Immigration law is a complex area that requires specialized expertise to navigate successfully. Many law firms either specialize in immigration law or have this area serve as a significant portion of their practice. These firms are typical employers of immigration attorneys/lawyers.
An immigration lawyer is primarily concerned with assisting clients who wish to immigrate to a new country for work and/or residency. They help shepherd applications for citizenship or work visas through the complex legal requirements and systems that countries have for non-residents. Clients generally expect that an immigration lawyer is able to significantly shorten the time of this long process and help manage the red tape.
In serving clients in this specialty, immigration lawyers must be well-versed in current and ever-changing legal requirements. They must be adept in securing a wide variety of necessary documentation as well. In some rare cases, travel to an applicant’s country of origin and securing outside investigative help with background checks is necessary. In all cases, the lawyer must not only know the law, but also how to work within the law in as efficient a manner as possible.
Immigration lawyers must possess a degree from an accredited law school and have passed their state's bar exam to practice in this field. Additionally, many firms look for lawyers with specialized experience, which will likely require prospective immigration lawyers to have worked in a junior associate capacity assisting senior lawyers that specialize in the field. Immigration lawyers often work long hours during the week in an office environment. They must be excellent communicators and may be expected (or preferred) to be fluent or conversant in languages typically spoken by their firm's clients.
Immigration Attorney / Lawyer Tasks
Gather evidence to formulate defense or to initiate legal actions; evaluate findings and develop strategies and arguments for presentation of cases.
Analyze and interpret laws, rulings and regulations with probable case outcomes for individuals and businesses.
Represent clients in court or before government agencies, present and summarize cases to judges and juries.
Advise clients in business transactions, claim liability, advisability of prosecuting or defending lawsuits or legal rights and obligations.
Select jurors, argue motions, meet with judges and question witnesses during the course of a trial.