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Major Mistake on Client’s case - Immigration

My friend practices immigration law. He told me that he made oscaroscaroscar12/14/18
I know that feeling. he has to tell the partner. legalbeagle12/26/18
I don't have a clue about immigration law but assuming every pauperesq12/14/18
Go to the partner and tell him what exactly happened. Then b lazlo12/14/18
it's actually worse. If he doesn't tell his boss and they dingbat12/14/18
Come forward. Not only for the reasons stated above, but th jd4hire12/14/18
Yep, there are often ways around deadline issues. therewillbeblood12/14/18
He said he did not miss a deadline per se. In july the State oscaroscaroscar12/14/18
Whether it was a deadline or not, he made a bad assumption a pauperesq12/14/18
"He had not worked up the case enough to file in July so he jeffm12/14/18
Putting my amateur immigrant lawyer hat on, I think your fri lazlo12/14/18
Wow. Hate to be OP’s friend. This is a reminder of how themapmaster12/14/18
TBH this is on the partner, too lolwutjobs12/14/18
If there wasn’t enough to file on in July and there were n justdoingok12/14/18
Unmarried son or daughter under 21 of a USC is an immediate isthisit12/14/18
Don’t procrastinate, go to the partner now as it may still alphadog1512/15/18
Creative solution here: He can always marry the client’s s genylawyer12/20/18
True love is true love. I'll file it! isthisit12/21/18
FWIW, I have a friend who is an immigration lawyer. The othe onehell12/27/18
Yep, I did a green card app pro bono for an SO and was shock therewillbeblood12/31/18
To the OP - Any updates on your friend? I'm curious abou caj11112/31/18

oscaroscaroscar (Dec 14, 2018 - 10:20 am)

My friend practices immigration law. He told me that he made a major mistake on a client’s case. He’s Not sure what to do. Basically he took forever to file a client’s case, and now her son will turn 21 in a few months and will not able to get permanent residency as a benificary of his mom’s case. Son will also have to leave the U.S. while the rest of the family stays here. My friend is terrified and not sure what to do. He is thinking about quitting his job because he’s too scared to tell the partner he works for. Its a small firm and he feels like he will lose all credibility and be fired on the spot. What should he do??

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legalbeagle (Dec 26, 2018 - 1:59 pm)

I know that feeling. he has to tell the partner.

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pauperesq (Dec 14, 2018 - 11:01 am)

I don't have a clue about immigration law but assuming everything you said is true and this is something that can't be fixed, there is no point in hiding it from the partners. Better they hear it from him now, when there may still be an opportunity for damage control, rather than learning of it after getting served with a malpractice complaint. He may be fired after he tells them. But he almost certainly will be if he says nothing, hoping the issue just goes away, and the family later makes a claim against the firm.

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lazlo (Dec 14, 2018 - 11:27 am)

Go to the partner and tell him what exactly happened. Then bear the consequences.

If he does that, the worst that happens is he's fired and will have a malpractice complaint. They might not even happen (but one or both probably will).

If he doesn't, not only will all those things definitely happen, he will ruin his reputation in the local bar and make it much more difficult to find another job.

Btw time is of the essence. If he hasn't done it by end of business today, it may be too late.

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dingbat (Dec 14, 2018 - 11:54 am)

it's actually worse.

If he doesn't tell his boss and they find out the hard way, they'll probably report him to the bar, and he'll get suspended. Good luck EVER getting a job after that.

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jd4hire (Dec 14, 2018 - 12:04 pm)

Come forward. Not only for the reasons stated above, but the partner might know some methods, petitions, etc. to try and fix the issue. I have no clue on immigration law at all, but maybe the partner could make some emergency filings wherein the associate falls on his sword and makes an argument that it is patently unfair for this man to be deported due to an associate's malpractice.

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therewillbeblood (Dec 14, 2018 - 12:31 pm)

Yep, there are often ways around deadline issues.

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oscaroscaroscar (Dec 14, 2018 - 1:38 pm)

He said he did not miss a deadline per se. In july the State Department announced that starting august there will be no more immigrant visas available. But usually when this has happened in the past, the immigrant visas reset in October. He had not worked up the case enough to file in July so he waited till October when the immigrant visas would be come available like they always have. This year, that did not happen.

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pauperesq (Dec 14, 2018 - 2:33 pm)

Whether it was a deadline or not, he made a bad assumption about what would happen based on past practice. While it certainly explains his inaction, it doesn't excuse it. Bottom line, he needs to come clean about it now to the partners. If he knew this was a problem back in October, he's already waited entirely too long.

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jeffm (Dec 14, 2018 - 3:00 pm)

"He had not worked up the case enough to file in July so he waited till October when the immigrant visas would be come available like they always have."

Why did he not work up the case enough to file in July? Was the client not getting information to him in a timely way? Were there any other extenuating circumstances?

I don't know if immigration law has outs for this kind of thing, but if the client or somebody else is to blame, your friend doesn't have to go falling on the sword.

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lazlo (Dec 14, 2018 - 4:48 pm)

Putting my amateur immigrant lawyer hat on, I think your friend has to tell the client about this ASAP. You don't want the son overstaying his I-94 date, that would seriously screw up his future application.

Tell him to act now!

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themapmaster (Dec 14, 2018 - 2:20 pm)

Wow. Hate to be OP’s friend. This is a reminder of how incredibly stressful small law can be, especially a good reminder for all you biglaw elistists out there.

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lolwutjobs (Dec 14, 2018 - 4:56 pm)

TBH this is on the partner, too

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justdoingok (Dec 14, 2018 - 5:23 pm)

If there wasn’t enough to file on in July and there were no visas from back then, not sure how a filing done in July-November would have changed anything.

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isthisit (Dec 14, 2018 - 6:05 pm)

Unmarried son or daughter under 21 of a USC is an immediate family relative.


File the I-130 and I-485 right away. He will probably age out unless the CSPA helps (which is probably won't). But at least he "did" his job.

What is there to prepare for a parent-child AOS? Birth certificate, school records, pictures, an affidavit from both, and a medical.

Am I missing something? Is mom not a USC or is she just an LPR? If she's an LPR than take a look at the Visa bulletin and see where the F2 visas are at. Nothing to do but wait and sweat it out. Once she Natz he can upgrade his category if it's quicker or ask NVC to capture old date.

Once his Visa comes up (assuming no other issues such as crim, overstay, or fraud) than he'll have to go through consular processing at the consulate.

Your friend screwed up so all he can do now is damage control and hope for no bar complaint.

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alphadog15 (Dec 15, 2018 - 8:51 am)

Don’t procrastinate, go to the partner now as it may still be salvageable.

I was in a somewhat similar situation A few years back and absolutley dreaded telling the partner as he was temperamental even on the best of days. I went and sat down with him, explained everything and was surprised by his calm demeanor (I think he was somewhat impressed that I just laid it all out there). We actually ended up brainstorming an idea with the client and resolved it. Perhaps there’s an alternative that your friend, in his current state of panic, isn’t thinking about.

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genylawyer (Dec 20, 2018 - 12:01 am)

Creative solution here: He can always marry the client’s son! Perfect penance for messing up the file.

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isthisit (Dec 21, 2018 - 4:15 pm)

True love is true love. I'll file it!

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onehell (Dec 27, 2018 - 4:07 pm)

FWIW, I have a friend who is an immigration lawyer. The other day, she posted a long, sad note on Facebook about how the unpredictable actions of the Trump administration have made a lot of things she and others in her field have long relied on unpredictable.

I don't know much about immigration, but in general I know that immigration is a practice area that is rife for the exercise of discretionary decisions by the feds, many of which used to be very predictable for those in the know and which all of a sudden aren't.

Legal malpractice is like medical malpractice in the sense that there's a standard of care. So if it would be normal in the immigration lawyer community to assume the "October reset" you mentioned, then I'm not so sure it has to even be considered a mistake in the first place as opposed to just a change by the administration that the lawyer could not have predicted and has no control over. Trump and his cronies are unpredictable and they take a lot of highly unprecedented actions. My main question is whether this is one of them.

Would other well-known immigration lawyers say "oh yeah of course, that October reset has been the case for decades; this is a total aberration" ? If yes, then the assumption that this lawyer made may have been a reasonable one IMHO.

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therewillbeblood (Dec 31, 2018 - 2:02 pm)

Yep, I did a green card app pro bono for an SO and was shocked by how much of immigration practice comes down to just knowledge of how USCIS tends to do things. Fortunately a friend from law school filled me in on all the weird tricks because otherwise I wouldn't know what to do.

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caj111 (Dec 31, 2018 - 1:38 am)

To the OP -

Any updates on your friend? I'm curious about what transpired.

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