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2005-01-24 - 9:24 p.m.

I gave the attny until 2pm to call me back today . I figured if I didn't hear from him by then that he was really just blowing me off. So at 2pm sharp I called the other attorney to leave him a message regarding the prospective work.

I checked my e-mail expecting a polite end to our working relationship. In a way that's what I hoped for!

But out of a sense of obligation to him, I'd like to give him the opportunity for another paying client. This attorney actually paid for me to attend training at AILA (ammerican Immigration Lawyers Association) a few years ago (for $400). He also purchased a few key Immigration Manuals. I in fact have a set at home AND he has a set in his office! That was INCREDIBLE SUPPORT when I was just starting out! He also had me consult with a half dozen of his business clients who had immigration questions regarding employees or potential employees.

The problem is that none of those ended up im anyone retaining him for further immigration work. After going out to lunch with a few of these business owners and him, they all were given an e-mail with the answer to their concerns. The typical response was _"___JANE DOW____has no legal means of applying for a U.S. Visa. He/She is in fact deportable because of___XXXX_____" OR Another common response "It will cost you $$$$$ to seek legal papers for ____JANE DOW______. THe fines for non compliance are _$$ ( A MUCH SMALLER SUM!!)

Hmmm.... pay MORE money to file an application that MIGHT likely result in deportation for a current illegal employee here..... OR TAKE THE RISK of a fine (which is about 1/4 the cost of filing the application!) WHat do you think MOST business owners would do???

The attorney of course ALWAYS recommended the ETHICAL choice! ! But few would choose to follow that advice! Its frustrating. So by being honest I basically give people information and then they choose not to hire me.

Then tonight I checked my e-mail to see that at 2:15pm the first attorney E-Mailed ME to say "We have to talk to the office staff so we are all on the same page" etc.... Blah Blah Blah... I knew the discontent was on the part of his office "girls" as he calls them. And I can't blame them! The clients generally DON't speak English well and come in asking for updates on their immigration cases and the ladies can't communicate very well due to the language barrier.

They are also rightfully uncomforable with not being able to give a better answer to the question of "What is going on with my case? " than "I don't know" once an application is filed! The sad reality is that NO ATTORNEY can really honestly give anyone a BETTER answer than that once a Visa or Naturalization application is mailed into the notorious seeming black hole of the USCIS (former INS). That office just is WAY OVERTAXED and can't keep up....
Maybe that's why there are so few Immigration Attorneys. IT freaks people out to have to wait so long for a response and have to try to keep the clients happy that whole time!

So the office staff must not understand the quirkiness of this area of law enough to not think ME incompetent when they asked me what to tell the clients who called for updates and I said "I don't really know when they will hear-- we just have to wait."

Being in NY last year they complained they found me inacessible (I won't dwell on the fact that while there I established a LOCAL VA CELL # and GAVE IT TO THEM!! SO ALL THEY HAD TO DO WAS TAKE NOTE OF THAT AND THEN I WOULD HAVE BEEN ACCESSIBLE AS I WAS FOR THE OTHER DUDE I DID WORK FOR!) ... I think I better just leave that unsaid. NO use in pointing the finger AT THE LADIES for poor communication. LIVE AND LEARN_-- MAKE ALL COMMUNICATION IN WRITING AND SAVE COPIES! (I likely have this info in an old e-mail to the attny which will be good to print out and show him in a non accusatory manner!) AHHH..... maybe not... its so hard to tell when to confront people and when to just suck it up and let them mistakenly blame you for all problmes!
To be honest, if the attorney himself were not so awesome I'd prefer to just have the other guy supervise my work as he lives closer. I also know he's new to his own office so likely has less support staff! Although its nice to have the staff there as they do stuff for me that I ask, its more of a pain than its worth if they start getting to be difficult and catty. But then again this situation is STILL better than working for the other dude who was truly not that bright (The OED incident of the past was with him....He couldn't interpert the law well so instead incorrectly tried to correct my grammer in his lame attempt at "supervision" of my work!)

This attorney I have continued to work for this far has always been laid back and supportive and has confidence in my ability/jusgement and professional conduct. He also is great at reviewing the stuff I do and signing off..... he carries ALL The liabiltiy!

But most of all , in hindsight I SHOULDN"T HAVE JOKED about being the "prodigal lawyer wanna be" to them when I sauntered back into their office after a year and a half of absence. It made them all question my competence! (And I can't blame them! IT WOULD be malpractice for me to do ANTHING BUT immigration work!) As far as my work goes I am happy to boast that so far I have a 100% success rate of having positve results for EVERY one of the visa or naturalization or dept of labor certification applications I have filed! (OK_ Don't ask how many I've filed : ) But nonetheless I am pleased with my success thus far! AND I HAVE HAD Repeat business a few times! I also just figured out that it was TWENTY YEARS ago when I had my first experience of volunteering at a refugee center with an Immigration Attorney in Southern FL. (A Nun who was in the order my Aunt is also a Nun in,) Since then I have been involved in refugee services, worked at an internship at the Board of Immigration Appeals and done my own consulting. I'm not without experience and a proven track record.

What sucks for me is that child care is a problem. The whole point of doing this consulting is to minimize my time at an office and to take the file home and do the administrative paperwork then hand it back over to the attorney. Why the secretarys and receptionists have to be concerned with it at all is really still a question to me. I guess it comes dowm to that response to the question of what to tell the client that I've given "I don't know"

Well- if this attorney wants decisive answers, he most certainly SHOULD NOT continue to do immigration work! He is well versed in TAX code.... and he is creative enough to see where interpertation is allowed. But typically things like taxes are simply following a formula.

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