In this interview, Yakov shares the difference between attorneys and paralegals. He also shares the dangers of using the services of paralegals instead of licensed attorneys for your immigration case.
Michael Levitis 00:06
Hi, everybody. Welcome back to JurisQ.com podcast. This is Michael Levitis and I’m with an immigration attorney, a top notch immigration attorney Yakov Spektor. Welcome back, always a pleasure to have you. You always break it down for us so simple and you make the law alive for us because immigration law works. Sometimes it could get very rigid. It’s not always that fun, but we actually discuss real life situations that could affect you, when you apply for your asylum, for your immigration status change, to stay, live and work in America. One first decision that is very important is use of professionals to aid you to assist you in this process. I see a lot of ads out there. I hear a lot of people using people from the ads for that advertise themselves to be paralegals, immigration paralegals, and they say they can do all types of services are much cheaper than immigration attorneys. To me, already, this sounds nefarious sounds false advertising, because if you get arrested, I’ve never seen a paralegal represent you. If you buy a house, I haven’t seen a paralegal represent you. But immigration law – all of the sudden paralegals can represent you? It doesn’t work this way. Yakov, tell us, please, I’m sure you employ paralegals in your practice that work under you, that’s perfectly fine. But tell us what are the dangers, if you’re using a paralegal and not using a licensed attorney for your immigration case?
Yakov Spektor 02:01
A lot of people come to me and they say: hey, why do I have to pay you so much more money? If there’s this guy, who’s like the uncle of my nieces friend, who will file all the paperwork for way cheaper? It’s just the forms. Let me tell you this. Then you also hear some people will tell you: hey, I did my paperwork with different legal, everything was fine. They basically walk around, telling people to essentially use it for illegal just because they had this particular type of inexperience. But a lot of people are understandably kind of perplexed, and there’s people who are in the lawyer camp, and there’s people who are in the paralegal camp, predictively a lot of lawyers are in lawyer camp, and I am not going to be that much different from the rest of them. I am also firmly in the lawyer camp. But I’ll tell you why. Because sometimes it’s true. Sometimes a paralegal can do the same thing that I can do. But I’ll give you a really easy way to look at it. When you go to your doctor, a lot of things that your doctor is doing for you can probably be done by nurse, right? Why don’t you go and see the nurse for basically everything that ails you? Because the risk is too high, because the doctor will be able to catch something if something goes wrong, you probably don’t want that to be handled by a nurse, you want it to be handled by a doctor. Right? If you’re filing for your Green Card or your citizenship, it’s one of the most important decisions of your life. It’s one of the most complicated processes that you’re going through. What’s your risk tolerance? What are you if things go wrong, even assuming that it’s only 10% chance that things might go wrong? Are you willing to take that risk by essentially going to the nurse instead of a doctor? I’m sure healthy instinctively understand the difference. Like you got to understand that, if you’re filing for your Green Card, how important is that to you or to your family? Then the calculation becomes very different. This is what you want to ask yourself: what’s my risk tolerance?
Michael Levitis 04:39
It sounds too good to be true. Where a paralegal charges you a few hundred bucks for some forms, and you’re gonna get your citizenship. It’s not that simple.
Yakov Spektor 04:47
Well, because essentially all they do is that’s all they do. They file some forms. They don’t consider your situation. What they’re doing, they’re actually putting you on the wrong path to the deportation- it happens a lot.
Michael Levitis 05:01
By the way, that’s a great point. If it comes down to the protection that really goes down to be able to come to court and represent you, at that point, you’re going to have to hire a licensed attorney, you’re going to pay not double, not triple, much more 10 times fold, because now you’re going to have a possibility of a deportation proceeding which costs real money.
Yakov Spektor 05:22
You will have to pay more not because we are indicative, but simply because your disease has now progressed so far that it will cost you much more to fix it.
Michael Levitis 05:31
That’s a great analogy. Also, what comes to my mind is that an attorney has insurance, first of all, attorney is carry legal malpractice insurance of anything happens, where attorney committed a professional mistake, you may be able to sue and recover money, whereas paralegal has no such protection. Right?
Yakov Spektor 05:57
It’s correct. It might make sense, but as you know, when people get large settlements, for their family members, for medical mistakes, their family members dead, but now they have a million dollar, what would you rather have? Same year you probably don’t want to end up in a situation when you would have to sue? Anyone, right? You want your Green Card, you want your status, you want your family to have status here. Do your research, go to a professional?
Michael Levitis 06:29
Speaking of research and attorney, he was researched on because he or she was licensed by a state bar, which means he passed what’s called a character fitness test. His criminal record was checked, and he or she received his license. While a paralegal – you don’tknow who that person is. He is not or she not vetted by anybody. They can always take your money and run, and not even do any work for you. Whereas by an attorney usually that’s not the case. I mean, of course, anything is possible, but you have much more protection when you pay an attorney. So the takeaway here, Yakov, like you said, it’s always best to pay a little more, and by the way, it’s not going to be a tremendous difference, it’s not going to to in the hundreds of thousands of dollars or even tens or thousands of dollars, is going to be different. It’s worth it to pay to go to a licensed attorney, who was able to go to court, able to talk to a judge and present you properly. Yakov, thanks again for great advice. This is why we do it. This is what we do here is educational. This is Public Service announced announcements because a lot of immigrants just don’t have the resources and the knowledge to get all the facts, could be a language barrier, because not in a country for so long. They are vulnerable, vulnerable to people who can take advantage of them such as different scams. We talked before about scams that are out there, perpetrated by different characters and they could fall victim to these paralegals. So it’s very important to contact an attorney, like Yakov Spektor who does immigration and immigration only, nothing else, right? You don’t do real estate, you don’t do personal injury …..
Yakov Spektor 08:33
I only do immigration. But actually, Michael, you touched on a very important point. Guys, if you’re watching this, you’re already way ahead than most people, most people don’t bother to do their research, and it’s actually it falls on you. Things that you might learn in this video or in other videos that we put out — they are important, they might mean a difference for your loved one between staying in this country or being deported. Its own you, you did your research, you found this video, you’re watching this video, tell what you learned to someone else.
Michael Levitis 09:14
Pass on the knowledge and this is what we’ll do here. Well on this very feel-good note, actually feel even much, much better about what we do over here. Thank you for that. Appreciate it. On this note, we’re gonna say goodbye, we’ll see you next time with more great advice and immigration other topics from Yakov Spektor and other knowledgeable and experienced attorneys. Have a good day everybody. Bye bye.
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