I am in the process of finding an attorney to help with my Green Card application. I consider myself very knowledgeable about this subject, but I am not an expert nor do I have any personal experience. My case is pretty straightforward and I expect that the application will be successful, but I want to hire a professional to avoid the stress of doing everything myself, as well as ensure that I don't cause any unnecessary issues for myself through an error on my part.
I have never had significant business with an attorney before. There are many attorneys in my area, and all of them seem to want a consultation to discuss any details (including price). However, I'm finding this process a bit confusing and difficult. Even though my application is mostly finished, they don't want to look at it in detail until I actually hire them (usually the consultation is free or much cheaper than their services). They often assure that my case will be simple, but that doesn't help me choose which one to actually hire. After some thinking, I've come up with my own list of what an attorney can compete on. Ranked from most important to least, it is:
- Accuracy: Make sure the application doesn't get unnecessarily denied or delayed due to how it's filled
- Speed: Prepare and submit everything quickly.
- Friendliness and not being distracted by other cases while dealing with mine.
- Experience: Ideally with other people from my country, but also family green cards in general.
- Price and value (most want to charge a flat fee for this).
Generally, in a consultation a lawyer reviews the client's case and tells them what can be done about it. However, I already have a good idea of this from personal research as well as previous consultation. My goal in the consultation is really to figure out how competitive the lawyer is in the five areas I've listed above.
So, what should I ask during the consultation to help me determine which lawyer is most suitable for me? I would have liked to simply pull out the above list, and say "I am shopping around and I will hire the person who best meets these criteria, give me your pitch on how well you can meet them", but that would probably be a rude thing to do.