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How can I find the 60 minutes of legal advice I need, on a very specific visa/immigration question?
February 25, 2010 9:56 AM   Subscribe

How can I find the 60 minutes of legal advice I need, on a very specific visa/immigration question?

I’m a Canadian Citizen, planning to do a bit of work in the US over the next months (while still living in Canada).

I'm trying to figure out some immigration issues around this work.

I think I've mostly figured out what I need to know, but there are still a few puzzled. I suspect that something like 30-60 minutes of advice from someone who really knows this stuff would really be enough to help me finalize my strategy.

There seem to be a number of sites online (avvo, lawbench, AILA.org) that let you search directories of lawyers, see who’s well-rated, and find people who will work with you on the phone.

The thing is, the visa situation I’m looking into is very specific, and I figure if I’m going to look at the whole internet to find someone, I’d like to find someone who’s not just an immigration lawyer, but an immigration lawyer who really knows the ins and outs of the specific visas that relate to my situation. I also want to get someone who’s a good and helpful lawyer. I guess sites with recommendations/ratings/reviews are helpful for determining this.

(For what it's worth, my specific situation is this: I have a TN-1 for some consulting work I do. I want to apply for a P-2, via the American Federation of Musicians, for some performance work I’ll be doing. Both gigs are a bit complicated in a couple of ways. I’d like to find someone who knows a lot about TN-1’s and about P-2s- ideally but not necessarily in situations where they’re done through the AFM)

I’m pretty short on cash, and none of this work pays much, so I don’t have a ton of money. If there’s a way I could get this info out of a free consultation, that’d be amazing, but I’m okay to spend a couple hundred bucks or so on this if needed. (Less is better, of course).

So a few Qs:

- Are there particular sites people like, for finding good lawyers for this sort of very short advice-giving?

- Can anyone recommend a site that would let me search with this level of specificity?

- Alternately – Can anyone recommend a specific lawyer or firm who could help?

- Is there some other strategy I’m overlooking?

Any thoughts, suggestions, etc, would be highly appreciated!
posted by ManInSuit to Law & Government (9 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
 
It seems you should be able to pick a lawyer out of the directories you have, and call and ask if they have experience/expertise in these areas before you are committed to paying them anything.
posted by brainmouse at 9:58 AM on February 25, 2010


Brainmouse- thanks. One thing I maybe should have mentioned - My impression is that the p-2 is a pretty unusual visa, and the TN-1 is also a little specialized. So I'm imagining it'd take a long time to find someone who knows about both of them by calling around.

But it's a good idea, and one I'll admit, in all my internet-search-geekiness, I hadn't though of. I'm still sort of hoping there's a way I can search right for the person I need, but if I can't, I'll try the old fashioned phone way...
posted by ManInSuit at 10:02 AM on February 25, 2010


Have you tried calling the number on the bottom of the American Fed of Musicians page on the issue and see if they have a lawyer they'd suggest you use? Someone drafted that for them...
posted by phearlez at 10:32 AM on February 25, 2010


Most lawyers will give you a free consult so if you find an immigration lawyer that looks good just call them up and ask if they'll give you a half hour of their time for a free consult. Call the bar association for whatever jurisdiction you're in; they will likely have lawyer referral service. Where I live if you're connected with a lawyer through the lawyer referral service they have to give you a 30 minute free consult.

Even though immigration law is a fairly ghettoized area of the legal profession, top immigration lawyers will still charge a pretty penny. As such, you might not want to shoot for the most prestigious immigration lawyer you can find as they won't be cheap and you're not looking to spend much.
posted by mizike at 12:20 PM on February 25, 2010


> Most lawyers will give you a free consult so if you find an immigration
> lawyer that looks good just call them up and ask if they'll give you a half
> hour of their time for a free consult.

Mizike - Is the idea that the free consult can help me determine if the lawyer is right for me? Or is the idea that I might be able to get all the info I need from a free consult?

> Call the bar association for whatever jurisdiction you're in; they
> will likely have lawyer referral service.

I'm in Canada. I'd been assuming I'd want to talk to a US lawyer about this, since the issue is about US immigation law. Or could I call someone in Canada?
posted by ManInSuit at 12:41 PM on February 25, 2010


FosterQuan in Texas is one of the largest immigration firms in the US -- it's not cheap, but they do a lot of work with work-related visas and would very likely be able to answer your questions. I can refer you to a particular attorney if you prefer, just mail me. You can take a crack at getting a few minutes of free advice by calling in to Gordon Quan's radio show on immigration, Coming to America, which is on every Tuesday night from 7 to 7:30 p.m. central time -- they give a lot of good advice.
posted by *s at 2:52 PM on February 25, 2010


AILA's one of the most reputable places for immigration lawyers. Martindale lets you search by speciality, but it's typically not quite THAT specialized.

The idea of the consult is typically to see if the lawyer is right for you and if you need more lawyer time. A lot of places now charge a small fee ($30/half hour consult) for the service.

If you're going to be all in one state, you could try a bar association there, otherwise I would ask the music association.

I know the immigration law clinic I did in law school referred people to low cost attorneys, so you might try law schools in the state(s) you're thinking of for someone cheaper--but they tend to specialize in either asylum or criminal immigration law in my experience rather than this sort of thing.
posted by eleanna at 3:19 PM on February 25, 2010


Try using the Law Society's Lawyer Referral Service.

Or try this.
posted by foxjacket at 5:47 PM on February 25, 2010


In the end, the strategy that worked was to call around locally and find a lawyer to do a free consultation.
posted by ManInSuit at 7:25 PM on March 28, 2010


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