Authored by Yameena Ansari (Immigration Lawyer at Ansari Immigration Law) & Maryam Markaryan (Law Student at Windsor Law).
In the world of immigration law, the stakes are high, and the regulations are stringent. When it comes to navigating this maze, having an immigration lawyer by your side can make all the difference. In this article, we will explore why hiring lawyers is more advantageous than employing paralegals and immigration consultants.
Lawyers are under the watchful eye of regulatory bodies such as the Law Society of Ontario, ensuring that they fulfill the highest standards of professionalism.
The extensive legal training that lawyers undergo equips them with the skills to effectively navigate the complex legal frameworks that govern immigration. This level of expertise is especially vital in cases that require representation in federal court, where only licensed attorneys are authorized to act.
Not only can lawyers save clients time and money, but they can also provide clients with peace of mind knowing that their case is in the hands of a knowledgeable and experienced professional.
Upholding High Standards in Legal Practice Leads to Better Results:
In immigration law, the strict regulations governing lawyers stand in stark contrast to the more relaxed oversight of consultants. The difference is evident in the fact that consultants are now regulated by their third governing body, due to past ineffectiveness, while lawyers are under the strict supervision of their province’s law society. Lawyers face regular audits and are required to maintain high transparency levels, with the law societies conducting detailed file reviews. Failure to comply can lead to severe consequences, including the loss of their license.
Due to this intense oversight, lawyers tend to have higher application success rates. In 2017, out of 342,154 temporary resident applications received by Canada, a staggering 18.9% were rejected. However, we find that self-represented clients had a rejection rate of 19.3%, while those who hired consultants had a slightly lower rate of 18%. Whereas applicants who sought the expertise of immigration lawyers had an impressively low rejection rate of 10.4%.
This underscores the value of strict regulatory oversight in ensuring better client outcomes.
Depth of Legal Understanding Results in Lowered Risk of Refusal:
When it comes to interpreting laws and regulations, lawyers bring a refined skill set honed through rigorous academic training and practical experience. For instance, a Canadian-trained lawyer has spent at least seven years of intensive study to understand the systems’ ins and outs. This level of understanding can be essential when litigating complex cases.
Federal Court Representation Saves Clients Time and Money:
When applications are refused or delayed, clients’ only effective recourse is Federal Court. Only attorneys are authorized to represent clients in court proceedings.
Meaning that if a client initially retained a paralegal or immigration consultant for their application, the client must now switch to a lawyer. Oftentimes, this switching of legal professionals adds time and money to the clients’ already hefty legal bill.
Furthermore, since paralegals and immigration consultants don’t appear in Federal Court, they may not be properly advising clients on which applications should proceed to court.
By retaining a lawyer at the outset, clients ensure that there will be no break in representation should their file proceed to court. Clients can also rest easy knowing that they’re receiving accurate advice about whether their application should proceed to court or not.
When navigating the complexities of immigration law, the assistance and advice of trained professionals is invaluable. Various factors come into play in determining whether to engage a lawyer, a paralegal, or a consultant. However, when we consider the intense regulatory insight that lawyers endure leading to more successful outcomes for clients, their depth of legal knowledge allowing them to navigate complex cases, and their courtroom representation capabilities, it is clear that lawyers hold significant advantages over paralegals and consultants.