Do I Need a Lawyer?

"The Department is aware that visa applicants do hire lawyers. . . It is sometimes said that the requirements under the general immigration law are so complex as to virtually force applicants to do so." U.S. Department of State (Federal Register).

"A lawyer is often the only person who could tread the labyrinth of the immigration laws." United States Court of Appeals (9th Circuit).

"A good immigration lawyer is worth his weight in gold." Director of the INS Service Center for the Western United States.

Many people are elated when they procure cheap legal representation. However, this often changes to anger and frustration when the end result is failure. One should expect the cost of quality legal representation to be reasonable, but never "cheap". Unfortunately, payment of a reasonable fee alone cannot ensure one will receive quality legal representation. You have to make intelligent informed choices when selecting legal counsel.

You should be aware that no one can absolutely guarantee the ultimate success of any immigration matter, and you should beware of any individual who attempts to do so. U.S. Immigration law is one of the most complex areas of American jurisprudence. The multitude of administrative regulations and federal statutes which apply to U.S. immigration related matters are not only complex and frequently amended, but they are also subject to constantly changing interpretations by the U.S. Department of Justice (INS), U.S. Department of Labor, U.S. Department of State, and Federal Courts.


(1) Reputation. What is the lawyer's reputation is among other lawyers ("peers")?

(2) Experience. How long has the lawyer been practicing immigration law? Is the lawyer engaged full time only in the area of immigration law? (or does he/she normally accept cases in other areas of law?) A "part-time" immigration lawyer could not be expected to possess an equivalent level of skill and competence.

(3) Staff and Technical Support. A well-trained professional support staff equipped with up-to-date computerized information processing capabilities and legal research systems are indispensable resources for delivering quality legal services and representation.

The much preferred time to seek professional legal assistance is before any documentation has been filed with a government agency. If an immigration benefit has been applied for and denied, it is often very difficult and sometimes impossible to obtain a new favorable decision or reversal on appeal. A competent immigration firm can analyze your specific fact situation and advise you of the legal options available, the implications and consequences involved in each, and how to properly proceed according to your individual circumstances and priorities. By first obtaining quality legal assistance, clients will often save not only money, time and personal frustration, but also insure the best possible success in obtaining the immigration benefits they are seeking.

The axiom, "you should only expect to get what you pay for" is as applicable to competent legal representation as it is to most every type of service or product. Fees usually vary among lawyers depending upon their qualifications, experience and legal skills. Reasonable fees are set based upon the type and extent of legal services to be rendered. These include research, preparation, and presentation of your case before the appropriate government agency(ies) or tribunal(s). Though quality legal representation is never cheap, it is often invaluable. Unfortunately, some learn too late the truism of the expression: "Doctor's mistakes sometimes result in funerals. An immigration lawyer's are usually deported." This is why you should select an immigration law firm in which you can have confidence, and which you believe will provide you with the best possible legal representation

The Best Lawyers In America is a premier reference publication for ascertaining a lawyer's exceptional professional rating in specific areas of law. Fewer than five percent (5%) of the more than 4,500 immigration lawyers in the United States are selected as the "best" in the United States. All "Best Lawyer" recommendations are based on the publisher's extensive surveying of and in-depth interviews with the top attorneys in each relevant field of law (ie. criminal, corporate, etc.). The database is the product of years of extensive polling. Interviews begin with basically the following question: "If a family member or close friend needed a an immigration lawyer (for example) and you couldn't take the case yourself -- for reasons of conflict or in the interest of time -- to whom would you refer them?" So when the publishers designate a lawyer as "the best," it isn't just their opinion. That lawyer is the consensus choice of the other top lawyers in their areas of law.

It is our firm's policy to conduct an initial consultation for every potential client. You will be advised in advance of the cost, if any, for the consultation; after which, we will evaluate and discuss your case with you. After we evaluate your case, we will quote and discuss our fees, should you want our firm to represent and assist you thereafter.

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G. Wellington Smith, P.C.
1600 Nueces St.,
Austin, TX 78701

Phone: (512) 476-7163
Fax: (512) 476-3869