Twenty Reasons Why You Should Not Hire a Non-Lawyer/Non-Law Firm to Do Your Immigration Work

There are some non-law firm internet-based businesses that offer immigration-law services. They offer them to individuals and families whose main concern is price. One such bedroom or backroom business now is offering its services to businesses. But, historically, businesses have not been the targets of these operators because businesses are too shrewd to get ensnared, too prudent to get ensnared, too farsighted to get trapped by temptation short-term money savings.

Over the coming weeks and months, we will be your guide to everything you never knew about these bedroom/backroom immigration businesses and your guide to why hiring one of them could be one of the worst mistakes you ever make in your life (or your company’s life). We will look at dozens of reasons why individuals, families, and businesses should look past these operators when looking for immigration solutions.

We will start with 20 reasons.

  1. These businesses are not allowed by law to provide legal advice.
  2. These businesses are not subject to oversight by a governing body that applies sacrosanct, ethical rules.
  3. These businesses can and often do lie in their advertisements; however, in their defense, there are no ethical rules or governing body requiring them to be make only truthful advertising. Further, in their defense they have a duty to make money for their investors, and untruthful advertising helps them get closer to fulfilling that duty.
  4. These businesses have no duty to keep confidential your private information; for example, these businesses have no duty to protect you from the deep dangers of identity fraud.
  5. These businesses are under no duty to be honest with you.
  6. These businesses have no duty to act competently. If they perform incompetently, they just form a new business under a new name and go after new, unsuspecting immigrants. On the other hand, if a lawyer performs incompetently, a state bar association will censure her and, if the incompetent lawyer continues to be incompetent, disbar her.
  7. These businesses are founded by individuals who are not dedicated to immigration law or the law generally; they have not invested years into a legal education and they are more than happy to “pivot” to a new industry if a more attractive venture rings. Just cross your fingers that they do not “pivot” before your case reaches its completion. Just ask yourself whether any “guarantee” the would-be pivoter makes is worth the paper it is printed on.
  8. These businesses are being targeted by state governments, so the existence of these businesses in the near future is up in the air. Already some states have told these businesses that they are not permitted to operate within the state borders (forcing these businesses to fold or to re-locate).
  9. These businesses have no duty to avoid conflicts of interests.
  10. These businesses have no duty to supervise their staff.
  11. These businesses have no duty to act thoroughly and conscientiously. If they do a bad job on a number of cases, they will chalk it up as a cost of doing business.
  12. Nothing you say and no document you give to one of these businesses will be protected by attorney-client privilege, and your communications will be “discoverable” in litigation.
  13. These businesses cannot represent you during an interview, an audit, an investigation, a prosecution, a request for evidence, a notice of intent to deny, a notice of intent to revoke.
  14. These businesses have limited knowledge of the long-term impact of their actions they advise their customers to take. The individuals leading these businesses and the individuals at the front lines of these businesses do not have the legal training or legal-research skills necessary to gauge the long-term impact. (Did you know that, for example, the answers an individual makes on her Green Card application can lead to her Green Card acquisition and at the same time lead to her being ineligible for citizenship?).
  15. Customers of these businesses will have a tough time gaining relief from a court, under a theory of ineffective assistance of legal counsel, if the “counsel” comes from a company not authorized to practice law.
  16. These businesses are controlled and managed by investors who put their own needs and their desired financial returns ahead of your immigration needs and your goals and your dreams.
  17. These businesses are controlled by corporate boards who have no duty toward you; rather they have a duty to maximize profits.
  18. The individuals who manage these businesses have not built relationships with staff at USCIS, the State Department, the Department of Labor, or Consulates/Embassies around the world, because they are not permitted to serve as representatives for individuals, families, or businesses in front of the aforementioned bodies.
  19. These businesses are often wholly reliant on investor money. If and when the money dries up, they will have to go out of business. Once again, you should cross your fingers that they are still in business when your case reaches its conclusion.
  20. Customers who receive bad legal advice from one of these businesses will have a hard time suing them for legal malpractice. After all, they are not permitted to give you legal advice.

Over the coming weeks and months, we will look more closely at each of these reasons.

For now, we will leave you with some beautiful, pertinent words from the great American author Herman Melville. The words help capture the value of legal training, legal experience, hiring lawyer, hiring a law firm:

But while Nature thus very early and very abundantly feeds us, she is very late in tutoring us as to the proper methodisation of our diet. Or,—to change the metaphor,—there are immense quarries of fine marble; but how to get it out; how to chisel it; how to construct any temple? Youth must wholly quit, then, the quarry, for a while; and not only go forth, and get tools to use in the quarry, but must go and thoroughly study architecture. Now the quarry-discoverer is long before the stone-cutter; and the stone-cutter is long before the architect; and the architect is long before the temple; for the temple is the crown of the world.