Me and my wife used a lawyer. A very nice guy, very professional, but don't think he was worth the money. He charged $700. He filed the paperwork which was easy - now we realize! As soon as he filed, the told us that we need an NOC (No Objection Certificate) from the Pakistani Government. That is the hard part (and to be honest with you that's what I thought I was hiring him for). Anyway, after some major headbutting we managed (after 7 mths) to get an NOC. That is the HARDEST part. Once all the paperwork was with the state department then we just left things with them. Feb 14th 09 - Nov 10th 09 to get the J-1 Waiver. The longest wait was for the NOC.
My wife needed a J-1 Waiver. he did the paperwork, but to be honest with you, I now realize that it's not rocket science. I would do it myself next time if needed. After all we did 90% of the running around for the important stuff, the easy stuff 10% the lawyer did for which I paid him $700. Not worth it in my opinion.
Seriously, I find it funny how well educated people find it hard to fill out a form that has instructions attached to it. Using a lawyer does not mean 'approval' by any means. In complex cases, by all means, hand it to a lawyer, but for most peoples skill level the forms can be filled out and one can save a few hundred (sometimes thousand) bucks.
Are you talking about J1 Physician waiver? $700 is quite cheap. And you don't need NOC..