With the immigration process, there is a good amount of paperwork to get done, and getting overwhelmed is a common feeling many have when they first sit down to prepare the immigration forms. You may begin to realize it is probably a good idea to hire an immigration lawyer to handle your case and manage the process. Some immigration situations are complicated, and the help of an immigration lawyer can certainly make things easier. If you decide to hire an immigration lawyer, do you homework. here’s 5 tips to keep in mind during your search.

References: Family, friends, and colleagues can be a great resource. Even if they haven’t been through the process themselves, ask if they know any immigration lawyers. They may be able to connect you with someone they know that has used one as well. People tend to be quick to recommend a good lawyer, and point out a bad one. Search AILA: Search for a lawyer on the American Immigration Lawyers Association (AILA) website. AILA is a national association of lawyers and attorneys who teach and practice immigration law, so you can be reasonably certain you’re dealing with someone who understands immigration law and policies. If you’re starting your research from scratch, you can search for a lawyer in your area. If you’ve been given the names of a few lawyers, you can look them up to see if they are members. While membership in AILA is not a requirement to practice immigration law, membership can be a good indication of a lawyer’s level of commitment to the practice. Interview: Talking with potential lawyers to find one that matches what you are looking for is a great way to pick an attorney. Lawyers with experience in your type of case may be important. Also, if the lawyers can provide client references, those contacts can be useful to see the lawyers’ work styles. Fee Schedule: Does this lawyer bill by the hour, or charge a flat fee? This can be important for your budget. Also, additional costs such as postage or long distance charges should be noted. Credentials: Once you have found a lawyer you think you may be comfortable with, checking their credentials. It is uncommon you will come this far and find out they are not licensed, but it is a good idea to contact the local state bar to make sure they are, and that they are in good standing or if he or she has ever been subject to disciplinary action.