Finding the Right Immigration Lawyer in Grand Rapids- Part 1

There may come a time when it is necessary to seek the assistance of an immigration lawyer. As with all professions, there are many qualified, competent immigration lawyers, and some that are not. Unfortunately, there is no reliable directory to assist you in determining which ones are good and which ones are not. Over the course of the next few weeks I will provide you with some general guidelines on choosing a lawyer and also provide you with an overview of information you should be aware of when working with the lawyer and his staff. 

There are a number of lawyers to choose from; and with more than 8000 immigration lawyers practicing in the United States, the process of selecting just the right one can be difficult. The lawyer should be able to provide you with a preliminary analysis of your case and a plan for achieving your goals. A good immigration lawyer should be able to give you an honest and thorough assessment of your case and be able to explain the options that are available to you based on not only the current law, but also changes that are in the legislative and judicial pipeline at any given time. The lawyer can then work with you to prepare your case and represent you in from of the administrative agency handling your matter. The lawyer should be able to explain to the government why your case meets the requirements of the law and if problems arise, will use additional resources to help resolve the issue or prepare your case for an appeal.
Prior to your search for an immigration lawyer, it is extremely important that you do your homework. Your homework is actually quite simple but, the dividends pay big. Consider the following before you meet with the prospective immigration lawyer:
1.  Know what your goals are and do some basic research – but also be aware that immigration law can be very complex and a little bit of knowledge is a dangerous thing. There is a lot of “information” out there but not all of it is accurate or relevant to your situation.
2.  Be honest in your dealings with the prospective immigration lawyer as he or she may need to have a clear, accurate picture of your situation to give you the best advice possible. If you have worked without permission, neglected to file a tax return, arrested, or overstayed your ability to stay in the United States, the immigration lawyer needs to know this as it may affect your immigration options. Remember that your discussions with the prospective immigration lawyer and his or her staff are confidential.
3.  Gather all your immigration documents, which include any documents relating to your education, accomplishments, marriages, divorces, birth of children, arrests, convictions, etc. These documents are extremely helpful to the immigration lawyer when discussion the options available to achieving you goals.
In Part 2 of this topic, I will be covering some factors to consider when hiring an immigration lawyer. However, in the meantime, if you have an immigration question and wish to speak with me, call my office at 616-233-9300 and we can begin the process of creating an immigration strategy plan for you.   
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