Whether you’re immigrating to Canada or the US, applying for permanent residency, requesting a temporary permit, or requesting an appeal, immigration matters can be lengthy and stressful. During this time, you might be feeling understandably worried and vulnerable.
Chances are you’ve already retained an immigration lawyer to help with the paperwork and legal process. However, in your haste to complete the process, you might have unintentionally hired the wrong lawyer.
If you’re unsure you made the right decision by hiring your lawyer, look for these tell-tale signs of a bad immigration lawyer—and find a new one immediately.
1. You’re Given a Quote without Giving Details
When it comes to immigration law, the devil is in the details. A lawyer won’t be able to give you an accurate quote for services without understanding the full nature of your immigration issue. If the lawyer you’ve retained offered a quick quote for service over the phone without asking for details of your unique situation, you will likely be surprised by the high cost of fees later on down the road.
Alternatively, to keep the price the same as the quote, the lawyer might start cutting corners with your case. Either way, you will want to avoid both of these bad scenarios by finding a new immigration lawyer now.
2. You Received Guaranteed Approval
In immigration law, there’s no such thing as guaranteed approval. We understand the financial and emotional toll that comes with having a visa denied. The stress of a possible denial could make you trust a lawyer who assures you your case will be approved. Be wary of such a lawyer, however. You could be in for disappointment when those promises cannot be delivered.
Your lawyer may be able to tell you whether your case is simple or if problems are likely to arise, but they shouldn’t promise your case will be approved—they can only promise they’ll do their best work and be committed to your case.
3. You Didn’t Sign a Contract
You may have to pay upfront for a consultation. However, you should be able to meet your lawyer for the first time without the expectation of a payment. Before you hand over a cheque, you should understand the services and the scope of work you’ll receive if you become a client.
Though you’re likely in a hurry to begin working on your case, be leery of any lawyer who tries to take your money without a contract in hand. You won’t know what you’re paying for.
4. You’re Meeting with a Legal Secretary or Paralegal for the First Time
Your first meeting is vitally important to your case. This is when you give your lawyer all of the details of your case, so they can understand any problems that may arise, know your goals, and learn all relevant facts.
That’s why your lawyer should be conducting this first meeting—not a paralegal who could miss important details that could affect your case.
If your lawyer isn’t giving you the attention you deserve, look elsewhere.
5. You Never Know What’s Going on with Your Case
Having trouble finding out the progress that’s been made in your case? Is it nearly impossible to get your lawyer on the phone after you’ve handed them money? This is a sign of a bad lawyer.
The lawyer you’ve trusted your case to should be available to talk to you and answer your question. They should be reasonably available and keep you up to date on the progress of your case.
If you’re not comfortable with the communication you’re receiving, walk away