LEGAL GUIDE
Written by attorney Nikki Mehrpoo Jacobson | Oct 26, 2011

Sample Disclosure and Mutual Consent to Joint Representation For U Visa

Disclosure and Mutual Consent to Joint Representation

(Organization) has been asked to represent _______________________ in an application for a U Visa as the principal applicant and _________________________, ____________________________, ______________________, and ___________________________ in U visa application(s) as the derivative beneficiary/ies of ___________________’s application. This letter advises all applicants of some of the potential conflicts of interest that may arise in cases of joint representation such as this. While as of now we find no actual conflicts, our ethical obligations as members of the California State Bar require that we disclose these potential conflicts and obtain your written consent to joint representation.

Benefits and Risks of Joint Representation

Joint representation can reduce legal fees and make it easier to obtain needed information. It also seems logical where the parties’ interests are, as now, substantially the same. However, please consider the conflicts that could arise if, for example, one person wishes material information withheld from the other; the family relationship changes; or financial responsibility between the parties changes. Under such circumstances, (Organization) would not be able to simultaneously represent the best interests of each person.

Confidentiality

As your attorneys, we must keep all material information about your case confidential. However, we cannot keep any information secret from any of the persons whom we jointly represent. In addition, after joint representation, the involved parties will have access to all confidential information and secrets should they ever sue each other. (California Evidence Code section 962).

Marital Problems during the U Visa and Adjustment of Status Application Processes

If you and your spouse have trouble in your marriage, it can affect the derivative beneficiary spouse’s application process. If either spouse does not wish to remain married and the U Visa process is not yet completed, the derivative beneficiary may not be able to get his or her U Visa. If either spouse does not wish to remain married and the U Visa Adjustment of Status process is not yet completed, the derivative beneficiary may not be able to apply for permanent resident status. If we receive information that one of you no longer wishes to be married, we have an obligation to disclose this information to the other spouse, and we may not be able to represent either of you in the U Visa process or U Visa Adjustment of Status process without consent from both of you.

Other Family Problems during the Application Process

If the U Visa derivative beneficiary is the child or parent of the principal applicant, changes in the parent child relationship can affect the derivative beneficiary’s application process. These changes include (1) marriage by a minor child, which will cancel derivative child’s status or derivative parent’s status, and (2) a desire by either party to break off the relationship, which may permit the principal applicant to request that the derivative beneficiary be removed from the U Visa process. If (Organization) receives information that there is a problem with a parent child relationship, we have an obligation to disclose this information to all parties, and we may not be able to represent any of you in the visa petition process.

Informed, Written Consent to Joint Representation

California law requires that we obtain written consent from each of you before proceeding on your application. Again, we do not believe that there is an actual conflict at this time. Please feel free to consult with another attorney before signing this informed, written consent to joint representation.

If we become aware of another potential or actual conflict during the course of representing you, we will immediately contact each party. At that time, we will provide each of you with a written explanation of the potential or actual conflict and each of you must give written consent to continue join representation in light of the new potential or actual conflict of interest.

If circumstances arise in which we believe it has become necessary for either party to consult with and/or retain another attorney, we will inform you immediately.

Clients’ Obligation

If either of you become aware of any conflict of interest with any person represented by (Organization) in this matter, you should contact us immediately. If you have any questions with regard to a possible conflict, please contact us immediately.

If you wish our office to continue with this joint representation, please sign this Mutual Consent to Joint Representation form below and return it to us. We will provide each of you with a copy for your files.

Consent

After consideration of my knowledge and facts and events from which this case arises, and the potential conflicts outlined above, I voluntarily and freely consent to dual representation in this matter by (Organization).

Date & Sign

Nikki Mehrpoo Jacobson Attorney at Law / Professor of Law [email protected] THE JACOBSON LAW FIRM, APC Immigration & Nationality ǀ Workers' Compensation 510 West 6th St. Suite 326 Los Angeles , CA 90014 (310) 277-2266 (310) 277-3366 FAX Los Angeles Immigration Lawyers - Free Consultation www.thelosangeleslawyers.com

Additional resources provided by the author

Nikki Mehrpoo Jacobson Attorney at Law / Professor of Law [email protected] THE JACOBSON LAW FIRM, APC Immigration & Nationality ǀ Workers' Compensation 510 West 6th St. Suite 326 Los Angeles , CA 90014 (310) 277-2266 (310) 277-3366 FAX Los Angeles Immigration Lawyers - Free Consultation www.thelosangeleslawyers.com

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