When I was in law school, I went to a job fair where I met the managing attorney of the New York City Office of Prisoners Legal Services of New York. He told me that a correctional officer had just died because he contracted tuberculosis from an inmate. It blew my mind that something that happened in prison could impact the outside world. I ended up doing an internship there and volunteering there after law school. The COVID-19 pandemic reminded me of the CO who died of tuberculosis. ICE MUST RELEASE ALL DETAINEES. This is not just for their safety, but the safety of the staff at the detention facilities. If there is an outbreak of COVID-19 at an ICE detention facility, there will be mass infections. Not only will the detainees be infected, but the staff as well. The staff will then take it home to their families and so on . . . Moreover, the Government will be responsible for the health care of any detainee infected with COVID-19. RELEASE ALL ICE DETAINEES. Let them post bond. Put them on ankle bracelets. Don’t keep them detained where they will be susceptible to a COVID-19 outbreak.
In September, I posted on my website that I was suspending doing consultations until after my oral argument before the U.S. Supreme Court on November 3, 2015. Despite the fact that my website asked people not to call me about free consultations until after the oral argument, I was receiving 3-5 calls about free consultations a day. I would ask the callers how they found out about me, they would tell me the “internet.” When I inquired further, I discovered that they did a search on Google for “free consultation” – they saw my name and number in the search results and called without ever going to my website, let alone reading any of the information on my webpage.
I am frustrated by people who call immigration lawyers without reading their websites. I don’t understand why anyone would call an immigration attorney without fully reviewing their website first. When I had to hire a web designer to set up this website, I reviewed their websites before calling them. Before you call an immigration lawyer, I would think that you would want to know their background, their experience, and the types of cases that they take. I have a detailed website, so that someone looking to hire an immigration lawyer can find out these things out about me.
It doesn’t just bother me because it’s inconvenient for me to get calls from people who ask about services that I don’t provide, it bothers me to see people take such a careless approach to finding an immigration attorney. I constantly hear horror stories from clients about how their former immigration lawyers mishandled their cases. If you don’t research an immigration lawyers’ background before calling them, you have no way of knowing that you have found a good lawyer who will do a good job on your case. I think that it is very foolish to call any lawyer without first reviewing their website or making some kind of other effort to check out their background.
I do not take employment-based immigration cases. My website clearly indicates what areas of immigration law I practice. Despite the fact that my website makes no reference to employment-based immigration, I am regularly contacted by people looking for free consultations about employment-based immigration.
My website is very clear that my primary practice area is deportation defense. [I also do family-based adjustment of status and naturalization cases]. I offer free consultations because people who are facing deportation are usually looking to hire an immigration attorney. People who contact me about an adjustment of status or naturalization are usually looking to hire an immigration lawyer. Thus, I do not mind speaking to or meeting these people for free because they are contacting me for the purpose of hiring me.
By contrast, people who are getting green cards or visas through employment-based immigration are not usually looking to hire an immigration attorney. People with employment-based immigration issues usually fall into one of the following categories: (1) their employers are paying for their immigration papers and they want an independent opinion of the work that is being done; (2) they want to know what kind of job will entitle them to an employment visa and when they get that job, their employer will pay for their immigration papers; or (3) there is a problem with their job where they are getting their employment visa and they want advice about what happens if they lose their job. Basically, what it comes down to is that these individuals are looking for free legal advice. They are not actually looking for a “true” consultation because they have no interest in the lawyer’s services. Private practice attorneys offer free consultations to get clients.
Another reason that I offer free consultation is that potential clients who fall within my practice areas tend not to be well off financially. By comparison, people who have employment-based immigration issues have good jobs that usually require that they have a minimum of a college education. If you have questions about a labor certification, H-1B, O visa, EB-2, EB-5, or L-1/2 visa, you should be making enough money to pay an immigration attorney a consultation fee. These people should be embarrassed to be trolling the internet for free consultations. Basically, people looking for labor certifications, H-1B, O visa, EB-2, EB-5, or L-1/2 visas are not the kind of people that an immigration lawyer would want to provide free help to – these are NOT people who are struggling financially because of their immigration status.
Ultimately, the reason the people with employment-based immigration issues should not be trolling the internet for free consultations is that employment-based immigration lawyers do not usually offer free consultations. All of the employment-based immigration attorneys that I know charge consultation fees. There are two reasons for this. First, many people who contact employment-based immigration lawyers are not looking to hire an attorney but are looking for free legal advice. Employment-based immigration lawyers are essentially corporate attorneys – they do not give out free legal advice. Second, if you really qualify for an employment-based immigration visa, you should be able to afford a consultation fee. If I did employment based immigration law, I would be charging consultation fees. However, I do not practice employment-based immigration.