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Lawyer vs. self

Lawyer vs. self

Old Jul 13th 2002, 2:26 pm
  #1  
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Default Lawyer vs. self

What are people's experiences with immigration lawyers? Are they worth it? Any recommendations? I just don't want to pay $1000 for someone to say "yep, you've got everything correct, well done". Is doing it yourself worth the stress? Sorry if this has already been asked. Going through every thread is very time consuming. Thanks!
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Old Jul 13th 2002, 6:17 pm
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Default Re: Lawyer vs. self

Hi beyness,

We used a lawyer for the US portion of the K1 (getting the initial petition together) but only because my fiance is very busy and travels a lot on business. For us it was nice to have someone who would be able to take all the detail work off his hands. We were really happy with the work they did, but usually you really do not need a lawyer. It's not necessary at all. There is tons of information online, some websites exactly outlining what papers you need to submit etc. And if you are unsure about anything, you can ask here. Unless there are issues that make your case difficult (like a criminal record for instance) I would suggest save the money and do it yourself.

Jeannine
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Old Jul 13th 2002, 8:20 pm
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Default Re: Lawyer vs. self

We didn't use an attorney; we did it alone. I used to always think that there was no
use in using an attorney, but I might do it differently if I had it to do all over
again. We had lots of problems once we got to the green card part. It was nothing
that we did wrong ourselves - just lots of INS mistakes. Without an attorney we had
almost no recourse in getting the mistakes resolved, movement on our apparently lost
file, etc. I'm just tired from all of the stress and hassle we've gone through, and
it would have been nice to be able to say to an attorney "take care of it for us
please." As it is, we now have a conditional green card that should have been a
non-conditional one (we were never told to come get the passport stamp so we never
knew the AOS had been approved and therefore didn't know they'd mistakenly given us
conditional status) and our only recourse is to write a letter to our district
office. Since our letters have never made a difference in the past, we don't foresee
that one will make a difference this time either. If we could afford an attorney now
(we can't; one of us lost their job recently and is working a new job at half the
salary), we'd probably hire one just to rid ourselves of the worry and hassle. God
willing, we're almost done.
 
Old Jul 13th 2002, 8:29 pm
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Default Re: Lawyer vs. self

I am using an attorney because me and my husband are too busy. It seems worthwhile because all I had to do was get everything together (that she requested) and go sign the paperwork once ready. It is very stress free and fast. I figured by the time I read all the forms and get it right it will be a year before I would do my AOS. Using an attorney is definitely worthwhile if you are busy. I was referred to her by one of my friends who used her.
The lawyer does not only say, "yep, you've got everything done." They do it for you. I think it is worth it. But until I have my AOS interview....I really don't know!!
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Old Jul 13th 2002, 10:20 pm
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Default Re: Lawyer vs. self

beyness <[email protected]> wrote in message
news:<[email protected]>...
    > What are people's experiences with immigration lawyers? Are they worth it? Any
    > recommendations? I just don't want to pay $1000 for someone to say "yep, you've
    > got everything correct, well done". Is doing it yourself worth the stress? Sorry
    > if this has already been asked. Going through every thread is very time
    > consuming. Thanks!

    > --

It was my experience that using the newsgroup, faq, and recommended websites was much
more reliable than even considering using a lawyer. Too many times I've seen posts
from people saying "my lawyer said this (photo, evidence, experience, whatever) is
bad and will hold things up. Is he right?" only to have the majority of responses say
"your lawyer isn't right."

The newsgroup is free (well, unless you pay by the hour for your internet time ),
always available, and responses are quick. You can almost always find people who are
dealing with the exact same countries, consulates, and service centers as you. It's
also much better to have a place full of sympathetic people to vent to when the
stress gets high, and to possibly meet up with locally for support, celebrations, and
even possibly people from the same place as your fiance(e).

Use Google to search the newsgroup and you can find answers to a lot of things
already. Even tricky situations, or weird/awkward/strange questions that a lawyer
might never have dealt with.

It IS a lot of paperwork, and it IS stressful, but really... it was nothing compared
to NOT being with Ian. I would have done much more to get him here.
 
Old Jul 14th 2002, 12:20 am
  #6  
Mark A. Fuller
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Default Re: Lawyer vs. self

I agree with Maggie's response. You can get enough info from this group and web sites
to do it yourself. Most people do it themselves. If you're short on time, it can be
worth the money to pay a lawyer to file for you. Also, there is the occasional
unfortunate filing that gets misplaced. Paying a lawyer, a good one, could give you
some remedies beyond setting on the phone for a week trying to talk to someone at
INS. I suspect lawyers who regularly file have some contacts or ways of checking into
things that we don't have.

I paid a lawyer to file my K3 papers for the same reason Maggie stated. I also wanted
that insurance if anything went wrong the lawyer might have some ideas on how to
correct it. I used Holmes & Lolly, but I don't recommend them. They dropped the ball
at almost every opportunity. They generated an RFE and sent it to me to complete and
send to INS myself. See my earlier posting [1].

I used John Dorer at www.usavisanow.com to file my EAD and AOS. He has discount
prices. At these prices he's not available to discuss your every question at length.
He tends to conduct everything in email, and his goal is to get a retainer and
complete the work -- and move on to the next one to keep his prices low. This can be
a little unnerving. But I've seen others post good experiences. I went that route and
was very happy with his service.

Matt Udall (http://members.aol.com/MDUdall/fiancee.htm) receives many
recommendations in this group. He posts here regularly. I think that's a giant plus.
He mixes with the do-it-yourselfers and is in a public forum where any unhappy
customers (if there were any) would take him to task. His prices are between John
Dorer's and Holmes & Lolly's.

As I said, I don't recommend Holmes & Lolly. Their prices are twice Udall's and 3-4
times more than Dorer's. Their selling point is that they will continue to assist
(in the form of consulting) in your ongoing immigration issues (AOS, removal of
conditions). Besides all the bungling when we weren't even in the "consult" mode, I
was left wondering what the promise of ongoing service would be like when they
kicked the RFE to me to respond to. After paying twice the money and getting an
eager "it's not my job" response, it really diminished the value they say you're
paying a *premium* for. They might be cleaning up their act. Hopefully others who
have had a good experience can say something. But my experience leaves me with a big
"thumbs down".

Hope this helps! If you've got the money and want some peace of mind, use Dorer or
Udall. If you need more peace of mind than a quick relatioship through the mail,
use Udall.

Mark

[1]http://groups.google.com/groups?q=mf...rriage-based&h
l=en&lr=&ie=UTF-8&selm=f81d1c42.0206270938.4dc159d6%40posting.goog le.com&rnu m=1
also see a similar posting

http://groups.google.com/groups?q=mf...rriage-based&h
l=en&lr=&ie=UTF-8&selm=f81d1c42.0207031303.4e0a3f7b%40posting.goog le.com&rnu m=1

"beyness" <[email protected]> wrote in message
news:[email protected]...
    > What are people's experiences with immigration lawyers? Are they worth it? Any
    > recommendations? I just don't want to pay $1000 for someone to say "yep, you've
    > got everything correct, well done". Is doing it yourself worth the stress? Sorry
    > if this has already been asked. Going through every thread is very time
    > consuming. Thanks!
    >
    >
    >
    > --
 
Old Jul 14th 2002, 5:20 am
  #7  
Robin
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Default Re: Lawyer vs. self

If you are somewhat detail oriented and can follow instructions, then you really
don't need a lawyer (unless you have a special case). I put together the paperwork
for the I-129F petition and my fiance did the consulate paperwork. He was approved
and given the K1 Visa last Wednesday.

The timeline:

May 9th - Sent I-129F petition to VSC May 10th - Notice of Action - actual paper rcvd
May 15th May 24th - Notice of Approval on VSC recording - two weeks later rcvd the
actual paper. Mid-June - Fiance and son had medical appointments. Son had to get a
Hep-B vaccination. July 8th - Fiance's interview at the consulate. He didn't take the
original of the I-134 with him so he had to take it back the following day (tues).
July 10th - Fiance and son received K1 Visas and the brown envelopes.
 
Old Jul 15th 2002, 12:49 am
  #8  
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Default Re: Lawyer vs. self

It is the Green Card where you generally see problems with INS doing errors as you read from the previous postings.

You may the following helpful if you are filling K-1 by yourself at:

http://warsaw-visaguide.hypermart.net/
http://www.visapro.com/Fiance-Visa/K1-Fiancee-Visa.asp


Paul @ HelpDesk
 
Old Jul 15th 2002, 1:17 am
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Default Re: Lawyer vs. self

What it comes down to is you and your fiancee. How detail oriented are you? How comfortable are you with following instructions and weeding out potential problem areas? Do either of you have issues that might cause problems, i.e. overstays, health and money issues, criminal history even as a minor? Are you aggresive without being nasty if a problem arises and needs you to run interference with either the department of state or department of justice?

The forms are easy enough and there are plenty of people here on this newsgroup and enough websites established and as up-to-date as possible to help you through a Do-It-Youself processing.

So my advise is to look at yourselves honesty and decide if you can handle it. If you can, then go to it. If you can't, then the money you spent will be well worth it if you hire an attorney who is experienced.

For the other poster who remarked about various posters complaining about incompetent attorneys, bear in mind that those people are the ones that find their where here for help rather than people who did hire competent attorneys.

Rete
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Old Jul 15th 2002, 6:20 am
  #10  
Kim R.
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Default Re: Lawyer vs. self

The paperwork is time consuming and at times difficult to understand, but I did it
all on my own and haven't encountered any problems so far. This group was fantastic
for answering any questions I had about the paperwork and their advice is free.

--
Kim R.

beyness <[email protected]> wrote in message
news:[email protected]...
    > What are people's experiences with immigration lawyers? Are they worth it? Any
    > recommendations? I just don't want to pay $1000 for someone to say "yep, you've
    > got everything correct, well done". Is doing it yourself worth the stress? Sorry
    > if this has already been asked. Going through every thread is very time
    > consuming. Thanks!
    >
    >
    >
    > --
 
Old Jul 15th 2002, 7:43 am
  #11  
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Default Re: Lawyer vs. self

I decided to do it myself, and (and almost succeded).
The help and advice I received from here was fantastic, however
I came up against 3 problems.

1/. At one point I was getting so many conflicting opinions on a question I had on the I-864, that in the end I paid a London lawyer £250 for their advice on a one off consultancy and their advice was invaluable (the fee also included a few follow up faxes
and emails on a couple of other potential "banana skins")

2/. I did follow the instructions of an immigration lawyer on another site, regarding an I-864A problem I had, which resulted
in an RFE at my interview.

3/. I did not realise that I needed a letter from my ex-wife giving
permission to take my 17 year old daughter with me.

Unless your case and process is reasonably straight forward and un-complicated, it shouldn't be to hard to do yourself, but because I have a few slight irregularities, I found myself going around and round, clogging up my head with so much information
which then makes it difficult to see things clearly.

My suggestion would be, if yours is reasonably straightforward
is to try it on your own (particularly if money is a bit tight)
You always have the option at a later date of consulting with a lawyer, if you get stuck.

I'm sure others may offer far better advice than mine, and unfortunately that's where the confussion comes in !!
I can only go on my experience.

Good luck to you
Roger (+ Ida)
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Old Jul 15th 2002, 8:13 am
  #12  
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Default Re: Lawyer vs. self

Thanks for the advice. Our situation is pretty simple except for small things (questions that I posed in another thread). My mom's boyfriend is a lawyer (but not an immigration lawyer, unfortunately!) so he said he'd look over the paperwork for obvious errors. Hopefully, it will all be okay. if not, maybe I'll just move to England instead!

Thanks again...
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Old Jul 15th 2002, 10:23 am
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Default Re: Lawyer vs. self

As mom's SO is an attorney, he can perhaps refer you as a curosity to an immigration attorney. We do this referral thing in our law office all the time. There is sometimes a small referral fee if anything. The field of law is a large networking playground.

Rete
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Old Jul 15th 2002, 8:20 pm
  #14  
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Default Re: Lawyer vs. self

Well, let me put it this way: Once I found out how much the retainer fee was as well
as what the prospective attorney would charge me by the hour (and never knowing HOW
MANY hours) until the bill came, I had no choice but to do it myself, since I lacked
the funds.

Being the profession that I'm in, I'm also a stickler for detail and meticulous at
best. I can honestly say without reservation that I'm pleased I've completed all of
the INS forms on my own, from the I-129F to the I-485 and many forms in between. The
good news is that my husband now has his greencard. My confidence in my abilities
will now have me complete the "Removal of Conditions" and "Citizenships" forms in
2003/2004, undoubtedly, without attorney intervention. We'll save the money for a
getaway trip to the Caribbean instead.

Omo
 
Old Jul 18th 2002, 9:20 pm
  #15  
Fred Decker
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Default Re: Lawyer vs. self

Omo,

How long was your process from beginning to end? This may also have been before all
the changes. When did you begin? Thanks!

Fred
 

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