Help me lawyer up!
June 1, 2012 6:09 AM Subscribe
I've got a special-snowflake immigrations issue that leads me to believe I no longer know enough to handle the problem. I need to meet with an immigrations lawyer/consultant. But how do I choose? (Location filter: Montreal)
I've got an immigrations issue related to my girlfriend which we don't know how to handle, and while guidance would be great, what I really need is meta-guidance. I believe I need to speak to an immigrations lawyer/consultant, pronto. Thing is, I've never spoken to a lawyer before, nor received legal advice on anything. I live in Montreal.
- What's the difference between an immigrations lawyer and an immigrations consultant?
- How much is this likely to cost? Are these folks paid by hour of consultation; on retainer; some other way? (I'm certainly not rich.)
- Are legal clinics likely to be any help? I know of a few community legal clinics, but I suspect those are more about things like rent disputes.
- How can I filter for someone who is reputable and knowledgeable, particularly since immigrating to Quebec is different than elsewhere in Canada? I usually like to look for small firms; will that provide me worse service in terms of a law practice?
- How do I prepare for the appointment? Just my situation and a list of questions?
- If I ask for a consultation, is there an implication that I am going to use this professional for the rest of the process? I only ask because generally I'm pretty good at figuring out bureaucratic processes -- I just don't know which one I need right now.
- ... or am I overthinking this and just need to call names from the phone book?
If you're interested in the situation: girlfriend with US citizenship came as tourist, ended up with NAFTA permit job on a one-year contract which is coming to an end, and no longer wants to work in that field. Now we're common law but she's going to have no job. I'm a Canadian PR and while I have some savings, I can't afford to support her for what may amount to 18 months, so we need to get her a work permit. Since I'm PR, I can't really leave the country. I'm only a few months away from applying for citizenship, but apparently the waiting time on that is a full 19 months.
Anyway, thanks for any information you may have about lawyering up!