State Of Liberty

Immigration Attorneys: What You Should Know

Kyle Claussen

When trying to practice in the U.S., J-1 physicians are faced with several confusing legal obstacles and deadlines. A quality immigration attorney is a crucial resource for J-1 physicians trying to navigate this process. This is epically true when you consider all the different types of visas (H1-B, O-1, etc.) and the variety of laws that exist within each state when it comes to foreign medical graduates.

Unfortunately, as brought to light in a recent Wall Street Journal article, not all immigration attorneys are adequate in guiding you through the process successfully.

One of the author’s central points is that the lawyers in the in private immigration bar are the lowest quality of any bar organization. This is supported by two studies, here and here. The second study details how almost half of the immigration attorneys appearing in court were not equipped to represent their clients, as determined by judges.

Even worse, an immigration attorney comes with a considerable cost for J-1 physicians, upwards of $15,000 in some cases. This means J-1 physicians can shell out a considerable sum of money for an attorney who may fail in representing them.

Why Is This the Case?

Many J-1 physicians do not understand the complex immigration process and laws involved. They assume that because an attorney is licensed, they are up to par. Immigration attorneys can do a good job, or they can do the bare minimum, the client will not be able to easily discern the difference due to unfamiliarity with the process.

Also, clients who fail in gaining entry cannot easily spread the word about their immigration attorney’s poor performance, since they are not in the US. This dynamic skews the success rate of immigration attorneys and conceals those who regularly fail.

How to Find a Good Immigration Attorney

After reading the Wall Street Journal article and seeing the studies, you might be wondering what kind of odds you have to attain practice privileges in the US. Fortunately, as the article mentions, there are certain groups of immigration attorneys that are highly successful in representing clients. If you do decide to look for your own private immigration attorney, you will need to do your research first and choose carefully.

Here are some quick tips on how to evaluate the quality of an immigration attorney:


One of the strongest indications that your attorney can get J-1 physicians into the US is a referral from a colleague or friend. Especially if the attorney has served multiple J-1 physicians successfully.

Online Reviews

Online resources have made it much easier to distinguish good services from bad services. The same is true with your immigration attorney. If you can find a variety of positive reviews, much likes ours on, then you should feel confident at least initiating contact with the attorney.


A US immigration attorney from your home country or that speaks your first language can be very beneficial. This eliminates many of the “lost in translation” types of issues you may encounter with an English-only speaker and can make you feel more at ease.


You have the right to ask for direct references from your immigration attorney, especially when you are going to be spending thousands of dollars. If they refuse, you might want to look elsewhere for an attorney.

Fair Price

There is an ideal middle-ground for the price of an immigration attorney’s services. If they’re priced too high, they may be taking advantage of you. Too low, and this may be a sign they have a low success rate and are just trying to funnel in as many physicians as possible. Check out more detailed pricing information here.

Be prepared to spend a few thousand dollars, up to $20,000 maximum. If it’s any price above that, you may want to shop around some more.

Services You Need

We understand that trying to find the right immigration attorney can be stressful, much like trying to find the right job. The best thing you can do is reach out to trusted professionals to guide you through the process. With proper evaluation, you can assemble the team you need to practice in the US.