When you’re looking for an immigration attorney, one of the most important things to look for is a consultation. But what does a consultation entail, and what can you expect from it? This guide explains what happens during a consultation with an immigration attorney, what you can ask, how much information you can (and should) provide, and what’s in it for you.
What Happens During a Consultation With a San Francisco Immigration Attorney?
First things first: When you call an immigration attorney for a consultation, you may not speak to the attorney right away. The lawyer may have to call you back, or you may have to schedule a time that the attorney can set aside for you. (This is actually a good thing, because the attorney will prepare a special time just for you, when they’re not focused on another person’s case.)
A consultation usually goes something like this, though every situation is different:
- You explain what you need help with.
- The attorney asks you several questions.
- The attorney gives you an idea of what to expect in your case.
- You have the opportunity to ask any additional questions you have.
Of course, you’re free to ask questions at any point during the conversation – but the attorney will usually ask if you need help with anything else at the end of your conversation.
Explaining Your Immigration Issue
Whether you’re trying to get help with a business immigration issue or you need to get asylum in the United States, you have the opportunity to explain your circumstances to the attorney. The more you can explain, the better; that’s because the attorney will use this information to give you better answers.
What Questions Will the Attorney Ask You?
The attorney will likely ask you several questions. Most will be specific to your case. Some standard questions include:
- What is your current immigration status?
- When did you come to the United States?
- Do you have any family members who are U.S. citizens or lawful permanent residents?
- What is your criminal history, if any?
- Have you ever been deported from the United States?
- What is your current employment situation?
- Do you have any other immigration issues?
Getting Guidance From an Immigration Attorney
After the immigration attorney is familiar with your case – or at least has a basic understanding of what you want to accomplish, she’ll give you her professional opinion on what to do next and, in some cases, possible outcomes you may be facing.
Asking Questions of the Attorney
You’re also free to ask the attorney questions. You might want to ask about their experience, or how often they’ve handled cases like yours. You can also ask what kinds of outcomes they’ve seen in similar cases. The following section outlines common questions you should ask any San Francisco immigration attorney you’re considering working with.
Related: Why U.S. citizenship matters
What Questions Should You Ask a San Francisco Immigration Attorney?
When you’re looking for an immigration attorney, it’s important to ask questions so that you can find the right attorney for your case. Here are some questions you should ask:
- Do you focus only on immigration law? Though it’s okay to work with an attorney who practices other types of law, it’s generally best to work with one who only focuses on immigration law. That’s because an attorney who practices in several different areas will have a tough time keeping up with changes to U.S. immigration law, and they may not know all the ins and outs of cases like yours.
- How long have you been practicing immigration law? You may find that the more experience an attorney has, the better. That’s because an experienced attorney will have handled a variety of cases and knows what to expect.
- Do you have experience with cases like mine? You want to make sure that the attorney you’re working with has handled a case similar to yours before. If they haven’t, they may not know what to expect or how to properly handle your case.
- What is your success rate? This is an important question to ask. You want to know if the attorney you’re working with has a good track record of winning cases like yours.
- What are the possible outcomes of my case? You want to know what you can expect from your case – and what the worst-case scenario may be. This will help you to prepare for the future and make sure you’re making the best decisions for your case.
- What are the next steps? You want to know what you need to do next – and what the attorney will be doing to help you. This will help you to stay on track and make sure you’re doing everything you can to win your case.
- How do you communicate with your clients? You want to know how you’ll be able to get in touch with the attorney – and how often. You also want to know if they’re available to answer your questions.
- What are your fees? You should always ask about fees before you hire an attorney. You want to make sure you can afford their services and that you’re clear on what they’ll be charging you.
Common Questions About Consultations With Immigration Attorneys
Check out these commonly asked questions about what happens during a consultation with an immigration attorney.
Can You Discuss Very Specific Issues With an Immigration Attorney During a Consultation?
You should discuss your issue, in as much detail as necessary, during your consultation. This will give the attorney a chance to understand your case and give you their professional opinion. You should also ask any questions you have about your case, so that you can make an informed decision about whether or not to hire the attorney.
Related: Deportation defense information
Can a Lawyer Tell Anyone Else What You Tell Them During a Consultation?
An attorney is bound by law to keep almost everything you tell them confidential. This means that they can’t tell anyone else about your case without your permission – not even their spouse or other family members. The only time an attorney can break confidentiality is if they believe you’re going to hurt yourself or someone else.
If you’re not sure and want to double-check, you can always ask the attorney, “Is this considered privileged communication?” Your attorney can reassure you that anything you tell them is private and only between you two.
Do Immigration Attorneys Turn People in to Immigration and Customs Enforcement or U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services?
Even if you’re in the U.S. unlawfully, your immigration lawyer isn’t going to turn you in to immigration officials, including ICE and USCIS. That means you can seek legal counsel without fearing deportation. You can feel safe discussing your case with an immigration attorney – they’re there to help you, not hurt you.
Related: Everything you need to know about naturalization
What if the Attorney You Talk to Can’t Help You?
In some cases, there’s nothing an immigration attorney can do. Sometimes, people who are in the U.S. unlawfully must leave the country; there’s no other option. It may not be possible to get lawful status. But don’t worry: your attorney will explore every possible avenue in order to help you get the outcome you want.
What is a Notario Publico?
A notario publico is not an attorney and cannot give legal advice in the United States. If you go to a notario publico for help with your immigration case, you will not get the help you need. You may end up making your case worse – or even getting deported.
Unfortunately, many people fall for notario publico scams; that’s because real notario publicos are a professionals authorized to practice law in many Latin American countries (but not in the United States). Only a licensed U.S. attorney can give you legal advice about your immigration case.
Can an Immigration Attorney Guarantee a Specific Outcome in Your Case?
Anyone who tells you they can guarantee a specific outcome in your immigration case is not being honest with you. The truth is that no one can guarantee anything when it comes to immigration law. The best an attorney can do is give you their professional opinion and let you know what’s most likely to happen.
Do You Need a Consultation With an Immigration Attorney in San Francisco?
If you need help with an immigration issue, we can help. Call our office today to schedule a consultation with Warren Law Firm. We’ll answer your questions and give you the guidance you need.