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If you are an immigrant living in the United States, you may be eager for legal help with your immigration status. Or you may be looking for information about how to become a citizen.
But be careful. Unfortunately, there are many dishonest individuals or businesses who may try to take advantage of you. In some cases, they will not only take your money but also may harm your immigration case. Sometimes these dishonest providers pretend to be attorneys or are immigration consultants who tell you that they can provide you with legal advice when they cannot.
The State Bar can connect you to services that will help you find a trustworthy lawyer or immigration consultant. We can also refer you to legal aid organizations that help immigrants.
The State Bar can help you protect yourself against fraud. If you have been the victim of a dishonest lawyer, nonlawyer, immigration consultant or document preparer, the State Bar can investigate it if you file a complaint. If a provider is breaking the law, we can seek to shut down their business and prevent others from being victimized.
Whether you hire an attorney or a legal consultant, it's important to know your rights and how to protect yourself.
If someone promises or provides immigration legal services, but you suspect them of misconduct or of not being a licensed attorney , you should file a complaint with the State Bar so that it can be investigated. There is no charge to file a complaint, and you do not have to be a U.S. citizen to file a complaint. The State Bar does not ask for and does not track your citizen or immigration status.
The State Bar investigates complaints of misconduct against attorneys licensed in California as well as complaints against nonattorneys who defraud consumers by practicing law without a license (also known as UPL).