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Tag Archives: immigration solicitors

Top 5 Tips for New Immigration Solicitors and Lawyers

Westkin Associates, as a law firm, has a wide variety of experience levels within its immigration lawyers. Some of our staff built up experience as Immigration barristers, others spent time as non-immigration solicitors. Other junior staff are taken on as part of our immigration training programme.

With this variety, we have developed our top 5 tips for immigration solicitors or anyone working for an immigration law firm.

1. Go Slow and Be Clear

Aside from some notable exceptions, most of our immigration clients have English as a second language. This means that although they are energetic, curious and intelligent, they may find, through no fault of their own, it difficult to understand the advice given. Being slow and clear will add to the clients understanding and is should be followed as best practice. Remember, immigration law is technical in nature and often relies upon concepts that are not common sense based. In those circumstances it pays to be clear. It is also right to note that going to slow to explain a client’s situation at the beginning could well save time later in the immigration law process.

2. Dont Overpromise

There is an old saying that most lawyers, whether in visa work or not, learn at law school, that suggests that you should always manage your client’s expectations. This is of course, best practice for immigration lawyers. It is easy to try and solve a distressed clients problems. You want to make the immigration client feel better so you let them know that you will definitely win their immigration appeal. You might be asked about your success rate and you feel concerned that you want to present the best image to your client. It is important that you resist this temptation and do not oversell. Your client will recommend and rate you highly if you are honest, rather than oversell.

3. Do more work

Some lawyers believe that there experience comes from how long they have been undertaking work. You hear of many immigration solicitors talking about their 40 years of immigration work. Of course, this is helpful, but how much variety and how much actual work do they fit into each day. To become an experienced immigration lawyer you actually have to experience immigration law. It sounds like common sense, but in practice it is hard to achieve. Always look around the law firm, look to more senior lawyer and see what immigration cases they are working on, the more variety of cases you work on, the better you will be as a lawyer.

4. Do good

Being a good immigration lawyer is more than simply doing work. Being a good lawyer involves doing good. Try and help your clients as immigration law involves helping the most vulnerable people at very serious times of their lives. Working with them will produce the best outcome.

5. Always follow up with clients

Keep in touch with your clients during the immigration application, they will appreciate the time you take to make sure all is well and that you care for them.

Westkin Associates

info@westkin.com

5th Floor, Maddox House,
1 Maddox Street
Mayfair
London
W1S 2PZ
United Kingdom
0207 118 4546

Are Immigration Lawyers owed more from clients?

Are Immigration Lawyers owed more from clients than they expect?

When a client takes on an immigration lawyer, one of the things they hope for,  aside from competitive fees and good levels of service is that the lawyer has a good reputation. But where does that good reputation come from and how far should the lawyer go to protect it.

There is a scene in the West Wing, where a lawyer states:

When you hire somebody like me you take on a responsibility to my reputation. If you decide you want to go down in some quasi-orgasmic blaze of self-pity and self-destructive self-aggrandizing attempted glory, all anyone’s going to say is ‘How did Alana Waterman, that smart, tough, savvy Washington infighter, let her client do something so crushingly, boneheaded moronic as to get himself six years in jail?’

At first glance, this seems odd, a lawyer stating the client has a responsibility to them? Surely the responsibility lasts no more than attending appointments on time and paying in a timely fashion?

The arguments in favour of this are also compelling. A lawyer only has his reputation and people assume that the client followed instructions and therefore the lawyer is to blame for the loss or poor result, which directly effects the lawyer’s or law firms reputation.

Immigration lawyers, barristers and solicitors all have the same issue. An immigration law client will no doubt want to win the case and will follow the advice given by the lawyer. If he doesn’t follow the advice due to embarrassment, laziness or not telling the lawyer all the facts and the case is lost, this affects the lawyer’s success rate. All of which is no fault of theirs.

The example would be that of  doctor – no-one expects doctors to be blamed if the patient does not take the medicine that they are prescribed – but the same does not seem to apply to lawyers.

The conclusion, well perhaps this is entirely why the OISC, as a regulator does not allow immigration lawyers to boast of their success rates in any of their marketing materials. This protects the client from easily made bogus claims of 100% success rates. But it also allows for some protection for immigration law firms – the lawyer cannot advertise on success rates which makes him more concerned about the client and less about his own reputation – which probably ensures his reputation in the first place.

Westkin Associates

info@westkin.com

5th Floor, Maddox House,
1 Maddox Street
Mayfair
London
W1S 2PZ
United Kingdom
0207 118 4546

Separating Good and Bad UK Immigration Lawyers

Find out how Westkin is trying to improve immigration law standards

It is difficult to imagine a more vulnerable group of clients than those that are helped by Immigration Law Firms.

Some examples of vulnerability are obvious, those seeking asylum and those who are seeking to remain in the UK citing compassionate circumstances will always need special care. Even those who do not necessarily feel vulnerable have a lot at stake. Having legal permission to remain in the UK is crucial to most people’s lives.

So it makes it much more serious when immigration lawyers let down their clients. The reasons why service standards in this market are so poor are the subject for another blog, but clearly something had to be done.

Westkin has been working with Citizens UK to do improve immigration law firm standards. The project has lots of elements but the key aspects are:

(a)    Education: Immigration clients and community leaders must know what is good practice on the part of immigration solicitors and lawyers. Westkin is working with Citizens UK to help draft a set of guidelines that immigration clients can use to ensure their immigration lawyers are following the correct procedure and of course, best practice.

(b)   Outreach: One of our immigration lawyers – Kelly McClarey has been travelling to various community groups around London to speak directly to clients and community leaders.

(c)    Representation: We are also proud to be the only immigration lawyers involved in a pilot scheme with Westkin to represent clients from a number of community groups around London and beyond.

(d)   Training: Once the pilot is over we will look to train other immigration lawyers to join us in the scheme

We believe that being a good immigration lawyer is more than simply doing work. Being a good lawyer involves doing good. Try and help your clients as immigration law involves helping the most vulnerable people at very serious times of their lives. Working with them will produce the best outcome.

Westkin is now seeking to take this further, seeking to kick start a campaign to improve immigration standards and beyond.

Who are we?

Westkin associates are a team of specialist immigration lawyers and solicitors. We help individuals with their immigration cases, helping them to secure UK visas and make their moves to the UK a reality. For us, working with individuals who have come from troubled or turbulent backgrounds is a common occurrence, and we believe that it is our place to stand up for these individuals. This is why we do what we do.

We promise to keep all data and information entrusted to us confidential and safe. We further promise to ensure that all representations that are submitted by us on your behalf are approved by you before submission. Please note that we are registered with the Information Commissioner and that we have agreed to follow their policies in this respect.

When you choose Westkin Associates as your immigration lawyers you choose a firm that can handle every element of your visa, your visa extension and everything related to setting up in the U.K

Westkin Associates

info@westkin.com

5th Floor, Maddox House,
1 Maddox Street
Mayfair
London
W1S 2PZ
United Kingdom
0207 118 4546

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