hadron said:It seems tempting to go with one of the big companies. One problem with these corporations is that you often deal with paralegals and secretaries instead of the attorney him/herself. It is the difference between having your attorneys pager programmed on your cellphone vs endless emailing back and forth with some marginally competent paralegal to get a simple question answered.
So, if you can find an individual attorney who is versed in the specific area of immigration law applicable to you, it can make things a lot smoother. Personal references from other physicians who had similar cases handled by this attorney are key.
hadron said:Sorry Mr Khanna to have stepped on your toes there.
My comments where in no way or form relating to your office or specifically relating to any of the other large offices mentioned in this and other threads.
hadron said:As I have pointed out before, there are undoubtedly advantages to working with a larger and more renowned firm. One is that these firms often have specialists for the various aspects of immigration law. One partner (or associate) might have special expertise in adjustment of status issues, another one might be the expert on NIW or EB-1 related issues (access to the standard legal research tools is certainly not limited to large practices, or is it ?).
hadron said:My comments should not be understood that I suggest to take your J1 waiver+NIW+LC case to the 'abogado' at the street corner who deals with everything from wills to DUIs. But there are excellent attorneys working out of small 1 and 2 person offices who have specialized in physician or scientist immigration matters and successfully completed cases that some of the big firms had turned down. Key is to find someone competent in the area of law you need counsel. Websites and high-profile congressional testimony are certainly impressive, but nothing replaces the power of references from colleagues who had similar situations handled by the same attorney.
In my experience there are 4 kinds of immigration attorneys. 2 to stay away from, 2 to choose from.
The predatory crooks:
This highly unethical breed will take every case, screw it up beyond repair, leech large amounts of fees out of their by now desperate clients. Every phonecall requires another cheque, the work is shoddy, deadlines are missed, receipt notices are kept from the client and dated correspondence is nowhere to be found. In the end the client faces in the best case just an interruption of his medical career in the US, in the worst case removal proceedings. The client has no recourse against these crooks and they know it. The bar associations are ineffective tools of attorney self-policing and just shrug their shoulders if a complaint is brought before them. In order to bring malpractice action against an attorney, you have to proove that he willfully harmed you or cooperated with the opposing side. (an attorney being incompetent is considered a normal feature of the profession and no grounds for malpractice action. Compare that with physician malpractice.....)
hadron said:The corner office H1b/deportation/familyreunion grocery store:
They will take every case but might have no clue about the issues specific to physician and scientist immigration.
hadron said:The big companies:
They might have 7 or 10 partners and 20 staff associates. Yes, there are experts in every field and all the resources of the legal profession available. But working with them might involve a certain amount of 'friction loss' due to the internal hierarchy. They undoubtedly will get the job done, but sometimes you have to realize that you are just another number in their case docket. Another phenomenon is that initially (before the check with your retainer gets cashed), you are talking to the big name partner. Later, when the rubber meets the road, you get pawned off to some junior associate who is fresh out of law-school (kind of like seeing the attending orthopedic surgeon for the pre-op to find out that he has a PA to handle most of the post-op care and complication management....)
If you plan on going with one of these companies, be sure to talk to someone who had work done there. Don't be too impressed with websites or prominent positions of the seniors with AILA and the like. It is the work they do for YOU that counts, not the public appearance.
hadron said:The experts:
Small, highly specialized offices concentrating on an area such as physician immigration. They will freely admit it if your case doesn't fit their profile or if they are currently to busy to take on another complicated case (and refer you to someone who can help you). If you find one, hold on to him or her and spread the good word in your hospital/residency program.
hadron said:First of all: Great site. Thanks for maintaining it and putting up with all the bitching from users if there are technical glitches ;-)) It has been an invaluable resource for many people.
hadron said:> There is nothing esoteric about scientists' immigration.
I was talking about things like 'extraordinary ability' petitions or 'outstanding researcher petitions', NYS-DOT type NIW cases, 'special handling labor certs' O1 visas and the like.
I think they are a subspecialty area and the typical 'batch IT related H1b' office would probably not the right place to go to.
hadron said:> For physicians, things can get tricky if one does not understand
> the issues related to J-1 waivers. A physician who is on H-1 with
> no prior J-1 has to go through EXACTLY the same steps for GC
> as the rest of the world.
Well, except that:
- he has the option of filing for a 'physician in underserved area NIW'.
hadron said:- he might have to deal with 'ability to pay' issues if the case is filed by a small office organized as a 'P.C.' (which typically doesn't report the 135k annual 'profit' required for a LC based I140....)
hadron said:- might have to deal with collections based income which might or might not be more than the arbitrary 'prevailing wage'.
hadron said:- someone engaged in hardcore research might have some of the options mentioned above (circumventing 5 year labor certification times in some of the notorious states PERM nonwithstanding).
hadron said:So, in the end I do believe it is a good idea to go to someone who handles physician cases on a regular basis.
hadron said:> The standards for legal practice are exactly the same as
> medical malpractice. That is where you need to revise
> your opinion. Also, Bar complaints are investigated
> thoroughly (at least in our area)
Sorry to disagree with you there. In todays medicolegal environment, a bad outcome is defined as de-facto medical malpractice. Even if the physician can proove that he adhered to the standard of care, it means nothing to the 12 village idiots rounded up for the jury.
hadron said:Bar complaints are investigated by other attorneys, not an entity independent from the profession. A bad outcome (negative CIS decision, lost trial) is not a reason to question the actions of the attorney. It takes egregious misconduct on the side of the attorney (and the ability to proove it on the side of the client) to prevail in an attorney malpractice situation.
Kristi is my attorney. She worked on my J-1 waiver and H1-b petition and I am hiring her for change of status to green card after the waiver is over. She only practices immigration laws from what I know. Responses are prompt (either via email or by phone). She was pretty much on top of everything in terms of paperwork and filing. Most importantly, she is very pleasant to talk to.docboston said:Has anyone worked with attorney Kristi Crawford for green card? One of my friends is recommending her highly. I was thinking of going with usual, high profile lawyers, either, Rajeev, Siskind or shusterman