I agree with you regarding retaining counsel...but not just any lawyer. You must hire one who is committed to you and your case.
The first instance that you raised is a matter of your friend failing to specify he only wanted the partner or head of the firm to go to the interview. Sometimes that costs extra, but if you want the best you have to pay for the best. There was likely no agreement as to which lawyer would appear at the interview. And there was likely no prejudice.
The second instance is just a human issue. Someone got sick! Your friend is upset because another human got sick and couldn't represent him to the best of her ability? That's quite an unreasonable position by your friend.
There are many excellent lawyers who travel the country helping out great people in tough situations. Don't let those two situations steer you away from representation. In fact, remember that an experienced lawyer will have 100's of experiences above yours and your friends and will likely be ready for many variables that arise in the interviews.
I agree with my colleague.
This answer is of a general nature and should not be relied upon as final, nor is it intended as legal advice. Consult with a qualified attorney before making any legal decisions. Gen Kimura, (832) 247-6932.
When someone asks me if it is necessary to have an attorney, I tell them that it is up to them. It is true you can find the forms and instructions online, but you have to be careful and make sure you cross every "t". The example I use is if someone wants to paint their house. It's not an extremely difficult task, but some people would rather do it themselves and some would rather pay someone to come do it for them and take the hassle out of it. It's kind of the same here. Some people can choose to file on their own, and some prefer to have an attorney do it for them so they don't have to mess with the hassle of knowing what documents need to be filed. Also, if you make a mistake, it may be more costly in the future because you will definitely need an attorney then.
As for your friends past experiences, every circumstance is a case-by-case basis. Maybe they had unfit attorneys, and maybe they were less than cooperative clients....I don't know. My best recommendation would be to interview a couple of attorneys and determine whom you think will do the best job for you. I would be glad to set up a consultation, or you can contact any of the qualified attorneys on AVVO. Good luck!
BRImmigrationLaw.com: This is not legal advice as many facts are still unknown, and an attorney-client relationship has not been created.
I agree with my colleagues, but one thing I would like to add is that immigration law is very complex. One detail can make the outcome of a case completely different. There is a list of factors that could make a person ineligible for a green card, and it is hard to know about all those factors unless you read and understand the law. At a minimum, if you had a consultation with a good immigration attorney, hopefully you will at least have an idea of any of those things apply to you. Good luck to you.
The forms are deceptively easy but the legal ramifications of making a mistake can be wide carrying even up to the point of loosing all your fees and having to refile or ending up in deportation. Consult a competent counsel.Check on Avvo or AILA to find a good immigration attorney.
There is a middle road. I suggest that you schedule a consultation with an immigration attorney that handles mainly immigration matters. Immigration law is fascinating, but very complex.
Write your questions down prior to the consultation and make sure you express all concerns to the attorney. It's perfectly OK to ask who will be attending the interview, who will be the interface person, etc. You can make your decision as to hiring the lawyer depending on how your case is explained to you and how your concerns are addressed.
Good luck to you!