“Mr. Phipps, will you help me fill out these forms?”

I am sometimes asked if I can be hired to “fill out the forms.” A lawyer cannot ethically do this. If a person needs to hire an attorney, the attorney’s role is to evaluate possible legal complications with the case and to guide the case through the convolutions that many immigration cases take. Filling out a form, without a full review of the case, is not an appropriate role for an attorney.

At times, there are straightforward situations in which a consultation may be enough for me to explain the process and the potential clients may be able to complete the paperwork on their own. However, most immigration processes in the United States are neither simple nor straightforward. If you are paying for immigration-related services, you should be paying for legal representation by an attorney who is experienced with the U.S. immigration system.

Postscript: Every once in awhile I have people tell me that they paid a fee to download a U.S. immigration form. These forms are available at uscis.gov for free. Do not ever pay for a free form. You may need to pay for legal representation to navigate the laws that led to those forms, but there is never a reason to pay for the forms themselves.