Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)
Can I ask you a quick question over the phone?
The short answer is “No.” This is to protect you. Immigration law is complicated. Really. And it is counter-intuitive. I can answer a quick question correctly, but taken out of context, it can cause you problems. Also, you may be asking me the wrong question. That being said, please definitely call if you would like to get acquainted with me and get a feel for my office before scheduling an appointment.
But it’s very simple…
There is nothing simple in immigration law. I learn new things everyday. I am constantly researching issues. Concepts are difficult to explain and grasp. It has been said that immigration law is the second most complex code of law after the U.S. Tax Code. However, I do try to make things as easy as possible and user friendly for you if you end up working with me.
Why do I have to schedule a consultation?
I schedule consultations so that you can have my full concentration. When you call, I may be working on a case, about to meet with a client, or about to leave my office to attend a hearing and may not be able to talk for very long. I prefer to meet with you in person in my office so that we can communicate better. But, if we have to, we can meet by Skype or do a phone consult. It takes time for me to understand your facts and circumstances, your needs, and your immigration history. It also takes time for me to explain legal concepts and your options to you.
What is your consultation fee?
My consult fee is $200. If you hire me for your case within one week, I will credit this fee. So, in effect, it becomes a free consultation. My consult will be cost-effective for you and answer your questions. You will come out of it either knowing that you do not have a case and that it is unsafe for you to file any paperwork, or more likely, you will understand your different options, the process and timelines. You will have life-changing answers to your important questions. You may even avoid spending money on incorrect applications or fees.
Why do I have to pay a consultation fee just for advice?
You are paying for my time and expertise, as well as advice. My advice is valuable and will affect your life in a positive way. I am an expert in immigration law, have a lot of experience, will steer you in the right direction, will save you time, and will help prevent mistakes. If you hire me within one week, I credit the fee, so it ends up being the same as a free consultation.
What are your legal fees?
I cannot quote your exact legal fee until I know all the facts and circumstances of your case, have analyzed it, and know what I will be doing. You may think that you want to hire me for X, but after speaking with me, may come to discover that I advise you to apply for Y or Z. Each case is unique. In the end, there is never really a “normal” or “simple” case. In fact, I wish there were more of those! Waiting until I know and understand everything also prevents misunderstanding and bad feelings that can come from underestimating or overestimating a fee because I didn’t know all the facts.
I charge flat fees for my legal services, so you will know up front what you will be paying. These fees are almost always payable in a couple of installments over the life of the case. I think that you will find that many immigration lawyers charge similar fees. Newer, or less established attorneys may charge fees on the lower end, and others may be on the higher end. So it really comes down to choosing someone whom you intuitively feel is right for you.
So what are your ballpark fees?
See my answer above.
How experienced are you?
Very. I have 16 years of experience in immigration law working with hundreds of clients. I have been certified as a Legal Specialist in Immigration and Nationality Law by the Board of Legal Specialization of the State Bar of California, and have been appointed by the State Bar to be on the Board’s Immigration and Nationality Law Advisory Commission. I have been an Adjunct Professor and taught immigration law at a law school while running my practice. My students taught me, and teaching refined my expertise in the subject matter even more. Most important, when you become a client, I will listen to you, and advocate tirelessly for you as well.