’s degree is the usual first step in becoming a lawyer, followed by earning a juris doctor (JD) degree.

A law school concentration or specialization in immigration law will help bolster your expertise in this specialty and give you an advantage in the field, though it is not technically necessary to practice. Rather, employers and clients will be looking for lawyers with ample exposure to the immigration field, particularly hands-on legal experience through clinics, legal internships, externships, clerkships, pro bono activities, and more, as well as through their law school course work.

A career in immigration law, as with most legal areas, also requires certain skills. High-level capabilities in reading and writing are a must, as is the ability to understand and communicate complex concepts and advocate for your client in an adversarial setting. Law schools both seek out these skills in applicants and cultivate them in their students.

In many situations, strong interpersonal skills are also needed. During any given day in immigration practice, an attorney may work with people who have undergone exceptionally traumatic experiences, including suffering persecution, human trafficking, or torture. The ability to communicate with compassion may be especially important in dealing with immigrants and immigrant families, who may need reassurance as well as technical assistance in dealing with the legal complexities of immigration.

If you’re not in law school yet…

If you’ve yet to enter law school (whether you’re an undergrad student, a working professional, or even still in high school), there are things you can do now to prepare yourself for the legal education ahead and your future career as an immigration lawyer.

Common undergraduate majors for students considering law school include political science, history, philosophy, economics, social sciences, language studies, and business—but no specific major is required. Even fields like nursing or engineering can serve as “pre-law” majors.

The American Bar Association (ABA) advises anyone interested in a legal career, regardless of the chosen specialty, to pursue educational, extracurricular, and life experiences that will foster the strengths and abilities needed for success in the legal world. Among them are analytical thinking, problem-solving, critical reading, writing and editing, oral communication, listening skills, and research.

The ABA also recommends getting involved in pursuits related to public service, promotion of justice, relationship-building, and collaboration. So seek out part-time or summer jobs, internships, or volunteer activities if you can. For instance, interning with a law firm that specializes in immigration issues can provide a first-hand look at the work involved while helping you polish relevant workplace skills. Such “real world” experiences can also help you assess the pros and cons of working in this field without making the commitment of full-time employment after law school. It will also provide a knowledge base you can build on later if you choose to pursue a career in immigration law.

The same can be said for gaining experience in a social outreach organization, business that relies on non-citizen employees, or government office that deals with immigration. If a direct connection with immigration is not available, any paid or volunteer activity that involves public speaking, writing, research, or other skills valued in the legal profession could be worth pursuing.

If you’re already in law school…

Once in law school, you’ll complete a combination of required courses and electives that match your individual interests and future aspirations. These may include courses or even concentrations or certificates in immigration law or related areas, which provide a vital academic foundation for a career in this specialty.

In addition to academics, and as noted above, you should also pursue as many opportunities to gain hands-on experience in the legal field as you can, particularly in immigration law–related work. You might find such opportunities through the clinical programspro bono activitiesinternships/externships, and student groups offered by your law school.

For most people planning to practice law, including immigration law, the JD is the standard degree. But some law school graduates go on to pursue other degrees or credentials requiring additional study, such as the Master of Laws (LLM) or the Doctor of Science of Law/Doctor of Juridical Science (JSD or SJD). Advanced degrees are generally pursued by those who hope to teach law or conduct scholarly research.

What does immigration law pay?

It’s no secret that legal careers tend to pay well, though individual lawyers’ salaries can vary considerably, even within the same legal specialty, like immigration law. The services you offer, clientele you serve, and area of the country you practice in can all affect earning potential.

According to the U.S. Department of Labor, the median annual wage for all lawyers is about $120,000. Median salaries top $140,000 for those employed by the federal government, while pay for state and local government ranges from $85,000 to $93,000 annually. Lawyers employed by large, successful law firms or big corporations tend to earn more than those who own their own practices or work for nonprofit organizations.

Earnings for some lawyers who specialize in immigration may be lower than the average for lawyers in general. An attorney who accepts a position with a small immigration nonprofit, for example, may choose that option with the understanding that while the salary is lower than average, the work offers the opportunity to serve people in life-altering situations who lack the resources to obtain legal assistance otherwise. Not to mention the satisfaction rates are consistently higher for public interest lawyers. Many immigration lawyers go into solo practice as well.

Where can I learn more?

There are certainly plenty of online resources to help you learn more about becoming an immigration lawyer; however, you may find it’s helpful to start by connecting with people in the field. This might mean conducting an informational interview with a working immigration lawyer, perhaps through your undergraduate institution (ask the career or alumni offices at your school). Conversations with law school representatives can also be revealing, and it’s often easy to contact law school admissions folks and even professors directly. You might also get a chance to chat about immigration law at a law school fair.

Another helpful resource is the American Immigration Lawyers Association, a national organization of more than 15,000 attorneys and educators who practice and teach immigration law. This nonpartisan nonprofit provides continuing legal education, information, and professional services. Its goals are to promote justice, advocate for fair and reasonable immigration law and policy, advance the quality of immigration and nationality law and practice, and enhance the professional development of its members.

As you explore immigration law through these and other resources, you may find it offers the right career potential for you.

The 7 Step Guide to Vetting Your Family Law Attorney

Finding the Right Family Law Attorney for YOU

Choosing the right attorney for YOU is a critical decision. And unfortunately, you’re most likely making this decision under stressful and emotional circumstances…or you wouldn’t need a lawyer.

First finding and then vetting lawyers can be a long process but your due diligence will pay long-term life dividends. Bottom line, finding an attorney that is your advocate and that meets YOUR needs as a client is absolutely critical.

I keep emphasizing the word “you” because your needs as a client will always be different than any other client that came before you. You need to find a family law attorney that meets your needs.

To aid you in your search for the right family law attorney, we recommend you review the following items to determine if an attorney is a right fit for you.

#1 Family Law Specialty and Passion

DIY Family Law Agreements: Know When to Consult a Lawyer | Insights

This may seem basic, but you MUST work with an attorney that specializes in the area of law you need. This does not mean that they simply list the fact that they practice “family law” on their website. When you review the attorney’s digital presence, look for signs that they are experts in family law. One great place to look is at their social media and blog. Are they thought leaders in family law?

Working with an attorney that is a specialist and expert in family law will help you get the results you desire. Think about it…practice makes perfect and repetition has allowed a specialist to hone their craft. And although specialists may cost more, they will be more efficient with your time and will have a better chance of achieving favorable outcomes.

At our law firm, we only practice family and matrimonial law. That’s because our passion lies in helping families overcome some of the worst obstacles in life. Make sure the attorneys you vet can say the same.

#2 Cost of an Attorney

Keeping Your Legal Costs Down in Arizona

How much you pay for your lawyer is an important variable in choosing the right lawyer. Generally, the cost will differ between firms depending on whether the firm and its attorneys are specialists in family law. If you go to a firm that “churns and burns” clients through the doors, you’re most likely to find that the hourly cost is lower. They make their money on volume.

Niche practitioners, although generally more expensive will be more efficient and will achieve better results than a generalist firm (see above section). The cost you pay for your lawyer can range from $300 – $1000/ hour depending on the firm, location, and who you are working with within the firm. If you are working with a partner (who has a ton of experience) you’re going to pay more per hour. If you work with an associate, you’ll see a lower cost per hour.

#3 Experience in Family Law

Family Law - Law Office of Ronald L. Freeman

The number of years that an attorney has been practicing family law is absolutely critical to look at. They may bill themselves as a specialist in family law, but you need to look at the number of years they’ve actually been litigating. You can find this information on avvo.com

Experienced family law attorneys have simply seen more. They’ve failed. They’ve overcome. They’re wiser to the court, its process, and the tactics used by other attorneys. Although you may save money using a less experienced attorney, you have to ask yourself if you’re willing to sacrifice quality for the price. For some, it may not be an option, but if you’re serious about winning your case, finding an attorney with at least 8 years of experience in family law is crucial.

#4 Supporting Team

What does the firm structure look like? Is it a single attorney? Or do they have a support system internally of other lawyers, paralegals, and business managers? I’m not necessarily saying bigger is better but having a team to support you as an attorney can greatly increase the efficiency and efficacy of litigation.

Lawyers talk. They strategize. Lawyers are problem solvers and as you’ve heard…” two heads are better than one”.

#5 Customer Service and Availability

You’re seeking legal counsel because you’re going through a tough time in your life. It could be divorce, child custody, or an alimony fight.No matter the issue, always ask your attorney about availability.

Are they going to be available when you need them? No matter the day or time? Sometimes you may not need to talk to your attorney, but you may still have questions. Do they have a business manager that you can call to ask those questions?

Although availability may not seem like a critical aspect of your relationship with your attorney, being able to call your attorney or an individual at the firm that is representing you when you have a need is priceless.

#6 Attorney Personality Traits

Remember, when you first meet with your attorney, that this is an interview for them. You are the hiring manager. Part of your job is to vet the personality and professional traits of your attorney. What you look for and need in your attorney may be different from another, but generally, the following traits are critical:

  1. Articulate – Can your attorney clearly articulate what they think is a simple and easy-to-understand way?
  2. Confident – When your attorney speaks, are they confident in what they are saying? Do they make direct eye contact?
  3. Thoughtful – Does your attorney give thought to what they say before speaking? Or do they shoot from the hip?
  4. Listener – When you speak, does your attorney listen?
  5. Creative – Does your attorney provide creative insights or solutions to your situation?

#7 Attorney and Law Firm Reviews

What are others saying about the attorney you are considering working closely with? Reviews are a great way to get insights and to learn from others. Generally, reviews are a good indicator of whether an attorney is a good fit for you. Places you can find reviews of your attorney include the below.

  • AVVO
  • Google (simply search for the firm)
  • Super Lawyers

Make the Best Decision for YOU

Choosing the right attorney for you is one of the most important decisions you’ll make. So, take your time, ask the right questions, and grade your lawyer on these 7 criteria. If you intentionally do this, you’ll see the cream rise to the top. And you’ll undoubtedly make the best decision for YOU!


– Mia Poppe