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4 questions to ask before hiring an immigration lawyer

March 15, 2022

Immigration is a complex field. What’s more, immigration laws have been getting stricter and stricter in recent times. If you’re looking to begin the process, you’ll likely need to hire an immigration lawyer to provide effective legal representation and help you navigate the many complexities along the way.

But how do you know you’re working with a trustworthy immigration lawyer? The last thing you want is to work with someone who is incompetent, or worse, out to defraud you.

Knowing what questions to ask an immigration lawyer during your first meeting will go a long way in helping you decide if they’re the right fit for your needs. With that in mind, here are our top four essential questions to ask when hiring an immigration lawyer.

1. What are your credentials?

Any lawyer representing you must have graduated from law school and must have attained the necessary credentials as outlined by the provincial bar association. Ask the lawyer where they got their degree, then research the school to confirm its credibility.

Here in Canada, practicing immigration lawyers must be licensed by their provincial or territorial bar association. Ask the lawyer for their bar association listing and then verify their standing by visiting the Canadian Government Immigration page.

2. How long have you been practicing and what’s your experience with cases similar to mine?

While immigration lawyers are expected to have extensive knowledge about Canadian immigration law, years of experience can make a stark difference in their ability to properly handle your case. Ask the lawyer how long they’ve been practicing Canadian immigration law.

Another thing to consider is that immigration cases are unique so it’s not always easy to compare them. However, if you have a particular concern in your case, then be sure to ask the lawyer if they have any experience with something similar.

3. How much is your service and what’s the payment structure like?

Obviously, the immigration lawyer’s services will not come free, so it’s important to understand how much it will cost you from the get-go. Only proceed if the amount quoted is within the range of what you can afford. Remember to calculate the total cost in your country’s currency so there’s no confusion when the bill arrives.

Ask about the payment structure too. Some law firms offer flat-rate contracts and then additional billing at set milestones. Others may require an upfront payment and then the balance paid at the end of the contract. In any case, understanding the payment structure is important in helping you plan your finances better and ensure there are no hidden surprises along the way.

4. How long is our retainer agreement good for?

This can be a huge source of confusion so it’s best to get it out of the way as early as possible. Some contracts cover the entire immigration process, while some just cover a specific part.


Before hiring an immigration lawyer, make sure they explicitly say how long the agreement will last. Compare the contract duration to the anticipated processing time of your intended immigration program so you have an idea of what to expect.

Ideally, you want a lawyer who will go with you all the way. But of course, there are instances where you might not need a lawyer, so be sure to consider that as well.

Looking to hire an immigration lawyer?

At Atlas Law Group, we’re all about providing tailored, savvy strategies to address your Canadian immigration concerns. Our professional services include help with visa applications, work permits, appeals and reconsiderations, provincial nominee programs, refugee/asylum hearings, and many more.

With degrees and credentials from top-notch institutions around the globe, our team of lawyers and consultants has what it takes to provide quality, reliable representation every step of the way.

Get in touch

Atlas Law Group is a modern firm taking full advantage of digital solutions like videoconferencing and e-signature systems to simplify client communications. In most cases, you’ll only need to come into our office once, as opposed to making multiple visits, which can be inconvenient.

When it comes to navigating the Canadian immigration system, let us do the heavy lifting for you. Schedule a quick consultation now by calling +1 905-502-8786 or by filling out our contact form.

Immigration lawyer with clients