Over 15,000 lawyers are members of the American Immigration Lawyers Association (AILA), and this provides a good estimate of how many US lawyers practice immigration law on a regular basis. Since immigration law is federal law and can be practiced by a lawyer licensed in any US jurisdiction, and since much if not all of the work required can be done online, that gives you about 15,000 choices, among which you will choose a single lawyer to represent you.
15,000 lawyers are too many to choose from. If you lack an impeccable reference from a close friend, you might start your search on the Internet. Fortunately, you can use the Internet to narrow down your choices to a manageable “shortlist” of final candidates, who you can interview later. The following are some of the most prominent Internet resources that will help you identify quality immigration lawyers.
The Martindale-Hubbell Directory
The Martindale-Hubbell Directory is the oldest and probably the most prestigious US lawyer rating service in existence. Martindale has been rating attorneys for more than 130 years, on the basis of both ability and ethical standards. Lawyers are rated on skills using an “A – B – C” scale, with A representing “very high” legal ability and at least 10 years of practice experience.
The “V” rating means that the attorney is considered by his peers to have “very high” ethical standards. Putting these two ratings together yields an “AV” rating, the highest possible rating. Richard Herman enjoys an AV rating on Martindale-Hubbell, as well as perfect peer review and client ratings.
Super Lawyers is an attorney rating service based on peer evaluations and professional achievements. The Super Lawyers selection process is patented, and it takes into account independent research as well as peer reviews. Although only five percent of all lawyers are named Super Lawyers in any given year, Richard Herman has been named a “Super Lawyer” continuously from 2004 to 2020.
Avvo.com provides a database that includes almost all US lawyers. 97 percent of US lawyers have been rated by Avvo. Avvo rates lawyers on a five-star system, and its ratings are based on evaluations by both clients and peers. The site allows you to read the exact text of the lawyer’s reviews, and it also offers access to his or her resume.
Justia Lawyer Rating and Reviews are based on evaluations by peers and colleagues who are familiar with the work of the lawyer they are evaluating. Lawyers are rated from 1 to 10, and the organization offers a “Justia badge” that can be displayed on a lawyer’s website (subject to state law restrictions on lawyer advertising) as a respected credential.
AILA is the largest organization of immigration lawyers in the United States. Since AILA does not recommend lawyers, membership does not necessarily indicate preeminence in the field of immigration law. If a lawyer is not an AILA member, however, you might be led to wonder how often he actually practices immigration law.
Using the foregoing services should allow you to locate and evaluate immigration lawyers in your area so that you can shortlist the ones that inspire the most confidence in you and schedule an interview.