International Student Services

Tips for Finding a Lawyer

Do I Really Need a Lawyer?

Maybe, maybe not. Before contacting a lawyer regarding an immigration issue:

If your questions are about immigration issues:

How Do I Find the Name of a Lawyer?

There are many ways to find lawyers:

  • You might be able to start with Student Legal Services (SLS) in the HUB, as they have an immigration specialist on staff. Please first review the SLS eligibility criteria to ensure you can use their services. The SLS attorney may be able to provide some initial information and refer you to local immigration law firms, if needed.
  • Check the American Immigration Lawyers Association (AILA) website, click Immigration Lawyer Referral Service.
  • Call your local bar association lawyer referral service. In King County, contact the King County Bar Association at 206-267-7100.
  • Consult a law directory, such as the King County Lawyers Directory and Martindale-Hubbell Law Directory Volume 12, which gives a brief biography of lawyers practicing in the Seattle area.
  • Search the Internet for immigration lawyers in the Seattle area.

How Do I Choose a Lawyer?

Before choosing a lawyer, call the offices of the lawyers on your list, briefly explain your legal problem and ask:

  • Are you specialized and/or experienced in my type of problem?
  • Do you charge a flat rate or hourly fee for this type of work?
  • Can you give me an estimate of the cost?
  • Can you estimate the amount of time it will take?

How Should I Make My Decision to Hire a Lawyer?

Consider the following factors before agreeing to hire a lawyer:

  • Can you communicate effectively with the lawyer? Was the lawyer clear and easy to understand?
  • Are the fees reasonable in comparison with other lawyers’ charges?
  • Did the lawyer give clear explanations of how he or she will let you know about progress in your case?
  • If you are not satisfied with this lawyer, do not hire him or her. Look elsewhere for legal help.

Before you finally sign a contract with a lawyer, read it carefully. Make sure you understand it. Everything you and the lawyer agreed to should be in writing.

What if I Have a Problem With My Lawyer?

If you have a problem with your lawyer, you should discuss it with him or her. Try to work out any problems. If you cannot agree on a solution, you may wish to contact the Washington State Bar at 1-800-945-9722.