I hired Miss Stouffer in February 2016 to file an asylum and it was a big mistake of mine to choose her. After few meetings, she wrote down notes related to my case, and then she informed me she needs around four to six weeks to file my asylum case to the immigration.
I paid the initial payment and we agreed that I should pay a monthly payment which I was paying on time.
I waited her more than six weeks to submit my asylum case but it took her more than this period to submit the application to the immigration. I was sending her reminders regarding the status of my case, then finally at end of March, after many reminder emails, she filed the I-589 form along with my IDs to the immigration without attaching my declaration!.
I sent her emails to know when is she going to submit the declaration, she was finding excuses and writing back by saying she knows her job and she knows the good time to submit my declaration. In fact she didn’t want to submit my declaration because she wanted to receive her full fees (which was not what we’ve agreed and signed).
When I came to know that she is not going to file my declaration only before I receive my interview date, I made consultations with many top rated attorneys, they all confirmed that it is much better to submit full case to the immigration however; it’s allowed to submit the declaration before two weeks of the interview date. I’ve been told that may be she doesn’t want to submit my declaration because she has concern that I am not going to continue paying the monthly payment.
After sending several emails to her insisting that I want her to finalize my declaration because she didn’t mention in the beginning she is not going to file it only before I receive the interview notice, finally she sent me the below email. I am going to copy and paste her email between two brackets herewith:
(If you would like to continue working with me, I would gladly schedule a meeting with you to work on your declaration in the next couple of weeks and put your case on the short notice list at the asylum office once you pay the balance owed in full. The balance is currently $2250.00. I had not offered to put your case on the short notice list before since based on my recent experience, you will more likely be scheduled quickly because of your Iraqi citizenship rather than the short notice list. The short notice list currently contains many names. As I've mentioned on several occasions, it is my job to manage the steps of your case. I take this responsibility seriously in your case as I do with all of my clients. Here is the link to make the payment as you did last time:
Lastly, in scanning through my emails, I've noticed around 50 emails back and forth with you during a relatively short period of time. This is far beyond what I planned for when I set the flat rate fee I charged for your case. Out of fairness to me, my staff and my other clients, I can only agree to continue responding to future frequent correspondence from you at the same rate if I bill you for my time in increments of 10 minutes based on my hourly rate of $300.00 per hour. )
I called the State of Bar of California to explain my issue, I’ve been informed that I need to find another attorney for my asylum case and file complaint against her.
Within few days, I hired other att who accepted to continue my asylum case, and worked very hard to finalize it.
He filed my declaration; he also attended to my interview. I was granted the asylum approval and I am on the way to apply for my Green Card.
Response from Christine Stouffer February 28, 2017
I’m sorry you didn’t have a positive experience with my office. My goal as a professional is to work with each client to understand his or her unique circumstances, and then to help present the strongest immigration case under the law. While it’s always my intent to offer the best possible support to each of my clients, I understand I may not be the right fit for everyone. I take feedback to heart, and though it’s always more pleasant to hear positive feedback, any type of feedback is an opportunity for growth and improvement. I'm pleased you found an attorney who was a good fit for you. Most importantly, I’m glad to hear your case was approved.