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Ascertaining Qualifications of an Immigration and Nationality Attorney

Transcript of the above video:

In this video, we're going to discuss something that seems to have popped up like a ubiquitous craze that I came across on the internet which is "fake news." Everybody's pointing fingers at everybody saying such and such is fake news and such and such isn't. I'm not here to be political on that topic but there is an issue here in Thailand and otherwise outside the United States. It's a multi-jurisdictional issue. It's the issue of fake lawyers.

Unfortunately, especially in jurisdictions that just don't have the enforcement capabilities or moreover, the inclination it seems in some jurisdictions they just don't view this as a high priority issue, it's the issue of fake lawyers. Unfortunately outside the United States and outside some of the more developed countries, you'll see individuals literally get on the internet and saying they're lawyers. Most of the time these individuals if pressed get rather upset when you asked things like "Where did you get your law degree or license?" and this kind of stuff. But they are out there, they claim to be lawyers. I see it a lot with respect to immigration.

In South American context particularly in Mexico, there's issues revolving around so-called notarios that's not really specific to this region. But yes literally even here in Thailand, there have been foreigners who have been known to come in and just pose as lawyers from their country of origin or from some other country I guess. In theory, it can happen but I don't know anything specific to that.

I myself am an American attorney licensed by state and federal courts for over 10 years as of the time of this filming. I've also been licensed by the U.S. tax courts for some time now and here recently this year, I finally was handed a government license from the U.S. Supreme Court. It was just sent to me. It's a license with respect to the U.S. Supreme Court so I figured if I were to operate internationally, I would need to have that.

But that being said, the reason I bring it up is because it's a problem. Getting bad legal advice can cause people serious problems and to get such advice who's not all qualified to provide that, that can even be a bigger problem because one can be detrimental in relying for information that's just totally skewed and totally unlocked from what's going on.

Again, no lawyer's going to be perfect and the practice of law is very technical, a very complex and challenging thing to do. But that being said, knowing that you're dealing with a competent, qualified legal professional is a good idea. To that end, I'm licensed in the United States so things that come to me pertaining to say, the United Kingdom or Canada or Australia, if it's specific to those matters oftentimes I'd refer it to colleagues here in the country who can deal with such matters. We have Thai attorneys on staff here at the firm that will deal with Thai matters and that's a fairly frequent thing. 

But whomever one is dealing with, it's a good idea to ascertain their credentials. Just ask the individual "Where did you go to Law school?," "Where are you licensed at?," "Where are you qualified?," "What jurisdiction are you qualified?," "What areas of law are you currently practicing?" These are all good questions to ask any individual you're looking to retain a deal with. It's fairly easily done.

With respect to U.S. immigration specifically, pursuant to 292.1 the Code of Federal Regulations, you have to be a licensed attorney to charge fees with respect to assisting in immigration proceedings and anybody that says otherwise, be wary. That being said, I want to say beware but anybody who's watching this video, it's a very good idea and it's not at all going to offend anyone in the legal profession to simply ask "Hey, what are your credentials or your qualifications?," "Where did you get your legal education?" All these questions should be asked by anybody looking to retain professional services.