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Why and How to Outsource An Immigration Court Appearance

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Fri Jul 01 2022 4 min read

One of the great benefits of practicing immigration law is that, as a federal practice, you can work with clients outside of your state. This allows you to reach more people and grow your firm. However, the farther from you your clients are, the more challenging it could be to serve them in person, especially if their case goes to court. 

If you work with immigration cases that involve appearing in courts, the possibility of needing to travel for a court appearance may be keeping you from trying to get clients outside your area, and getting in the way of your growth. But the question is, is it always necessary for you to personally show up in court? 

The short answer to that is no, not necessarily. Outsourcing — a term that you may be more used to hearing in the context of manufacturing or technology development — is also possible when it comes to appearing in court. Yes, you can outsource a court appearance to a lawyer who is closer to the location of your court appearance, helping you maintain a high standard of service for your clients, even if you cannot be there yourself. 

In this article we explore some reasons why immigration attorneys outsource their court appearances, and some ways to do that if you’re interested in exploring it. Let’s dive in.

Two common reasons immigration lawyers may outsource court appearances

Here are two possible situations you may find yourself in as an immigration lawyer that may warrant exploring potentially outsourcing a court appearance to another lawyer.

  1. You want to build a practice but aren’t good at in-person court hearings. 

Every attorney has their strengths and weaknesses. Some attorneys aren’t great at or really dislike appearing in court, while others love it, are great at it, etc. Indeed, immigration law is largely practiced outside of the court system, as most processes are completed at an administrative level. So unless you choose to represent clients in removal proceedings or federal court litigation, you might accrue very little, if any, experience in court. In this case, law firms who are able to get clients, whether through a robust referral network, marketing practices, etc. who need representation in court but don’t want to or or don’t feel equipped to do so can consider hiring an attorney to do their court appearances for them. 

  1. You have a virtual firm and can’t travel to court appearances. 

Because immigration law is federal, firms can handle cases across the US regardless of where their office is located. For some immigration cases, all the work can be done remotely with document sharing, video calls, etc. But for cases that require court appearances, it becomes a challenge if your client is in another part of the country. In this case, you can have someone else appear on your behalf and help with the court appearance part of the case. 

Now, how do you go about finding a lawyer to outsource your immigration court appearances to? Let’s move into that in more detail. 

How do you find attorneys to appear in court for you? 

Below we’ve outlined three strategies you can follow to find attorneys around the country to appear in court for you. Some of these are longer-term strategies that may yield relationships and connections beyond a one-time court appearance, while others are more transactional. 

  • Leverage your existing immigration lawyer network and social media channels like LinkedIn or Facebook groups for immigration lawyers or in other communities. This way, you can see if anyone can help you appear in court in a certain area, time, or date. You might be surprised to find how someone you know might be able to and interested in helping.
  • Check with bar associations, such as the state bar association where you need help, the Federal Bar Association’s immigration section, or the AILA career center or member directory for individuals who have the expertise you need and are open to or looking for work.
  • Hire a contract attorney through attorney hiring sites such as Lawyexchange, or even look through gig economy sites such as Upwork. Even though sites like Upwork and Fiverr have job postings in a range of fields and with a range of skills, you can specify what you need in your search - you may be surprised here as well with who’s listed on these sites and how they can help you. 
  • Consider an ongoing partnership with an attorney or firm located in the area where you need to hire someone to appear for you.

There are likely other creative ways in which you can find an immigration attorney in another part of the US to appear in court for you, but hopefully these four scenarios can inspire you to consider expanding your practice, both geographically and in terms of the kind of work you do.

Consolidate your immigration law case management with Docketwise

Our main goal at Docketwise is to help immigration lawyers do what they do best - focus on doing great work for their clients while knowing that the rest of their practice is streamlined, automated and digitized.

Docketwise can help you streamline and digitize your practice so that you can spend more of your time applying your legal knowledge to achieve the most positive outcome possible for your immigration clients. Should you need to outsource a court appearance, you can easily add your contract lawyer to your Docketwise account to collaborate with them, allow access to what they need to prepare for the case, and remove them, as needed, when the court appearance is over. This makes document sharing seamless and helps you keep your clients’ information secure. 

If you want to learn more about how Docketwise can help you streamline your practice — from client questionnaires to form-filling to case management and more — schedule a demo to talk to one of our team members.

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