When Immigration Matters

Resources to Help You Choose the Right Immigration Attorney

Posted by Karen-Lee Pollak on Fri, Sep 15, 2017 @ 11:30 AM

Resources written in search bar on virtual screen-389258-edited.jpegimmigration attorneyChoosing the right immigration attorney is a critically important decision that will have lasting consequences for your organization (if you are an employer), for your career future (if you are a student or researcher), or for your financial well-being and family (if you are an alien worker who wants to live and work in the U.S). 

However, at the moment you may be unsure — or perhaps you may be confused and concerned — about how to move forward and find the right immigration attorney, which is a professional who is experienced, knowledgeable, responsive and dedicated to guiding you through the process step-by-step.

Recently, we shared a list of 5 critical questions that you should ask an immigration attorney. As part of this commitment to help you make a smart and safe decision, here are some publicly-available online resources to learn more about immigration attorneys in your area:

Avvo is one of the best known (if not the best known) online resource that features profiles for lawyers in different practice areas — including immigration law — and in various regions and cities in the country. In addition, each lawyer is rated based on aspects such as experience, knowledge, client service, and so on. Importantly, the Avvo rating cannot be influenced by advertising or any other form of payment.

LII is housed at Cornell Law School, and is a collaboration of publishers, legal scholars, computer scientists, government agencies, and other groups and individuals around the world who promote open access to law. Among other useful features (such as an online legal encyclopedia), LII features profiles of immigration lawyers across the country.

Facebook reviews, which typically include written feedback and a rating out of 5 stars, are provided by current and former clients. While these reviews can indeed be useful, it’s important to keep in mind that some individuals who are deeply disappointed with a decision by USCIS or the Department of Labor (or sometimes even their own employer) may “vent” their frustration through a negative review. As such, it is wise to approach this resource accordingly and understand that, in many cases, there is more to the story.

Birdseye is a unique source of information on immigration attorneys (along with other types of attorneys), because it does not feature reviews posted by users/visitors. Rather, it aggregates feedback from various review sites, social media, customer surveys, etc.  

Similar to LII, Justia offers free legal information to the public on a broad range of topics, as well as profiles of lawyers across the country.

A Final Word

Please note that while the above resources can indeed help you learn more about an immigration attorney, they should not be treated as “100% authoritative” — simply because they are not vetted by a third party (e.g. State Law Board, industry association, etc.). The best approach is to use them as part of your evaluation process. 

Learn more about Pollak PLLC's managing partner Karen-Lee Pollak, and be sure to check our profiles out on any of the above resources. Then contact us for your free, no obligation consultation to learn more about our experience, approach, and commitment to client service.

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Karen-Lee Pollak is the Managing Attorney at Pollak PLLC located in Dallas, Texas. She is a frequent speaker, author and blogger on immigration issues. She can be reached at [email protected] or under her twitter handle law_immigration.

Choosing the Right Immigration Attorney: 5 Critical Questions to Ask

Posted by Karen-Lee Pollak on Fri, Sep 08, 2017 @ 11:30 AM

Young woman in casual holding balloon shaped like question mark-698963-edited.jpegimmigration attorneyThe difference between choosing the right immigration attorney vs. the wrong one is significant, and will have long-term implications for you and your family. Obviously, your goal is to make a smart and safe decision — and steer clear of a partnership that may ultimately prove to be disappointing, excessively and unnecessarily costly, and stressful.

To help you head in the right direction — and make the correct choice — here are 5 critical questions to ask any prospective immigration attorney during your initial consultation. 

1. How long have they been practicing immigration law?

Just as doctors, engineers and other professionals have varying degrees of experience — some are emerging in the field, while others are established — immigration lawyers have proficiency and knowledge.

Simply put: when it comes to choosing the right immigration attorney, there is no substitute for experience. Obviously, this includes knowing the law; especially in light of recent rulings and opinions. Less obviously, it includes and in-depth understanding of the application process for various petitions (e.g. USCIS Visa categories).

2. What is their knowledge and experience working on cases like yours?

In a sense, this is an extension of the first question, but it is so important that it warrants its own spot on the list. While a prospective immigration attorney must (as noted above) have in-depth experience in the field, he or she should also have knowledge that relates to your specific case.

For example, whether you are an employer looking to hire an alien worker, or you are an individual who wants to live and work in the U.S. (and possibly petition to have family members join you), you want to ensure that your immigration attorney knows the specific process and protocol inside and out. 

3. Will you be personally working on my case?

It is fine — and often necessary — for the immigration attorney you choose to take a team-based approach to your case, which means that additional skilled staff members (e.g. researchers, etc.) will also be working on your behalf.

However, what is NOT fine — and what you should ensure does not happen — is that your immigration attorney essentially “farms out” your case to colleagues, and does provide both leadership and direct hands-on professional services. It is crucial that your immigration attorney is involved in your case, and is therefore accountable for providing you with agreed upon services in a timely and appropriate manner. 

4. Can you give me an estimate of the cost involved?

This question has a few important aspects that need to be unpacked. The first is that immigration law issues are complex, and as such cannot be “sold” as commodities — i.e. there is no standard fixed price. This is also because a key factor in the length and complexity of your case will be determined by the government.

With this being said, you have every right to receive a realistic estimate of costs, based on a prospective immigration attorney’s experience working on similar cases (again, keep in mind that the word “similar” is used here — not “exactly the same,” since there is no such thing in the legal world as every case is different to some degree).

5. How will we communicate and what can I expect our interaction to be like?

Effective and efficient communication with your immigration attorney is not just important: it is vital. No, this does not mean you will have daily teleconferences lasting several hours. But it certainly does mean that you will receive regular updates (often by email so you have a reference and can review at a time that is convenient to you), and that you are completely up-to-date on all relevant aspects of your case or petition, including the stage it is in.

And of course, all interaction should be professional, respectful, and conveyed in a manner that helps you understand the situation. For example, your immigration attorney should clearly and fully explain various legal terms and processes, and patiently answer your questions. You should never feel intimidated, or that you are “just a file.” You are a human being and immigration matters are, to a greater or lesser extent, life-changing. Your immigration attorney must respect this. If not, then frankly speaking, they are in the wrong field. Immigration law is about people, not about things. 

Learn More

At Pollak PLLC, we have in-depth experience in immigration law covering a full range of cases and petitions for employers, entrepreneurs and workers (and their family members). Our principal Karen-Lee Pollak personally leads and works on each case, and ensures that all communication is effective, efficient and client-focused. To learn more, schedule your initial consultation today. There is no cost or obligation.

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Karen-Lee Pollak is the Managing Attorney at Pollak PLLC located in Dallas, Texas. She is a frequent speaker, author and blogger on immigration issues. She can be reached at [email protected] or under her twitter handle law_immigration.

Karen-Lee Pollak Offering U.S. Immigration Consultations in South Africa from April 13th - 23rd

Posted by Michael Pollak on Sun, Mar 19, 2017 @ 10:29 PM

E--Documents_and_Settings-mpollak-My_Documents-My_PowerPoints-World_Map__Statue_of_Liberty-resiz.jpgWant To Live and Work in the USA? 

ImmigrationWe all hear scary stories of attempting to emigrate to the United States. From what one hears and reads, immigration to the United States is not for the faint hearted. However, a lot of misconceptions exist about this process. The secret to success in a smooth transition to moving to the United States, whether permanently or temporarily, is often just a mixture of understanding how the immigration process works and gaining knowledge on the best type of visa for you and your family.

Pollak PLLC will be in South Africa providing immigration consultations in Johannesburg from April 13-19th and Cape Town from April 20-23rd. Complete the form below or mail us at [email protected] to schedule.

She will be providing consulting services at the Hyatt Regency Johannesburg located at 91 Oxford Road, 2132, Johannesburg. Location in Cape Town to be determined shortly. 

Newsweek Promotional Feature Spotlights Karen-Lee Pollak

Posted by Michael Pollak on Tue, Jul 31, 2012 @ 7:00 AM

Karen-Lee PollakImmigration Attorney, Karen-Lee Pollak, of the law firm Bell Nunnally & Martin was recently featured in Newsweek Magazine's July 16th 2012 Issue, in the Leaders in Immigration Law Showcase.  The section is a part of Newsweek's 2012 Leaders promotional section - which  features the leading individuals or group practices in various specialties of law and healthcare.

Karen leads Bell Nunnally's immigration practice, providing full-service legal immigration advice and representation. She focuses her practice on both family and corporate based immigration representing Fortune 1000 corporations and individuals with their immigrant and non immigrant visa needs, including professionals, athletes, spouses and family members of current U.S. residents, authors, students, investors and entreprenuers. As an immigrant herself, Karen understands what a critical decision it is moving family or employees to the United States.

Bell Nunnally Boosts Immigration Practice with Karen-Lee Pollak

Posted by Michael Pollak on Mon, Oct 31, 2011 @ 6:01 PM

DALLAS, TX, Oct 31, 2011 (MARKETWIRE via COMTEX) -- Karen-Lee Pollak joins Bell Nunnally & Martin LLP as a partner and head of the firm's immigration practice, and Cynthia Cole joins the firm as senior counsel in the bankruptcy and restructuring area.

"It's fantastic to be in a position to bring on two talented and accomplished women who will not only be assets to our clients, but who will also help mentor and serve as role models for our growing group of female associates," said James Skochdopole, managing partner of Bell Nunnally.

Karen-Lee PollakPreviously head of the immigration practice at Goins, Underkofler, Crawford & Langdon, LLP, Pollak provides business immigration advice to a wide variety of clients. She handles the full array of immigrant and non-immigrant visa needs for executives and other professionals, athletes, authors, students, investors and entrepreneurs; PERM labor certifications; and employment- and family-based permanent residency petitions and citizenship. Pollak also assists businesses with compliance audits and the formation of immigration-related policies. She handles immigration litigation in the federal court under the Administrative Procedures Act and removal defense.

"As an immigrant herself, Karen is acutely aware of the challenges of global migration and its absolute necessity in the 21st century business world. Her deep knowledge in hot-button areas, such as entry clearances, temporary work and H-1B visas and residence permits, is a vital tool for our clients and will undoubtedly help them to achieve their business goals without limitation by geographic boundaries," added Skochdopole.

Pollak is a member of the American Immigration Lawyers Association; the Dallas Bar Association; the Texas Women Lawyers Association; and both the Texas and California bar associations. Selected as a Texas Monthly magazine "Rising Star" in 2009, she is a graduate of the University of the Witwatersrand, Johannesburg, South Africa, where she earned both an LL.B. (1993) and a B.A. (1989).

During her decade of legal practice, Cole has focused intensely on bankruptcy and corporate reorganization, developing innovative approaches to help resolve clients' business issues. She has extensive experience in all aspects of corporate restructuring, insolvency and bankruptcy and has represented debtors, creditors, trustees, examiners, official and unofficial committees, and secured and unsecured creditors across the U.S. and abroad. Cole also plays a pivotal role in coordinating counsel in other legal and business disciplines relevant to the restructuring process, including corporate, finance, real estate, employment, tax and litigation. Most recently managing member at Cole & Company, PLLC, she also practiced for more than five years with Dallas-based Neligan Foley LLP.

"Cyndee truly partners with her clients to help them achieve the best possible outcome from what can be a challenging process. Using her wealth of experience representing and working with debtors, creditors and creditor's committees, she employs a strategic, and often times creative, approach to restructuring," said Jeffrey R. Erler, a partner and head of Bell Nunnally's Bankruptcy and Financial Restructuring practice.

Named a "Rising Star" by Texas Monthly magazine in 2009, 2010 and 2011, Cole is a member of the Texas Young Bankruptcy Lawyers Association, Dallas Association of Young Lawyers, Dallas Bar Association and the John C. Ford Inn of Court. She earned her J.D. and B.C.L. (2001) from Louisiana State University's Paul M. Herbert Law Center and her B.A. (1998) from Louisiana State University.

About Bell Nunnally & Martin LLP. Bell Nunnally & Martin LLP is a premier full-service law firm serving a national client base and dedicated to delivering the highest quality legal services to clients through a full knowledge of their objectives. The firm is one of the 50 largest in Texas and has repeatedly been named a "Go-To" law firm for America's largest companies in Corporate Counsel magazine. For more information, please visit www.bellnunnally.com .

         
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Immigration Attorney Karen Pollak Appears As Guest on SAfm

Posted by Michael Pollak on Fri, Oct 08, 2010 @ 2:02 PM

Karen-Lee Pollak was recently in Johannesburg conducting immigration consultations from September 20 to October 03, 2010. SAfmDespite a hectic schedule, she appeared as a guest on September 22 with Naye Lupondwana on his "Talk Shop" current affairs talk show for the SABC’s international radio station Channel African SAfm.

As a South African and an immigrant to United States, Karen is uniquely positioned to assist other foreign nationals as she has been through the entire immigration process herself. She shared her experience, expertise, and insight into the complex US immigration process with the Naye and his audience. 

Listen to the entire interview...

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US Immigration & Family Podcast

Posted by Michael Pollak on Mon, Sep 13, 2010 @ 1:10 PM
Attorney Karen-Lee Pollak answers the following questions about immigration:
  • What is the difference between a US Citizen and a legal permanent resident when it comes to immigration law?
  • If you are a US citizen, and have relatives in other countries that would like to come to the US, what is the process to make this happen?
  • What about if you are a legal permanent resident?
  • What is a K1 visa, K3 visa or B2 visa?
  • If a US citizen and a non-US citizen want to get married in the US, do they have to go through a marriage interview process? What can they expect?
ImmigrationPodcast KarenPollak sound bite

Karen Pollak Offering U.S. Immigration Consultations in South Africa

Posted by Michael Pollak on Sun, Aug 29, 2010 @ 3:09 PM

We all hear scary war stories of attempting to emigrate to the United States. From what one hears and reads, immigration to the United States is not for the faint hearted. However, a lot of misconceptions exist about this process. The secret to success in a smooth transition to moving to the United States, whether permanently or temporarily, is often just a mixture of understanding how the immigration process works and gaining knowledge on the best type of visa for you and your family.

Karen-Lee Pollak, shareholder and immigration practice chair of the AV rated U.S. law firm: Goins, Underkofler, Crawford & Langdon, LLP; will be in Johannesburg to conduct immigration consultations from 20 September to 03 October, 2010.

ImmigrationShe will be providing consulting services at the law offices of Cyril Ziman & Associates, Inc., located at 43 Keyes Ave, Rosebank, Johannesburg. Please feel free to contact the local office at +27 11 880 9363 or contact Karen-Lee directly via email at [email protected] in order to schedule an appointment.

Immigration Attorney Scheduling Consultations in South Africa

Posted by Michael Pollak on Wed, Aug 18, 2010 @ 7:40 PM

Immigration Lawyer Karen PollakKaren will be in Johannesburg in mid-September and will be accepting immigration consultations from September 20, 2010 through October 3, 2010.  She will be providing consulting services at the law offices of Cyril Ziman & Associates, Inc., located at 43 Keyes Ave Rosebank Johannesburg 2196.  The telephone number there is 011-880-9363.  Please feel free to call the local number to schedule an appointment or you can email Karen directly at [email protected]

Please pass this information on to your friends and family who may be considering options to live and work in the United States. 

Inside the Minds: Employing International Workers, 2010 ed

Posted by Michael Pollak on Fri, May 28, 2010 @ 10:20 AM

The official release date for Inside the Minds: Employing International Workers, 2010 ed is now June 2010. The book will will be available in bookstores nationwide.

Immigration Attorney, Karen Pollak was selected as a contributing author based upon her experience and C-level standing within the professional community.  Her article "Key Issues an Employer Needs to Understand When Sponsoring an Employee for a Non-Immigrant Visa or Green Card" will appear in the 2010 edition.

Inside the Minds: Employing International Workers, 2010 ed

Employing International Workers provides an authoritative, insider's perspective on counseling clients on the opportunities and challenges of hiring foreign employees. Featuring partners from law firms across the country, these experts guide the reader through the latest developments in the recruiting and hiring process, with an emphasis on worker trends, strategies for multinational firms, increased enforcement activity, and the impact of today's economic and political culture on immigration policies.

They discuss the intricacies involved in handling complex immigration matters for corporate clients and offer proven recommendations for navigating the visa process and working with immigration authorities and international recruits. From filling out I-9 forms and filing H-1Bs to creating a compliance manual and understanding E-Verify, these top lawyers give tips on following a thorough compliance program and understanding immigration requirements once a foreign employee is hired. Additionally, these leaders reveal their tips for educating clients on immigration, avoiding penalties, and weighing the benefits and costs of hiring international workers.

The different niches represented and the breadth of perspectives presented enable readers to get inside some of the great legal minds of today, as these experienced lawyers offer up their thoughts around the keys to success within this dynamic field. Inside the Minds provides readers with proven business intelligence from C-Level executives and lawyers (Chairman, CEO, CFO, CMO, Partner) from the world's most respected companies and firms nationwide.

Each chapter is comparable to an essay/thought leadership piece and is a future-oriented look at where an industry, profession, or topic is heading and the most important issues for the future.

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