🪶 Written by an experienced lawyer

Do You Really Need a Lawyer?

Addressing the question and common criticisms: Do you require an immigration lawyer for visas or green cards?

Elektra B. Yao

Published in

So let’s talk about the big elephant in the room. Do you really need an immigration lawyer to assist you in receiving or securing a visa or a green card?

Common criticisms that people have include:

  • Lawyers don’t have time for me;
  • Lawyers don’t do any work;
  • Lawyers are too expensive.

All of these criticisms lead you to believe that your lawyer isn’t invested in your case and most importantly the outcome of your case.

Not all lawyers are created equal!

There are some lawyers that don’t respond to clients, who don’t make time for their clients, or who are just unaffordable.

But this article is not about those types of lawyers.

This article is about attorneys like me who are dedicated to the legal profession, dedicated to serving clients, dedicated to securing approvals, and most importantly dedicated to changing lives.

Lawyers and Communication

In the age of rapid communication, it is often expected that lawyers answer emails immediately. This is very difficult and sometimes unreasonable to expect a lawyer to answer immediately.

It’s important to know that some client matters require uninterrupted and continuous attention, and the lawyer will sometimes be unavailable for extended periods of time while handling such matters, just as she will be unavailable to other clients when she is handling your important matters.

The lawyer is often out of the office at meetings, in court, at client interviews with USCIS, diligently working on your case, working on other cases, or on the phone. As a result, there will be times when a client will be unable to reach his or her lawyer.

Legal Work and Legal Fees

Legal fees are based on the attorney’s law degree, license, certificates, Continuing Legal Education (CLE), experience, and the very specific skills it takes to navigate through the complexities of immigration law. Legal fees are not for forms to “just fill it out.”

Legal fees are based on the benefit of what the attorney knows from similar cases, legal trends, and more. Legal fees are also based on access to legal communities such as the American Immigration Lawyers Association (AILA).

There is so much work that goes into preparing a petition, that oftentimes, clients misunderstand the very complex nature of immigration law and practicing law.

Immigration legal work includes but is not limited to analyzing information, completing legal forms, brief writing, litigation, interview advocacy, and more.

There is a legal strategy in every checkbox.

This is just SOME of the work that an attorney undergoes on any given petition:

  • Case analysis;
  • Using years of experience to properly identify issues and laws/policies/regulations to support their analysis and procedure for moving forward;
  • Using years of experience to analyze each document per USCIS requirements and DOS reciprocity table and determine which ones are valid for the petition submission;
  • Applying years of experience to the current case to efficiently communicate with government agencies and know where and how to submit applications quickly and without mistakes;
  • Providing document lists–which is a product of years of experience;
  • Keeping up to date with the constant recent changes in immigration policies and knowing when it affects or does not affect the present case, and if it does affect the present case the advice you provided;
  • Client communications after law firm closure for the day;
  • Maintaining the file in the physical office;
  • Maintaining, checking; and analyzing the file in the electronic system;


It’s important to understand the complex role of the immigration attorney.

Most attorneys truly care about their clients and the life changing work they are doing. There is so much work that is undergone to craft a successful petition and it’s important for a potential client to be aware and educated about the complexities of practicing law.

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