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Should I Hire an Immigration Attorney or Should I Represent Myself?

If you have an immigration matter you may be asking yourself if you really need an attorney. You may also dislike or distrust attorneys, or you simply don’t want to pay for one or don’t believe you can afford one. Deciding whether to represent yourself is a big decision that shouldn’t be taken lightly. It will determine the probability of success for your case.

Although the immigration system is set up for individuals to represent themselves, an experienced immigration attorney will help you:

1. Analyze your case and provide you with all of your available options

2. Recommend the best course of action for obtaining legal status

3. Properly prepare and file all the required documents

4. Keep you updated as to recent changes in immigration law and procedure

5. Represent you in court

6. Handle your appeal or advise you on how to proceed next

Immigration law is both complex and constantly changing. You can almost guarantee that if you hire an experienced immigration attorney the process will go much smoother and you won’t feel nearly as lost. Although there are plenty of resources on the Internet or books that will assist you with the process, it is unlikely you will have enough time to figure out your best course of action and how to proceed better than an experienced immigration lawyer. Furthermore, most of the time these books only provide a brief overview of the subject, omitting the specific details that may apply to your case.

Unless you are really well versed in immigration law, you will most likely miss relevant legal issues. You may also be unaware of how to apply the relevant law to your factual situation. Immigration lawyers are trained and experienced in identifying and applying the relevant law to your unique set of facts.

It may seem impossible to afford an attorney due to your current circumstances. Unfortunately, the government does assist in the cost of your representation either. However, with so much at stake I often see family and friends of my clients come to their aid. Furthermore, with the slow economy, attorneys are making their services more affordable by offering free consultations, discounted prices, and payment plans.

Even if I can’t persuade you to hire an attorney, I would at least encourage you to consult with one in preparation for any hearing you may have to attend. Judges don’t like seeing people represent themselves as it slows down the legal process, and you should have some familiarity with the procedures before marching into immigration court.


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