FAQs – General

U.S. IMMIGRATION & CITIZENSHIP

Why do I need a lawyer to help me with my immigration case? 

Information is readily available online.  For example, you can go to the USCIS website, fill out the forms, and file your case according to the instructions. If you have a clean case, clearly qualify for the immigration benefit, and have no criminal history, illegal entries or run-ins with immigration authorities, you can potentially do without a lawyer.

The problem is you still have to find the free information. And when you do find it, how do you know whether it’s up to date or outdated…accurate or misleading? A good lawyer can help you sort out what’s legit and what’s junk, and how the rules, regulations, statutes, case law and policies apply to your case.

Consulting a lawyer often makes the difference between getting an approval and getting your application denied or rejected.  Lawyers are better equipped to understand the law and determine how it applies to your specific situation.

You will save yourself time, avoid unnecessary risks, and minimize stress with an experienced lawyer. If you don’t have a lawyer, the process can be much more overwhelming and the outcome is much more uncertain.

Immigration law is complex and ever-changing.  The decisions and findings are often completely discretionary and highly subjective. A simple mistake could end up costing you more money in the long term, result in unnecessary delays, and lead to denial of the petition/application and even deportation from the United States.

Although law is not rocket science and a smart, educated person can learn the law by reading books and going online, raw knowledge is not enough. You need experience, wisdom, and sound judgment, which generally requires several years of dedicated practice.

We’ve seen clients mess up their case because they tried to do things themselves, such as attending a marriage-based green card interview and responding to a Notice of Intent to Deny the visa petition without counsel. Unless your case is squeaky clean and you know exactly what you’re doing, get legal advice and representation from a reputable attorney.

For more information, read our article, “Why hire an immigration lawyer when immigration consultants and online immigration services offer lower rates?

Can you represent me if I don’t live in Minnesota?

The firm is founded by Dyan Williams, who is licensed to practice law in the State of Minnesota. Because immigration law is federal, we represent clients in all 50 states and in every  country around the world in U.S. immigration matters.

We have handled many cases where the clients, applicants or beneficiaries live out of state or overseas, and have never met us in person.  With today’s technology and fast courier service, in-person meetings between attorneys and clients are largely unnecessary.

When it comes to attending a USCIS interview that is out of state, we can travel there or partner with a local attorney.  Given the right preparation, and assuming your case does not have red flags, you can also attend the interview without an attorney.

Subscribe to get immigration e-newsletter, The Legal Immigrant, which includes blog posts, tips and updates.

LEGAL ETHICS & PROFESSIONAL RESPONSIBILITY

Why do I need a lawyer to help me with my legal ethics issues? 

Lawyers often think they know more about legal ethics than they really do. The rules of professional conduct are not as intuitive as they might seem. Also, an ethics grievance, investigation and complaint can bring out strong emotions that interfere with your objectivity and taint your response.

A good legal ethics attorney can help you stay calm and tailor a response that is supported by facts and documents. She can also help you deal with ambiguities in the ethics rules and resolve tough ethics dilemmas. When your attorney license and professional reputation are on the line, you need an objective sounding board and a supportive confidante. A legal ethics attorney fulfills these critical roles.

Can you represent me if I practice outside of Minnesota?

The practice of law is governed by state ethics rules. Dyan Williams Law focuses on the Minnesota Rules of Professional Conduct and how they apply to solo practitioners and small law firm lawyers practicing in the State of Minnesota.

We represent Minnesota lawyers or lawyers who are facing ethics complaints in the State of Minnesota.  Your state bar association can help you find a legal ethics attorney if we are unable to represent you or counsel you.

Because ethics rules are similar across states, however, we can assist you in taking preventing measures even if you are licensed in another state. This includes providing guidance in creating employee training and case management manuals, documenting your office procedures and processes, and preparing checklists and templates for repeatable steps in your client matters. Having the right systems enables you to avoid running afoul of the rules of professional conduct in any state.

We  reserve the right to decline any legal matters that could lead to the unauthorized practice of law in a state where we are not licensed.

Subscribe to get legal ethics e-newsletter, The Ethical Lawyer, which includes blog posts, tips and updates.

RATES & FEES

What are your rates and fees?

Initial assessment is complimentary. Telephone and video consultations are $100/$225. In-person consultations at our downtown Minneapolis office or other locations around the Twin Cities are $125/$225. Consultations typically last an hour.

We normally charge a flat fee for legal representation, counseling and advice. The total fee depends on the complexity of your case, the scope of the matter, the urgency of your matter, and the depth and breadth of guidance you need. With flat fees, you basically pay for the firm’s expertise and work product, and the value you receive, regardless of how much time we spend on your case.

Hourly rates are also an option, especially when your case involves limited representation. For more information, see Options.