Thousands of people will win a greatly-desired visa to work and stay in the United States this year, but millions more will not. Often, the difference between a “yes” and a “no” lies not in the facts of your case, but in how expertly you work the system. The key is to find an immigration attorney who knows how to do it.

Five Questions to Ask When Choosing an Immigration Attorney

1. Does the practice specialize in Immigration Law?
A large firm that handles many kinds of cases may have a big roster of lawyers, but that doesn’t mean the focus will be on you and your specific case. An attorney who practices Immigration Law exclusively, is like a doctor who specializes in one kind of medicine: It’s best to choose someone who has a history of success dealing with your particular kind of case.

2. Will I work with an actual attorney?
Even when you find a firm that specializes in immigration law, the truth is that the bigger they are the more likely that they will treat Immigration Law is as a “cash cow”. This means that most cases will be handled almost exclusively by paralegals, not lawyers. If you are paying for an attorney, you deserve to be served by one. So it’s good to ask if you can expect to speak to an attorney when you call with questions.

3. What kind of case do I have and does the practice have experience with it?
Even within immigration law, there are many specialties:

  • Work visas for academic institutions
  • Work visas for businesses
  • Spousal and dependent visas for the families of employees
  • Family petitions, Green Cards and citizenship papers
  • Deportations & Asylums

Each of these cases will pose different problems and your attorney will need to handle them differently. Make sure your attorney has experience handling your kind of case.

4. How much personal attention will my case get?
Immigration cases require an exquisite level of attention to detail. An attorney who has practically memorized your file is going to be a lot better at coming up with creative solutions if things don’t go smoothly, than one who is just reviewing a file prepared by a paralegal.

5. What is the firm’s reputation with its clients?
No matter whom you hire, getting references is smart idea. Stellar references are a good indicator that you will be in good hands.

Why there is a scarcity of great Immigration lawyers

With all the demand and all the lawyers graduating from school each year, you would think that there must be plenty of highly competent immigration lawyers out there. Sadly, this isn’t the case.  Why?

In 1985 the brilliant director Terry Gilliam made a film called “Brazil” that – among other things –  portrayed a huge, impersonal bureaucracy that put paperwork ahead of people.  The system in the film was fictional, but dealing with US Immigration Services often feels just like it.

Here are a few reasons why many immigration lawyers produce disappointing results:

  • Immigration Law is a moving target: Homeland Security treats immigration like a yo-yo, and the rules change constantly. It takes vigilance and intense organization to track and keep up with all the changes.
  • Immigration Law requires dogged tenacity: The demand for visas far outstrips the supply. Overwhelmed with requests, the people who handle immigration today consider it their job to cut down the number of applicants as fast as they can, and they’ll use every arcane rule at their disposal to do it. Sometimes the difference between success and failure lies in just how persistent your attorney is willing to be in dealing with the bureaucrats.
  • Immigration Law demands creativity: Anyone can fill out a form and submit a fee. But attorneys who stick to that method are doomed to a low success rate. In order to secure visas consistently, you need an attorney who proactively works every angle of the law in your favor.

Get a tenacious litigator in your corner

My name is Karyn Schiller and I have been a successful attorney since 1990. For years before I began practicing immigration law, I was a litigator, first in the private sector and later as an Assistant District Attorney.

The rigors of litigation have turned out to be superb preparation for handling Immigration Law. Litigators need creativity, discipline and tremendous stamina to beat their courtroom opponents. It turns out that these are exactly the same characteristics that are most needed to deal with the intricacies – sometimes inanities – of immigration law.

As my client, you get the benefit of an immigration lawyer with all the precision, resourcefulness, and tenacity of a litigator.

My clients have ranged from large institutions to individuals. In each case, I know that real people face real consequences, so I treat every case as a fight to the finish.

Whether you need a Green Card for your brother, or an  H1-B work visa for an employee, as your attorney, it’s my job to out-think, outsmart and outlast the other side.

Work with me and you will get:

  • An expert attorney, who knows every nook and cranny of the law and will steer you safely past the many traps and landmines immigration authorities have laid
  • A forward thinker who will map out an immigration timeline for each case and keep you (or your employees ) on track until you reach a successful conclusion. Whether you desire a temporary work visa, or a path all the way to citizenship, I’ll stick by you until you achieve your goal.
  • A determined advocate who won’t just take “no” for an answer.
  • An innovative thinker, who won’t settle for the traditional ways of doing things. I will exploit every possible angle of the law to get you the immigration papers you need
  • A caring lawyer who actually understands the human impact of the law and who will give every case the close, personal attention it deserves.

Your secret weapon for retaining the best personnel

In a tough economy, the last thing you want is to lose a valuable employee or faculty member to immigration issues, and be forced to spend time money and effort trying to replace them.

I have successfully secured working visas, Green Cards and citizenship papers for a wide range of clients, among them educational institutions, high tech companies, media companies financial institutions…  and many more.

I will take immigration challenges off your plate so you can focus on your core business.

A boutique practice that focuses on YOU

Remember: I run a small, intimate practice that allows me to take a personal interest in every single case. Once you become my client, you can always call me – yes ME directly, not an assigned paralegal — and I will get on the phone with you to start figuring out how to solve your problem right away.

As you might imagine,  in order to maintain this level of quality, I take on only a limited number of clients at a time.

In a world where immigration law is treated like a commodity, isn’t it refreshing to find a lawyer who takes the opposite approach?

To join the relatively small group that routinely benefits from my smart, creative, and personal approach, start with a quick, simple phone call to my office. 914-358-1400.

What kind of immigration work can I take care of for you?

  • H1-B Visas
  • PERMs (Labor Certifications)
  • Green Cards
  • Citizenship
  • Spousal Petitions
  • Family Petitions

Look, I won’t lie to you. Obtaining these and many other immigration papers can be a brutally difficult and complicated chore. But with the right amount of preparation, vigilant monitoring of the process and diligent follow-through, it CAN BE DONE.

My entire practice s devoted to just one thing: successfully navigating immigration issues and getting that all important visa, Green card or citizenship just for YOU.


Still wondering if my boutique practice is right for you?  There’s a really simple way to find out…

Click here to receive a FREE 20-minute immigration mini-consult

A lawyer who gives away time for free? Yes.

Why would I do that? Simple, because I respect YOUR time too, and I understand how annoying it is to set up, pay for and spend two hours in a consultation only to decide it’s a bad fit.

This way, you have a risk-free opportunity to get to know me. Plus, to be perfectly honest, pretty much EVERY SINGLE PERSON who has been wise enough to take me up on this offer ends up working with me — and continuing to work with me again and again and AGAIN.

Are my services the cheapest you can find? No. But don’t worry, your jaw won’t fall on the floor either. And my clients keep coming back to me over and over, because they know that my smart, capable, and speedy immigration help is a lot more cost-effective than risking the loss of a critical employee. Or exclusion of a family member from the US.

So, go ahead and get started NOW on solving your immigration law issues. Call to set up your free consult while you are still reading this and its fresh in your mind. 914-358-1400.

Your very own litigator for dealing with immigration,
Karyn Schiller, Esq.

PS: Remember, my practice is intentionally kept small, so if you are really interested in hiring the most effective, personalized, immigration expertise available, click here or  call today. I would hate to have to make you wait weeks or even months simply because my schedule is too full.

PPS: While you are here, why not sign up for my free newsletter too? It contains valuable immigration–related tips and information, written in PLAIN English. And don’t worry, your information is kept in the strictest confidence. I NEVER share my client or email list with anyone. So go ahead and take 10 seconds to sign up to start getting my newsletter now.