Immigration law blog

4 Tips for Hiring an Immigration Lawyer

One of the first things you might do when faced with an Immigration problem is to look for an attorney to assist you in your case. Here are a few things to consider when hiring an attorney: 

1) Make sure your attorney is licensed to practice law 

The first, and most important step, in hiring an attorney is to ask where he or she licensed to practice law. In the United States, attorneys much be licensed by a state bar association before they are allow to practice law. Individuals calling themselves “notarios” are normally NOT licensed to practice law and they are NOT allowed to give legal advice.

You can ask for the attorney’s bar number and the state in which he or she is licensed. In Washington you can then look up your attorney on the Bar Association’s website ( Directory.aspx) to make sure that he or she is licensed to practice law, or you can call the Bar Association at 1-800-945-9722 to ask. You can also ask whether your attorney has ever been disciplined. (You should know that Washington State normally allows attorneys licensed in other states to practice Immigration law in Washington. If your attorney is licensed in another state, you can check with the Bar Association of that state to make sure your attorney is allowed to practice law).

2) Make sure your attorney is competent to handle your case

There are many kinds of Immigration cases, and different attorneys focus on different areas of the law. For example, some attorneys might focus on removal (deportation) defense, while others may work mostly on business immigration cases. Ask whether your attorney has handled cases like yours in the past.

3) Make sure you understand how much you will be charged, and request this information in writing

There are many different kinds of fees associated with an immigration case. Your attorney will charge you legal fees for his or her services, which will either be a set amount for the case (a “flat fee”) or an hourly rate. In addition, he or she will likely charge you for the costs associated with preparing your case (for example, photocopies, postage, or travel expenses). Finally, there may be immigration filing fees associated with your case. Make sure you know what you will be expected to pay, and ask for a contract in writing that explains all of these expenses.

4) If needed, get a second opinion

If you are concerned or unsure about the advice you receive from an attorney or the amount of money you are quoted, you can always consult with a second attorney for another opinion before deciding to move forward on your case.

Contact our immigration law office at (206) 838-7628 to set up a low-cost immigration consultation.


L.I.H. Law is a trusted immigration law firm with our office conveniently located in Seattle, near the Seattle Space Needle (2nd Ave and Denny Way).

Our well-respected lawyers exclusively practice immigration law, covering diverse topics: asylum, Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA), Deferred Action for Parental Accountability (DAPA), detention cases, fiancé visas (K-1 visas), green cards, immigration status for victims of domestic violence or other crimes, naturalization applications, and much more.

The immigration lawyers and professional staff at L.I.H. Law are dedicated to providing the right solutions to meet our clients’ immigration needs.  Our entire staff is fluent in Spanish and has served clientele from around the world.

Supporting our local immigration community is important to us. Our immigration lawyers and staff are active in volunteering for various community events and organizations, and conducting pro-bono work.

Lesley Irizarry-Hougan

Lesley has been practicing law since July, 2005. She has significant experience in representing clients in Immigration Court, both detained and non-detained cases; appeals from immigration judge decisions, both at the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals; and the Board of Immigration Appeals. Lesley is actively involved in her community, regularly volunteering at the Latina/o Bar Association Legal Clinic and the King County Bar Association Neighborhood Legal Clinic. Lesley Irizarry-Hougan ha estado practicando exclusivamente leyes de inmigración desde Julio del 2005. Ella tiene experiencia significante representando clientes en la Corte de Inmigración; apelando las decisiones del juez de inmigración, ambos a la Corte de Apelaciones de Estados Unidos para el Noveno Circuito y la Corte de Distrito de Estados Unidos para el Oeste de Washington. Lesley también se especializa en aplicaciones afirmativas, incluyendo aplicaciones para la tarjeta verde (Mica), asilo, NACARA, y aplicaciones de ciudadanía archivado en los Estados Unidos y Servicios de Inmigración. Lesley también hace certificaciones de trabajo, incluyendo aplicaciones de cocineros especializados. Ella habla español nativo.

L.I.H. Law, P.S., Immigration Lawyer, Seattle, WA