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:
- Speak with your ISS adviser.
- Visit the US Citizenship and Immigration Service (USCIS) website where you will find answers to many of your questions.
How Do I Find the Name of a Lawyer?
There are many ways to find lawyers:
- 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.
- Visit UW Student Legal Services in the HUB
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.