Yes, this may be a reasonable understanding of the law based upon your situation. Yet, in some situations, applicants may qualify for the Section 245(i) penalty where a family member or employer filed a petition for the applicant or parent on or before April 30, 2001. There is the physical presence requirement that means he must prove he was in the U.S. on December 20, 2000 unless the petition was filed on or before January 14, 1998.
Frankly, the law is complicated and unless the attorney spends enough time to discuss the situation, a brief consultation can prove incomplete. How much time did you spend discussing this matter with the attorney? Did he discuss cancellation, even if it was not something that he was particularly optimistic about?
Immigration attorneys should take time to ask all of the questions and provide enough legal advice to satisfy a client. If the attorney charged a reasonable fee for the appointment, then he or she may have done an excellent job. If it was free, you may want to prepare a few more questions and answer a few more questions before you are content with the situation.
The above is general information and does not create an attorney-client relationship.