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Differences Between An Immigration or Citizenship lawyer, and Paralegals and Public Notaries.

I have a countless number of cases where the client comes to me, a Citizenship lawyer, with a serious problem or an irreparable problem caused by a public notary or a paralegal. These are very sad cases which in majority have resulted in having to sue the paralegal or notary public to return the monies to the individual. We have been successful in the past and have been able to fix the damage done by the paralegal or notary public. However, in some cases there is nothing that can be done.

Protect yourself from the trap that paralegal services and notary publics have. Be informed and do not let anyone take advantage of you or your family.

There is such a big problem with paralegals and public notaries posing as Citizenship lawyers in the United States that I have decided to write this webpage to inform you about the differences between the three. In this site you will learn the difference in education requirements for immigration or citizenship lawyers, public notaries, and paralegals. I will also teach you what each can do for you and your case, what each cannot do for you, and what you can do against them to hold each one responsible.

Lets begin with a description of each:

Immigration or Citizenship lawyer: Only an immigration lawyer or as some call them, Citizenship lawyer is authorized by US law to give legal advice to you. Anyone else, including paralegals and public notaries ARE NOT allowed to give ANY legal advice and that includes advice as to what US immigration form you should submit.

A citizenship lawyer goes to college, obtains a bachelors degree and then goes on to law school to obtain a doctorate degree in law. This in fact makes them doctors, having received a Juris doctorate. The education training takes at minimum seven (7) years after graduation from High School.

A Citizenship lawyer is licensed by his or her State Legal Bar and required to be a member. The State Legal Bars regulate the quality of the attorneys work and protect the public as consumers. By being a member of the State Bar, the citizenship lawyer is required to take legal education classes on a continuous basis to stay up to date with the changes in immigration law.

If you have any complaint or question about a citizenship lawyer (i.e. whether the person is actually a citizenship lawyer, etc), you can contact the local State Bar in your area. The State Bar can sanction, suspend, and even terminate the citizenship lawyer’s right to practice law in that State for any unethical dealings done by him or her. You can find out your local State Bar's web address by searching on google for "(Your State) Bar Association."

The State Bar is there to protect you as the consumer.

Pubic Notaries and Paralegals: Some people think that immigration law is simple and only requires the individual to fill out some immigration forms and they will then receive their green card. They could not be more wrong.

Unfortunately for them, public notaries and paralegals take advantage of this common thought and tell immigrants they do not need a citizenship lawyer; that they can help them themselves. It is really easy for paralegals and public notaries to take advantage of immigrants because the individual is now in a new country, with a different language, different governmental system, and different laws. Paralegals and public notaries know this and take full advantage while they know fully well that they are not authorized to practice law. Sadly enough, the immigrant is the one that suffers the harm. The immigrant may end up losing his or her chance at obtaining a green card, becoming out of status (illegally here) because of wrong information, or even just informing the government that they are currently illegally present in the United States and getting themselves deported.

Public Notaries: A public notary in the United States is NOT an attorney or lawyer. An American public notary is very different from a NOTARIO CIVIL (Civil Notary) of South American or European countries. A European or South American Civil Notary is an educated and trained individual with law school background. He or she has a large amount of responsibility and prestige and has authority by the law to conduct legal transactions.

The US notary public does not have ANY of the rights or powers that a Civil Notary does. The requirements to become a public notary in the US are paying the state fee of $99 and being a high school graduate. You don’t even have to be a US citizen to be a public notary. You don’t have to have any education.

This is why Federal and State law ONLY allow public notaries to provide the US immigration forms to individuals. Notaries are only able to give the US immigration forms to the clients after the client asks for the specific form. According to American law, only an attorney or citizenship lawyer, in other words somebody that has a doctorate degree in law (Juris Doctorate), can provide to you legal advice and information. NOBODY ELSE.

Paralegals: Paralegals are also not attorneys or specialists of immigration law. They are individuals that have some level of education and either work or have worked with lawyers at a law firm. According to Federal and State law, a paralegal is only authorized to work with you under the DIRECT SUPERVISION of an attorney or lawyer. They are NOT lawyers and are NOT allowed by law to give you legal advice or counsel (even WHEN working under the direct supervision of a citizenship lawyer).

Watch out with paralegals claiming to be able to help you. The first thing you need to ask a paralegal is who is the attorney supervising him or her and where is the attorney located. You should then ask to speak to the citizenship lawyer directly. As I indicated above, ONLY the citizenship lawyer is able to give you legal advice; not a public notary or a paralegal.

ALERT: One of the most common scams happening today is paralegals telling their clients that they are able to help. The paralegal then either leads the client to believe they are attorneys or lets them think there is an attorney involved directly supervising his or her work. Well, it then turns out that a lot of these paralegals in reality have no attorney supervising them or the attorney is located in another City or State and has no knowledge whatsoever of the case being worked on.

What does this mean to you?
That you place yourself exclusively in the hands of the paralegal. The paralegal that has not been through formal training of law as have citizenship lawyers. The paralegal that has no regulation by the State Bar of his or her actions. And the paralegal that will not be able to help you once he or she commits a mistake on your immigration case and results in you either not being eligible for your green card or being detained and ordered deported at your own green card interview. Because of course, paralegals not being attorneys, they are not able to accompany you to the green card interview either.

What Can You Do To Protect Yourself?
When meeting with someone to discuss your immigration status, be sure to ask to see the individual's Law Degree Certificate and License of the State Bar. Only attorneys who GRADUATED FROM A US LAW SCHOOL are able to give legal advice in America.

Anyone else is prevented by law. Even an individual who is an attorney or a notary civil in his or her country is not able to give you legal advice in the United States UNLESS he or she is ALSO a US attorney.

You can also contact the local State Bar to confirm that the individual you are planning on seeking legal services from is a barred citizenship lawyer. To find out information about a Florida citizenship lawyer, you can look at the AILA website or the The Florida Bar Website.

Be informed and do not let anyone take advantage of you!



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