February - 2014 - issue > Attorney Viewpoint

5 Reasons Why You Need a Good Immigration Lawyer

Charles H. Kuck
Monday, February 10, 2014
Charles H. Kuck
The most common question I get from people with immigration issues is the question not being asked. When they realize they are talking with an immigration lawyer what they really want to know is-- "Why do I even need a lawyer? Aren't you going to charge me an arm and a leg for something I can just do myself?" Coming from a non-professional baker who still prefers to knead his own bread, I can understand why people who are not lawyers consider this. Especially because when you seek quality legal representation you can expect it will not be inexpensive. But here are five reasons why hiring an immigration lawyer can be priceless:

First, good immigration attorneys can actually save you money. I don't know how many times I've consulted with people who took the time to file forms or applications that were not necessary. They lose time and money, and then some more money when they have to correct their mistakes. Let's prevent those mistakes!

Second, good immigration attorneys will save your case. Not only filing the wrong forms put you out time and money, but it could result in bad situation for you and your family. Many recent immigrants that I met face a reality check when they first arrive to the U.S. Their Hollywood images of glamorous parties and people joyfully riding convertibles down tree lined streets are quickly shattered as they face the reality-that is life as a hardworking taxpayer. Of course this rarely dissuades people from wanting to live in and contribute to a beautiful country they love and believe in, but in order to do so they have to be able to maneuver the laws that permit them to stay. So many good-intentioned folks end up in removal proceedings, separated from family for months and years, unable to work or go to school, simply because they preferred to try and take care of their immigration case themselves. In some asylum cases, mistakes can cost one the ultimate price-their life. The lesson they learn the hard way is there are some mistakes that are impossible to correct, no matter how much money or talent you throw at them.

Third, when you hire someone who will provide you with quality service, the first thing they offer you is something invaluable-Peace of mind. I know how hard it is to have immigration concerns. I appreciate the feeling of insecurity and instability that comes along with that. Trying to decipher archaic immigration laws and regulations will not help your situation; it will only make it worse. This is not to say we don't encourage you to be informed and involved in your case. On the contrary, the cases with the best results were mainly from clients who were on top of their own case. It is one thing to understand your case and be available and interested in assisting with the process, and it is a completely different matter to do it yourself to maintain complete control over it. Please, for your sake, let go, keep watch, and let the experts handle it.

Fourth, it takes skill (and I would argue it also helps to have a law degree). Attorneys are not just people who happen to wear suits and carry briefcases. To graduate law school and pass the bar, one must have vested countless hours studying, reading, writing, and practicing. Student loans remain with many of us for decades, an unpleasant reminder of this investment. And the education does not end when the lawyer passes the bar. Continuing legal education is an obligation for every attorney to maintain their license to practice. We travel far and wide to conferences, listen to lectures in our cars, travel and volunteer at professional organizational events (such as American Immigration Lawyers Association), sign in to message boards, and read law books. It takes constant effort to keep abreast of the constant changing laws and regulations and to maintain our fitness to practice. Every hour an attorney spends on your case represents hundreds of hours he or she has spent on training herself to be an effective advocate. You can't duplicate these results by simply reading a couple articles you find in your Google search, just like you cannot properly diagnose and treat a serious medical condition by searching WebMD.

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