Titanic problems

Titanic problems

Almost every Filipino has seen the movie Titanic, the story of Jack and Rose who sailed that doomed ship, which hit an iceberg and sank.

During consultations, I sometimes compare the person’s immigration situation to sailing on the Titanic. What do I mean by that?  If a person wants to buy a ticket on the Titanic, I want to tell them about all of the possible “icebergs” they may encounter. In the same way, if a person wants to pursue a particular immigration benefit, I think they should be advised of all  the possible issues, problems, dangers, and the like (icebergs), in addition to being told of the requirements and chances.

I know this approach is counter-productive for business. I probably could have more sign ups if I focus solely on the positive, and downplay the negative.  But Filipinos tell me they appreciate my approach. They relate how they went to consultants or others with their situation, and no matter how serious the case, they were told their case is “no problem,” that they have a 95% chance of success, etc., and were asked to immediately sign the retainer contract.  But they felt the law office or paralegal was more interested in getting the sign up and down payment than in giving them a realistic assessment of their situation.

In fact, I have turned down many cases, where I felt the chances were slim, or the risks too great. But I think I owe it to the person to point out their “icebergs”, rather than telling them it will be smooth sailing, when I already know they will encounter problems, issues, or icebergs.  And after pointing out those issues, they can make an informed decision to go forward, or wait for new developments in immigration laws.

And I want to be clear I am not “guaranteeing” success or approval on any person’s case, even a case that seemingly has no icebergs. But I believe it is important for a person to fully understand and be informed on all aspects of their case and situation, not just the positive, but also the negative, so they can determine whether to proceed, and how to possibly deal with and avoid the icebergs.

Michael J. Gurfinkel has been an attorney for over 35 years and is licensed, and an active member of the State Bars of California and New York. All immigration services are provided by, or under the supervision of, an active member of the State Bar of California. Each case is different and results may depend on the facts of the particular case. The information and opinions contained herein (including testimonials, “Success Stories”, endorsements and re-enactments) are of a general nature, and are not intended to apply to any particular case, and do not constitute a prediction, warranty, guarantee or legal advice regarding the outcome of your legal matter. No attorney-client relationship is, or shall be, established with any reader.

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