Selecting a lawyer: Background check

formalizingBiz

Registered Users (C)
I am currently looking for a lawyer to look into some case. I hired one to look into the same case a couple of months ago, but she did not handle the case well (in my opinion). I am trying something new this time. I am looking for a lawyer online. Working with a lawyer online has its pros, but there are also cons, one of which is difficulty of finding out about his/her background and track record. How can we find out about lawyer's background and track record online?
 

I612

Registered Users (C)
I am struggling with the same issue. In the process of changing lawyers and not sure what to do. See my post in the physician's subforum. Now I tried googling the names and see if anything comes up. What happens expensive lawyers have a ton of return on google, but all related to weblinks and newsletters. At this point I have come to the conclusion that while working with big firms gives you "peace of mind" or shall I say "less guilt feeling", but then when you see you have paid X3 compared to your friends and are still behind the 8ball because of poor counsil, you realize that you are just a number lost in a sea. I am looking for a small firm that hasn't established a big name yet but wants to do so. The best source is word of mouth. But even when it comes to that I find people's memories shady and forgiving, so you have to ask specifically. So far one thing is for sure; everybodies email response rate drops by 100% after the initial payment. This forum is a good place, but unfortunately non of my friends have used atty Khanna's service, so again you gotta decide on your own.
 

formalizingBiz

Registered Users (C)
I612 said:
So far one thing is for sure; everybodies email response rate drops by 100% after the initial payment.
See, that's very critical. I need to be able to keep in touch with my lawyer online. I don't mind paying for emails if each email response is priced reasonably. But even here, I want clarity and transparency. It is rather difficult to find out that much about my potential lawyer ...
 

I612

Registered Users (C)
JoeF said:
This is a good list of things to look for when selecting a lawyer:
http://www.visalaw.com/hal.html

Agreed, but then this comes from one of the biggest firms. I have never used them but I am guessing they should be good. Are they? I will quote one thing from the list though:

"If an attorney prices way outside of the market – either on the high of the low side – this should be a source of concern. The lawyer may not have any idea how much work is really involved in the case. Or the lawyer may simply be attempting to gouge."

Now I know that this firm is on the expensive side of the pricing scale.
Also being an AILA member just requires paying the membership fee.

My question/concern is to know what is the difference of paying X amount for your LC or Twice that with a different firm? I have so far used the ones that charge twice the amount and actually have "good Rep" too. It is either my bad luck or something else, but haven't been impressed at and that is just saying the least. This is why I am out there searching for a new lawyer. If the extra money makes things work faster or guarantees anything then I am willing, otherwise I want to spend my own hard earned money on stuff that I need.
 

formalizingBiz

Registered Users (C)
JoeF said:
Sure, but that's the sign of a professional. AILA has a standing liaison with CIS, and a lawyer who is not an ALIA member ist cut out from that.
Every profession has organizations that help the profession. For technical people, this is IEEE or ACM, for immigration lawyers, it is AILA. A lawyer who tries to save a few bucks by not being an AILA member is not acting professionally, nor in the best interest of his or her clients.
... so this is one question we should definitely ask then? We should definitely ask if the attorney is a member of AILA?
 

Jim Mills

Registered Users (C)
IMHO, AILA membership is imperative. Some attorneys are big names, due to their publications, website exposure, or firm size, but this is not always indicative that they are significantly better than a less know attorney. I have also seen experienced, extremely competent, attorneys get so busy that they do not spend the time necessary to properly handle cases. Larger, established firms have much greater overhead expenditures and therefore must charge higher fees. On the other hand, small attorneys who work from their home frequently do not have the resources to properly handle cases and sometimes do not have the experience either. The can, however, charge much lower fees due to much lower overhead and also may be more focussed on a particular case.

For an established firm with high overhead to compete with the small solos, they need to pay employees less or operate on high volume, which usually means that attorneys take less of a role with each case and most case processing, and client questions whenever possible, are handled by paralegals.

Joe makes a good point. I was an immigration attorney for years and new nothing of representing clients in immigration court, asylum, NACARA, TPS, . . . I was only handling business immigration cases. Then, about 3 years ago, I started handling immigration court and other similar matters.

BTW, I recently had an article published in the Winter ABA newsletter, which can be seen at: http://meetings.abanet.org/webupload/commupload/IC925000/newsletterpubs/immigrationWinter2006.PDF
 

formalizingBiz

Registered Users (C)
Hi Jim,

As a potential client, what questions should I ask to attorneys to see if they are competent or not besides AILA membership question?
 

I612

Registered Users (C)
I think you should ask questions about how they are going to handle your case. I have learned that the only way for me is to educate myself before talking to a lawyer so when I hear something that doesn't make sense a red bulb goes off in my brain. That is why I love this forum. Lots of great information and you learn from others mistakes. Obviously you try to reach out and tell other people not to make your mistakes too. At this point of my life I need H1B and PERM; they should be relatively simple, just fill out the right forms with the correct supporting documents. But then you see so many not go through. I have got couple of leads from this forum and am calling to see who comes across as honest & hardworking. I would rather have the same lawyer look over the process than be handed over to a secretary after the 1st interview. I am sure if you train a secretary they will do the work, but then why pay lawyer fees.
 
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