As a US immigration lawyer, I would like to share with you my personal experiences that I had with my clients. Hopefully, we will all learn something from these experiences. Presently, many people from abroad schedule online consultations with their attorneys. However, how do you make sure that they all will be successful?
The most important advice that I can give to someone is to disclose all information. You have no idea how many times I noticed the client was not telling the truth. He says one thing. Yet, his papers “say” something else. The main reason why the client is not comfortable telling the truth is to keep the costs of legal service down. The second reason is because the client does not want to be perceived as a bad person because of something that he has done to “go around” US immigration laws.
If the client is not ready to say how things really are, I can generally find it out myself from his papers anyway. However, it is not possible to do in every case. Some clients do not have any immigration papers. No US immigration lawyer can render a very effective legal service if he does not really know what exactly is going on. I would assume people understand it. It is all common sense.
One time, I had a Ukrainian family who came to see us in Chicago. A young man who entered this country with his work visa wanted to enroll in a local college. His family explained to me that he wanted to improve his knowledge of English.
As I find out later, there were already problems between this young man and US Citizenship and Immigration service. In particular, he violated the terms of his work visa. He quit working for his US employer because he thought along with his family that the pay was low. His employer forwarded this information to our local immigration office.
His family already received several letters from USCIS with regard to this matter. Of course, they wanted us to answer all of them. If you understand something about our laws, you will know that the change of status is not “in the cards.” This young man did not care enough to follow all rules that his work visa encompassed. His entire family chose not to disclose all information about his case. No US immigration lawyer will be able to help very much in this case.
Another “fun” case I had was when a person from another part of Europe came to see us.
He did not speak even one word of English, and his chosen bride did not speak his native language. Surprisingly, he thought he could pull it off. Throughout our conversation, this person claimed his marriage was based on love and not on getting a green card. I was upfront in telling him that it is not going to work on US Citizenship and Immigration Service. Needless to say, he did not want to retain me as his US immigration lawyer.
Another useful advice I can give to someone who will schedule a consultation with an attorney is to allow him or her to lead. Generally, you will get to explain your story in the beginning. In most cases, however, your immigration papers will “explain” it better than you can. Next, your attorney will explore all options available to you. It is best to listen during this time. Do not rush to ask questions. You will have this opportunity towards the end. Do not make your consultation a Q & A session. It will not be productive.
I had clients who did not allow me to say even one complete sentence without interruption. They bombarded me with their questions. I tried to answer all of them. Nevertheless, they kept interrupting me again and again. They seemed to answer their own questions. They heard what they wanted to hear.
Lastly, do not make your consultation a boring experience. You are obviously consulting a US immigration lawyer with a serious matter. Nevertheless, you can make it an enjoyable experience for you and your attorney.