Immigration Law Center on the Internet

Immigration Law Center, L.L.C.
P.O. Box 11032
Montgomery, Alabama 36111-0032 USA

Telephone:  (334) 832-9090
Send email:  CLICK HERE

Published exclusively via the World Wide Web
© 2006 Boyd F. Campbell, All Rights Reserved

Why should I pay a lawyer when I can do it myself?

    Because, you can count on a qualified and experienced immigration lawyer to provide you with the best help and:

   Advise you concerning the latest changes in U.S. immigration law and procedures.  Changes occur often, and major changes have been occurring, both in Congress and within the INS, at a startling rate.

   Help you decide the best course of action, given the facts of your individual situation, your business interests, or your loved ones.

   Represent you before Citizenship and Immigration Services (CIS) of the U.S. Department of Homeland Security, the U.S. Department of Labor (DOL), and the U.S. Department of State (DOS), and at U.S. consulates around the world.

   Stand with you and represent you for years, if necessary, to get immigration matters resolved in the face of long INS processing delays.

   Advise you every step of the way with regard to the immigration or visa matters you have asked the lawyer to file for you, or with regard to other matters concerning your personal life that come up from time to time.

   Prepare all legal documents for filing with the CIS, DOL, and DOS, along with correct filing fees, at the correct office of these agencies.

   Keep you informed with regard to changes in U.S. immigration law and procedures that could affect your case as it makes its way through the federal system.

   Be there to help you if CIS, DOL, or DOS finds something wrong with your case or your individual situation, and help you resolve the matter.

   Stand ready to appeal an adverse decision, denying your petition or application, if necessary, and advise you on what to do next and how to get what you want.

    Remember that CIS considers forms filed with the agency to be legal cases submitted to the agency for adjudication under the federal Administrative Procedures Act.

I can do it myself

    We all like to be self-reliant.  This feeling starts when we are very young.  Those first baby steps are a way of establishing our independence.  We want to be on our own, to be “in control,” to be in charge of our own destinies.  And with all of the self-help legal materials and kits now available — in office supply stores, on the Internet, on message boards, in chat rooms, offered for sale on the World Wide Web and over the radio — it is certainly possible for people with average intelligence and a little common sense to complete basic legal transactions on their own.  But carefully consider what you have at stake — that is, think about what you can afford to lose.
    You may find that drafting a simple lease, a simple will, or filling out an IRS Form 1040-EZ is easy, but actually representing yourself in court or before a government agency may turn out to be more than you bargained for.  If you choose to be your own lawyer, you should at least consult a real one who practices in the court or before the government agency where you wish to be (in other words, a lawyer who knows the law and the rules that you don’t), find out how you might conduct yourself in court or before the government agency, and learn how to identify the facts, evidence, and legal issues that you must present there.
    Also, please remember that if you represent yourself in court or before a government agency, you are responsible for doing all of the work.  The Internet or the World Wide Web may be your friend, and you may be a great web surfer, but the Web won’t do the work for you.  This work may include some or all of the following:  completing necessary court documents, forms, and other paperwork, including pleadings and motions, interviewing witnesses, gathering sworn affidavits (statements) from witnesses, deciding whom to “depose” (or to obtain out-of-court oral statements from) making arrangements with court-reporting services to obtain the out-of-court statements, serving notices of depositions, serving notices of complaints and hearings, and making the kinds of judgments and decisions that a lawyer would have helped you with.
    In court, judges don’t like to see people represent themselves — other than in municipal or small claims courts.  Judges who preside over higher courts (such as district, superior, or circuit courts) are used to talking with lawyers in a “legal shorthand” that moves the cases along and at least gives the judges the feeling they are getting things done.
    In contrast, administrative or government agency bureaucrats do not want to see or speak with lawyers.  Lawyers tend to scare and intimidate them.  Government bureaucrats know that people who seek benefits from them will not know what to do if their benefits are denied.  If they are represented by lawyers, on the other hand, the people’s lawyers can make trouble for the bureaucrats by taking legal steps to appeal or reverse their decisions.
    Finally, if you are not experienced with legal matters, it will likely take a long time to understand the legal issues in the case and how the facts and evidence apply to those issues and how the judge or government bureaucrat will consider them.  It will also take you a bit longer to handle the transaction yourself.  If you are under a time limitation or don't have the personal time to spare in taking matters into your own hands, you may not find it worth the cost in your own time and effort.  Besides, it is what you don't know that will likely hurt you or a loved one.
    Still feel confident you can “do it yourself”?  Please remember this:  Smart people know when they need a lawyer.

    Why should you hire a member of the American Immigration Lawyers Association to help you?  CLICK HERE

    Immigration "consultants" and "notarios" hurt people.  They should be avoided. CLICK HERE and HERE.(Note:  Clicking on these links will take you away from the Immigration Law Center on the Internet.)

Federal judges write:

    "[T]his is immigration law where the issues are seldom simple and the answers are far from clear." Alanis-Bustamente v. Reno, 201 F.3d 1303 (11th Cir. 2000)

    "Whatever guidance the regulations furnish to those cognoscenti familiar with INS procedures, this court, despite many years of legal experience, finds that they yield up meaning only grudgingly and that morsels of comprehension must be pried from mollusks of jargon."  Kwon v. INS, 646 F.2d 909,919 (5th Cir. May 1981)

    Here is our warning again: Your friends, relatives, and co-workers are good sources of bad advice about immigration law and procedures. If you really want to know what to do about an immigration or visa situation, please consult a qualified immigration lawyer. If you don't know one, call the American Immigration Lawyers Association (AILA) in Washington, D.C., toll-free, at 1-800-954-0254.

This page is sponsored by
Immigration Law Center, L.L.C.
P.O. Box 11032
Montgomery, Alabama 36111-0032 U.S.A.

Telephone:  (334) 832-9090

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