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Should I sue my lawyer?

Tucson, AZ |

Hello, this is my story.
I came in the USA in 2008 under an F1 visa and i fell out of status on October,6 2011.
My girlfriend that i have been dating for 6 months before i fell out of status and I got married on October,18th 2011. I did some research about the AOS process and hired an immigration lawyer on November 25th 2011. The lawyer told me since my girlfriend was not making enough money that we had to get a sponsor to file the I-867 (affidavit of support).
I was married, living with my wife and searching for a sponsor not until this month on July, 4 2012... i got pulled over; arrested by a cop and got transferred to an immigration detention center. I was desperate and worried sick. After spending a week at the detention center i got out on a $4500 BOND. I contacted my lawyer: he told me that my situation has gotten complicated and that this case now wasn't his area of expertise anymore and that i had to hire someone else. I had paid him $1200 and nothing was accomplished. I later found out that during those 8 months of despair while waiting for a sponsor, i could have sent in my AOS documents to the USCIS or at least have my wife file the I-130. I now have to hire another attorney at law to represent me during my immigration hearing.
I really am emotionally, physically and financially drained.
MY QUESTION: Should i let my lawyer get away with this? Was he supposed to wait for a sponsor to send my AOS? was there really nothing he could have done?

Note: I am not trying to take advantage of this situation for bad reason. I have no more money left. I love my wife; want to continue my studies and really hope i don't get deported. I think my lawyer should have at least given me half of my money since he didn't send anything to the USCIS.

i should rephrase the question. Can i have a refund? i feel like nothing been done I wasted 8 months and $1200

Attorney Answers 4

Posted

When you Re married to a USC it is prudent to file the i130 and I 485 together and the 864 needs to be filed with that package. So the attorney was right in waiting. He could notvhavecknown you werecgoingvtobrun into problems. While you could have filed the i130 in advance none of us do that as it usually is a time waster. I suggest you work it out and see if any refund can be made to help you with the expenses or if the papers were already completed you can get those and not have to pay for those again. Good luck. You should be ok.

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4 comments

Robert West

Robert West

Posted

Suing the lawyer will accomplish nothing and not having any money, It would hard to find any lawyer to sue under these facts on a contingency basis. The advice seems sound but you may be entitled to a partial refund if the lawyer did not draft any forms. Do you know what the lawyer did or did not do?

Asker

Posted

I hired him to do a job, which is to help me with my case. I am no lawyer he should have told me that if i got in any trouble that he wouldn't be able to assist me and i would have hired another more qualified attorney. He took my $1200 which is a lot for me since i have other things to pay for. 1) he didn't send any of my documents to the USCIS 2) After ICE detention he basically tells me "sorry, i can't help you" let me ask you this Why call him IMMIGRATION ATTORNEY?

Deborah Lynne Karapetian

Deborah Lynne Karapetian

Posted

I understand your feelings - some attorneys do not appear in court. It is unfortunate. Some doctors don't do surgery. It is pretty normal.

Robert West

Robert West

Posted

I understand that you are upset but you did ask if you should sue this lawyer. The information provided does not seem to rise to that level. However, you may be entitled to a refund of some money depending on what this lawyer did. I agree with my colleague, some people only do the simple family based adjustments and some do everything. Just like some lawyers only practice immigration and some are general practitioners and do just about everything. Just concentrate on fixing the problem.

Posted

(1) $1,200 is incredibly cheap for preparing and filing an AOS one-step application ... did he draft any preliminary forms, or perform any other work before you told him that your wife didn't have a sufficient income?
(2) US CIS pre-screens filings and will usually send a request-for-evidence within 30 days of filing, if the I-864 doesn't show sufficient income.
(3) If you don't show sufficient income, or have a financial co-sponsor, CIS will deny the entire application, keeping the approximately $1,500 filing fees.
(4) Until they see sufficient income, CIS will not issue any temporary work permits.
(5) If, after reading this, you still think that the attorney didn't do 'anything' for the money you paid, you can contact the state bar association.

Capriotti International Law
www.capriotti.com
franco@capriotti.com
1-503-803-0055
SKYPE 3-WAY VIDEO AVAILABLE

FORMER IMMIGRATION LAW PROFESSOR -- LEGAL DISCLAIMER: This answer is offered for informational purposes only. It does not constitute an attorney-client relationship.

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3 comments

F. J. Capriotti III

F. J. Capriotti III

Posted

For clarification on #3, I should point out that CIS may approve the I-130 only ... but, as the other attorney pointed out .... there is little value in filing the I-130 only ... unless you are planning on: 1.) returning to your home country for 10 years 2.) getting arrested

Asker

Posted

I hired him to do a job, which is to help me with my case. I am no lawyer he should have told me that if i got in any trouble that he wouldn't be able to assist me and i would have hired another more qualified attorney. He took my $1200 which is a lot for me since i have other things to pay for. 1) he didn't send any of my documents to the USCIS 2) After ICE detention he basically tells me "sorry, i can't help you" let me ask you this Why call him IMMIGRATION ATTORNEY?

F. J. Capriotti III

F. J. Capriotti III

Posted

Using all capital letters is known as SHOUTING in web-blog-speak. I can 'hear' you just fine, no need to shout. No lawyer agrees to a 'job'. Specific services are usually spelled out in a retainer agreement, engagement letter, or otherwise. Sending in documents is a very, very, very small part of the service a lawyer provides. The 'bigger' service is consulting and planning the proper course of action. Your delay in finding a joint sponsor for your affidavit of support is ... for all intents-and-purposes, what caused you the problem when you were stopped by the police. Find a non-profit agency to help you ... which you need to understand ... they won't be able to do without a financially stable sponsor.

Posted

I don't see what the attorney did wrong. The I-130, adjustment and affidavit of support are normally mailed in at the same time and there is no point in filing them if you do not meet the requirements or have a cosponsor who does. The attorney has no responsibility to find you a cosponsor, that is yours alone. Even if the attorney had filed the I-130 alone (which is not normal), you still would have been out of status and would have been arrested and would have to post the bond and go to court. The real problem is that you were out of status and that is not the fault of your attorney. Thus, you would most definitely lose in a lawsuit based upon the facts you have given. The fact is that when you fell out of status you violated immigration law and now that you are arrested your situation is extremely complicated. What you need now is an immigration attorney experienced in court who can file the papers in front of the judge and get you out of this. Also, unless your wife's income has changed you will still need a cosponsor. My firm handles these types of cases.
Regards,
Nick Misiti
Misiti Global
212 537 4407

Legal disclaimer: The statement above is general in nature, as not all the facts are known. You should retain an attorney to review all the facts specific to your case in order to receive advise specific to your case. The statement above does not create an attorney/client relationship.

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Posted

There is no basis for a suit. Your failure to get a sponsor for the I-864 was what was preventing the filing, and your arrest is what complicated the case.

J Charles Ferrari Eng & Nishimura 213.622.2255 The statement above is general in nature and does not constitute legal advice, as not all the facts are known. You should retain an attorney to review all the facts specific to your case in order to receive advise specific to your case. The statement above does not create an attorney/client relationship. Answers on Avvo can only be general ones, as specific answers would require knowledge of all the facts. As such, they may or may not apply to the question.

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