How Do I Choose a Lawyer for My Asylum Case?
When choosing an attorney to keep you safe in the United States, look for empathy, nationwide experience, and creativity.
Choose Someone Who Understands How You FeelYou know you can't return to your home country, but you are unsure how to go about staying here. You don't have work authorization and you may not have a driver's license. At this point, though, you are just glad to be safe. You have few (or no) family members in the United States and want desperately to win your asylum case so you can get a green card. However, you don't know whom you can trust. One thing you know for certain: you can't afford to lose your case because then you'll risk returning to where you came from.
Choose a lawyer who understands how you are feeling. That person should be part therapist, part friend, and part lawyer. In short, hire a true counselor who understands that asylum clients are not like other immigration clients. They are special.
Choose Someone With Nationwide ExperienceThere are asylum attorneys who work extensively with foreigners from a particular region of the world, or on a particular type of case. Choose someone with extensive experience. For example, this author has successfully represented the following clients:
o A woman from Texas who escaped domestic violence in Iran
o A woman from Wyoming who escaped an "honor killing" in Turkey
o A man from Florida who escaped religious-based death threats in India
Choose Someone with CreativityAn asylum case should be filed within one year of entry. If you are filing after the deadline, it is vital to hire an experienced attorney who is creative because a legal argument will be required to explain why you qualify for an exception to the deadline. This author has obtained asylum for a gay Honduran man from New York four years after entry based on the delay in his "coming out." Similarly, a Colombian woman obtained asylum more than 15 years after entering the US based on religious conversion.