Immigration attorney’s fees are part of the process of hiring a skilled attorney. Are you looking to immigrate to the United States and are convinced that you need legal help? If you’ve already decided that an immigration attorney is your best choice for assistance, you’re on the right path.
There’s probably one question that you still have. It likely looms larger than all others: You want to know if you can afford to hire an immigration attorney.
You know that the super wealthy who wish to immigrate to the US can afford an attorney. But you view yourself as average. You have enough income to live on, but there are no money trees in your backyard. Can the average immigrant afford immigration attorney’s fees? Let’s explore that question.
Immigration Attorney Fees Are Different
Most immigration law firms offer lower rates for the work they do as compared to attorneys who specialize in other areas of law. They realize that those seeking their services often do not have access to a lot of financial resources. Most set their prices lower as a result. Immigration attorneys knew going into their practice that they would likely make less than attorneys in other areas. Still, they chose that field because they felt they could contribute the most there.
Hundreds or Thousands?
If your case ends up being typical, you may get by with costs in the high hundreds to low thousands of dollars. This low fee is usually because your case did not take a lot of time. If your situation is more complicated, expect to pay more in legal fees. Costs will be higher if you have more people who need assistance, as in the case of a family.
Can You Personally Afford Immigration Attorney’s Fees?
Many immigrants with an average income have found ways to hire an attorney. However, others have struggled to save enough money to pay the fees. Each case is different. Attorney costs will vary depending on the part of the country where you reside. For instance, attorneys in California will cost considerably more than ones in Kentucky.
In addition, the cost of immigration attorneys where you live will vary from one practice to another. You likely won’t want to go out and find the most expensive attorney from the largest law firm. You could quickly run out of funds. But considering basement prices may not be the answer either. Here are some things that you can do to make sure your prices stay low:
- Shop Around. Visit with several different attorneys for consultations. Like any competing businesses, various immigration law firms will have different prices. Compare the prices offered by each with the services you will receive.
- Flat Rate or Hourly? Find out if the attorney that you meet with charges by the hour or requires a flat rate for services provided. You will typically pay less if a flat rate is offered instead of an hourly one. Some attorneys charge between $150 and $250 an hour. Hourly rates like that can add up quickly.
- Hidden Fees? Ask about any fees that may be a part of your cost, besides an hourly or flat rate. These could be due to forms that need to be filled out or phone calls made concerning your case. It is better to go with a law firm that does not have hidden fees if you can.
- Split the Work. Some attorneys will let you split the work on your case with them. This participation allows you to fill out forms or do other legwork that you feel comfortable with resolving. This step can save you money; however some lawyers are hesitant to allow this. If immigrants fail to fill out a form correctly, it could cause more work for them in the long run. You may be able to find a non-profit organization to assist you with your side of the work if your attorney agrees to these terms.
- Large or Small Firm? Typically, you will pay less by going with a smaller law firm. Large law firms have more staff and overhead costs that they need to manage. These costs often get passed on to their clients. Smaller firms can give you a lower price most of the time without compromising the quality of service.
- Free or Cost Consultation? Some law firms charge as much as $250 for an initial consultation. In certain cases, law firms can’t afford to offer free consultations to everyone who walks through their doors. If you can find immigration firms that offer a free consultation, don’t pass up that opportunity. You have nothing to lose in that case. Some attorneys who do offer consultation fees will put some of that cost towards your case if you decide to go with them.
- Overall Value. Just because one law firm is the most expensive out there doesn’t mean that it is the best choice for you. Conversely, law firms that offer the lowest prices in town will not help you much if they are not skilled in their field or lack a good reputation.
- Payment Plans. More and more immigration attorneys are allowing their clients to do payment plans these days. Paying smaller sums over a longer time is easier for many immigrants than forking out large sums of money up front.
Finally, state bar membership is a serious point to remember when looking for an immigration attorney. Look at the lawyer’s bar membership to ensure they are officially licensed by the state bar. Accidentally hiring a fake will up your cost dramatically and drain your financial resources.
Do you have more questions on this subject? Contact the Lee Law Firm now with your questions about immigration attorney’s fees.