Advice from Your Immigration Attorney
Getting Advice from an Online Forum
Question and Answer in Forum: Even when it’s an immigration attorney who replies to your question online (and sometimes, it’s a non-attorney with unanswered questions like you), it is not the same as having representation. It is not a guarantee that the information/answer even applies to your case.
Even with an attorney’s written reply, notice how it must also contain a “Disclaimer” which waters down the answer by stating:
- The information posted here is of a general nature;
- may not apply to any particular set of facts;
- may not apply under all circumstances;
- it should not be considered to be legal advice;
- does not constitute an engagement of any particular law firm;
- does not establish an attorney-client relationship.
In other words, it is stuff to consider before you make up your own mind what to do next.
Advantages of an Expert Opinion
When an immigration attorney replies to your question off-line, face-to- face/by phone, you actually are getting an expert opinion, that is, advice from a bona fide legal counselor who is qualified to become your legal representative. And you are interacting with someone who can understand, organize and compile your case to present to a decision-maker to rule on your petition.
Professional Representation from an Immigration Attorney gives value in three ways: your attorney functions as: (1) consultant (expert); (2), counselor (advisor), and (3) coordinator (writes and assembles essential documents) for communicating with Immigration authorities to win favorable result to your case.
Attorney as expert: Not merely law school and previous experience with cases similar to clients; these actions and resulting expertise are all in the past. The practice of Immigration law requires present time action: this means the ongoing monitoring of the changes in law and procedures. These changes are the necessary responses to create efficiencies in both number and types of cases.
For Instance: Your attorney, as member of American Immigration Lawyers Association
(AILA) receives bulletins advising about most up-to-date changes in law/procedures, as well as the efficiencies/improvements to managing immigration processes
For Example: Members of AILA received a December 2010 “Practice Advisory” explaining the “best practices” for avoiding delays in processing and communications between agencies involved in handling requests for waiver of the INA §212(e) home residency requirement prior to adjudicating a J-1 exchange visitor’s change of status. This put immigration attorneys on alert for possible issuance of RFE (Request for Evidence) arising out of a new procedure. Immigration attorneys were also advised how best to submit paperwork to “ensure that CSC can coordinate with VSC as part of the overall petition adjudication.” Obviously, these “tips” are meant to keep immigration attorney members up-to-speed with the most recent changes/improvements to practice and are conveyed in a language that a forum visitor would not readily understand.
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