Becoming an immigration lawyer requires a great amount of knowledge about the current laws and regulations in immigration procedures. This article concentrates on how to become an immigration lawyer…
There are different types of jobs in the law field, out of which the job of a lawyer or an attorney is a prominent one. There are different types of lawyers, each specializing in their own field of expertise. For example, business lawyers, tax lawyers, criminal lawyer, family lawyer, immigration lawyers, and so on. An immigration lawyer is a professional who has a wide expertise in the immigration procedures and laws of a country.
Career as an Immigration Lawyer
As the name suggests, an immigration lawyer is an expert who is aware of the national and international processes and formalities of immigration to and from his country. He is a person who helps potential immigrants in carrying out the visa paperwork, obtain visas, and assist in addressing various issues that may arise during the process. These attorneys help illegal immigrants to follow appropriate procedures for becoming citizens of a country by naturalization. Immigration lawyers may even handle serious deportation cases of clients.
They visit clients, discuss requirements, obtain necessary documents, and defend their clients in the court of law. This law specialist may be required to coordinate with other departments such as the Department of Justice and Department of Labor. There are many other duties that an they need to perform as per the client’s requirement. Along with educational qualifications, an immigration lawyer needs to possess excellent communication, interpersonal, public speaking and problem-solving skills to interact with different clients and other professionals. The general steps in getting into this career are mentioned in the following section.
How to Become an Immigration Lawyer
The first step is to know what the career entails. Coming to education, a four-year bachelor’s degree is the basic requirement to opt for a career in this field. Next is to seek admission in a recognized law school. In order to get into the law school, you need to qualify in the Law School Admission Test (LSAT). A candidate should obtain a good LSAT score, to gain admission in one of the best law schools.
Make sure that your degree is recognized by the American Bar Association. After you gain admission in a law school, the first-year curriculum would usually include general law studies like constitutional law, real estate law, legal writing and formalities, and similar others. In the second year of the course, you would mainly focus on studies relating to immigration law. This is a very good time to get involved in internships at agencies and small firms which deal in immigration counseling and procedures.
After successful completion of the course, you will be awarded with the Juris Doctor (JD) degree. If you are thinking to start practicing immigration law, you mandatorily need to hold a state license. You will then need to appear for the state bar exam for obtaining the state license. In addition to the bar exam, you might also be required to give the Multistate Essay Examination (MEE), Multistate Performance Test (MPT), and the Multistate Professional Responsibility Examination (MPRE).
Once you have the license to practice, you can do a full-time job at the agency where you completed the internship. As an immigration lawyer, you are supposed to update your knowledge from time to time regarding policy changes and recent developments in the national and international immigration regulations.
The salary in this career field is believed to be around $46,000 per annum; but this largely depends on the type of employer and the number of clients, if one is practicing independently. During your education, you can seek for internships at national immigration administration facilities such as the US Immigration and Customs Enforcement and the US Department of State. To excel in this career, you can even gain additional knowledge about the immigration processes of other countries as well.