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Jennifer J. Barnes-Leading panelist (EOIR Disciplinary Counsel) Catherine L. Kello (DC Assistant Bar Counsel) Amy Paulick (Maryland Assistant Bar Counsel)

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Presentation on theme: "Jennifer J. Barnes-Leading panelist (EOIR Disciplinary Counsel) Catherine L. Kello (DC Assistant Bar Counsel) Amy Paulick (Maryland Assistant Bar Counsel)"— Presentation transcript:

1 Jennifer J. Barnes-Leading panelist (EOIR Disciplinary Counsel) Catherine L. Kello (DC Assistant Bar Counsel) Amy Paulick (Maryland Assistant Bar Counsel) Moderator: Jonathan S. Greene (The Greene Law Firm)

2 7) Failure to appear for court or a USCIS interview 8) Argue the wrong standard 9) Miss filing deadlines 10) Conflict of interest when alien (I-130 beneficiary) and U.S. citizen spouse (I-130 petitioner) are divorced 11) Charge a grossly excessive fee 12) Failure to provide competent representation to a client 1) Failure to have a written retainer (especially in the client’s native language) 2) Failure to hold retainer in trust 3) Failure to hold filing fees in trust 4) Failure to keep detailed work records to justify earning their fee 5) Failure to transfer the file upon discharge 6) Failure to communicate with client within a reasonable amount of time

3 Warning Letter of Admonition Private Reprimand Public Censure Suspension Disbarment **There may be disciplinary repercussions and financial repercussions

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5 Checklist of things to remember 1. RETAINER: Have a written retainer agreement w/a copy in client’s native language if possible; retainer agreement should specify if it’s a flat fee or hourly; even if flat fee, it needs to specify the hourly rate so that refund can be given if representation is terminated; keep track of time spent on case even in flat fee cases. 2. SPECIFIC MATTER: Specify the terms of the representation (ie, “1-130/I- 485 before USCIS,” not “represent client on his/her immigration matter” because if the I-130/I-485 is denied, the client could be put in proceedings, and it would not be clear if the attorney would still be on the hook). 3. CASE PROGRESS: Keep the client informed of the case’s progress. Take time to talk to the client. !!! Explain what is going on. If nothing is going on (ie, still waiting for USCIS for adjudicate the petition, have no idea how long it will take), then say so. 4. CONFLICT: Remember that IF you represent BOTH the US citizen and the alien in an I-130/I-485 application and if the marriage goes bad, you have to withdraw from BOTH cases. 5. FOLLOW UP: Keep copies of tracking info to make sure DHS receives mail and make sure that USCIS issues receipts. While you may be able to prove that something was received via FedEx tracking, etc., it means nothing if you don’t get a USCIS receipt. 6. TERMINATION: If you’re terminated, give the client’s file back promptly. 7. PHONE CALLS: Take notes of all phone calls. Have several ways to check calendar conflicts (desk calendar, outlook, wall/secretary) Train office personnel to handle complaints promptly and efficiently. Write clear retainer agreements, do not try to force a one- page retainer.

6 1- EOIR Office of the General Counsel: 2-Maryland Bar, Attorney Grievance Commission: Phone (410) DC Bar, Legal Ethics Committee: resources/legal-ethics/advice.cfm Phone: AILA Ethics resources: 5-AILA Legal Ethics

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