This is an age of specialization. Of course, if you have an immigration issue, it makes sense to go to an immigration attorney. But there is super specialization even within the field of immigration. There is business immigration (where employer sponsors). There is family immigration where a blood relative sponsors. Then there is Asylum deportation, etc where courts handle the problems. All these fields are varied, with vast knowledge required for each. Although there are lawyers who does every type of immigration, it is usually difficult to keep abreast of all types of immigration law. Thus if you have a simple problem, sure, a general immigration lawyer will do. Just like if you have a cold or a hang nail, a GP will be fine. But if you have a complicated problem, and go to a lawyer who does not specialize in that type of immigration law, the lawyer may not be able to competently handle your case.
I do mainly business immigration, and see a lot of cases where deportation lawyers screw up business immigration cases. For instance, I’ve seen lawyers doing PERM, instead of H-1B, thereby putting beneficiary out of status, and unable to adjust. I have seen L-1A visa holders for whom lawyers did PERM on EB-3. I’ve seen H-1B extended with B and then the lawyer files perm. Of course the B gets rejected due to the dual intent. I am sure, that deportation lawyers might have seen similar horrible situations when business immigration lawyers do hearings.
It is hard of course for the common person to figure out what type of case they have, and what attorney to go to. Thus clients should ask their lawyers:
1. How many cases of exactly the same type have you handled previously.
2. How many denials, how many approvals.
Although no client has ever done this, and I know it probably impacts the lawyer client relationship, it may not be a bad idea to have this in writing from the lawyer. After all, the lawyer gives you a retainer agreement, I dont see why you cannot have things in writing from the lawyer.
Also, please check the educational certificates of the lawyer. In general,the higher the college they graduated from, the higher their ranking in their college, the better the lawyer will be. Check to see if they were in Law Review. Also, in general, lawyers graduating from a foreign college, (unless its a high profile college you’ve heard of, like Oxford or Cambridge) its usually a good idea to avoid them. Foreign lawyers just have to pass a minimal standard bar exam, which they study for very hard and pass. And even then, they have exams from the 50 states to choose from, and generally choose the easy states.