Hire the Right Attorneys for I-9 and E-Verify Compliance

Here at the I-9 and E-Verify Blog, for years we’ve encouraged our readers to partner with experienced legal counsel because of the many complexities that I-9 and E-Verify compliance pose. Most questions employers face when completing I-9 Forms or when configuring I-9 compliance policies fall into a vast gray area. Sometimes, there are no correct answers, only slight “better” alternatives. So how does an employer vet legal counsel to assist with I-9 and E-Verify issues? Here’s a primer to whet your appetite:

1. What Do You Need Assistance With? Is your organization in search of attorneys to assist with an internal audit of I-9 Form errors or I-9 business processes? Are you looking to create an I-9 compliance policy after an internal audit has already taken place? Maybe you want to implement an electronic I-9 software? Maybe you only need legal assistance during a NOI or NIF? Maybe you need help with it all? Focusing on the important and urgent issues first and then branching outwards will help you, and your future counselor(s) tackle the issues that much faster.

2. Finding the Perfect Fit. Depending on the size of your organization, your legal needs will vary. Larger organizations may retain full service law firms or specialty immigration boutique firms. Smaller organizations may retain smaller firms that focus solely on immigration compliance issues. Vetting legal counsel requires a determination of the firm’s size and resources to see if it meets your organization’s legal needs. Other factors like fees and the responsiveness of the attorney(s) are also important to consider.

3. Get Referrals.  Ask for References. Seasoned counselors (or specialty law firms) should have experience providing service in a particular practice area and be able to provide available references. Our Guest Blogger Attorneys fall within this category of professionals. Reaching out to industry colleagues for referrals can also be very helpful in determining if a specific attorney or law firm possesses the type of experience your organization seeks.

4. Expertise Is Important. It’s very difficult to be highly skilled in many different practice areas. This is precisely the reason why many employers focus carefully on an attorney’s expertise in a particular practice area. Five years ago, I-9 and E-Verify (immigration) compliance was a limited area of practice. Today, you’ll find more and more firms expanding to incorporate this practice area. However, it’s important discern practical expertise by asking about the depth and frequency of the attorney(s) actual experiences.

5. Response to a Request for Proposal (RFP). Larger employers will typically require vendors to respond to RFP, a process by which a list of questions are posed for vendors to respond. This process usually encompasses the four issues listed above. Smaller organizations may find the RFP particularly helpful.

What other factors have helped in your organization’s search for appropriate legal counsel? Share with us your experience (publicly or privately). Sign up for our newsletter to learn more and stay in touch with our Guest Blogger Attorneys.