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Why does it matter if an EB-5 attorney is affiliated with a regional center?

I have seen some info saying that the EB-5 investor should only ever use their own immigration attorney who is not connected to a regional center, but then I have also seen info saying that the regional center can assign an immigration attorney to the EB-5 investor. Which one is correct? What would the problems be in either scenario?

Answers

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    Jinhee Wilde

    Immigration Attorney
    Answered on

    EB-5 work is a very specialized area of immigration law that requires an attorney to understand not just the immigration law, but also the business documents that controls the investment side as well. Therefore, not all the immigration lawyers could do the EB-5 work. Many regional centers have preference of attorneys with whom they wish to work as they want to make sure that their investors are taken care of by an experienced EB-5 attorney who knows what they are doing. However, this is different than a regional center who dictates to the investors that they could only work with the lawyer that is associated with the regional center, which is not preferable due to the possibility of an inherent conflict of interest. When all the things go well, one attorney who represents both the regional center and the investor may be okay. But, as businesses are unpredictable, things could go sideways despite all the good intentions. Thus, it is advisable that investors have their own lawyer representing their interest only to avoid any conflict situation.

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    Julia Roussinova

    Immigration Attorney
    Answered on

    If an attorney works for a regional center, there may be a conflict of interest to represent you as an individual EB-5 investor. Some centers do not work with outside counsel and offer pre-selected panels of attorneys to choose from, which presents an issue with an investor hiring an independent immigration counsel. Look at each situation and choose a project and immigration attorney carefully.

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    Dale Schwartz

    Immigration Attorney
    Answered on

    It is best if you get your own independent immigration attorney, so there will be no conflicts of interest.

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    Charles Foster

    Immigration Attorney
    Answered on

    Normally, if one already has an experienced attorney who has significant experience in representing individual I-526 EB-5 investors, one would normally use their own attorney. But more typically, the investor in an I-526 petition will rely upon the attorney used by the EB-5 regional center and/or job creating entity. The advantages are that that attorney, while he or she has dual responsibility to both the individual investor client and the regional center, is very familiar with the project and typically would be able to handle the case with greater efficiency.

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    Irina Rostova

    Immigration Attorney
    Answered on

    There is nothing wrong with using the regional center''s attorney from the immigration standpoint. However, for the process of analyzing and selecting a project, it is always prudent to have an "independent" advisor. If the attorney works for the regional center, then they may be limited as to the advice they can give you. For example, they might not be able to give you a comparison between the project they work for and other good prospective projects. However, the advantage of working with an attorney affiliated or recommended by the regional center is that those attorneys are usually vetted and may be very well-familiar with the project. In summary, as long as you had an impartial EB-5 competent advisor help you select and analyze the project, the it is fine to use the regional center''s attorney for the filing of the petition.

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    Bernard P Wolfsdorf

    Immigration Attorney
    Answered on

    Most important is choosing a competent immigration lawyer. Affiliation with a regional center can be a good thing as the lawyer may know the project and be chosen based on his or her extensive knowledge. Look at each situation carefully.

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    Robert V Cornish Jr

    Securities Attorney
    Answered on

    Parties are always free to suggest that they work with certain attorneys. Corporations in general also maintain "panels" of counsel they have compete against one another for work. But when it comes to an investor sponsor suggesting that you use an attorney that they have chosen or is an employee of the project sponsor, you have a number of ethical issues that must be addressed and considered. Most importantly, when an attorney works in-house for an investment firm and ALSO represents the investors in a vehicle sponsored by his employer, there is an actual and inherent conflict of interest that exists, and it is arguable if not doubtful that such a conflict can be waived in meaningful manner. The reasons for this are obvious - the attorney is getting paid on both ends of the deal, whether directly or indirectly, and cannot represent you to the fullest extent possible without abrogating his duties to his larger client, which happens to be his employer. This is why you need to ask many questions of the attorney handling your paperwork, some of which would include how such conflicts are addressed in the state in which they are licensed.

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    Phuong Le

    Immigration Attorney
    Answered on

    It usually boils down to conflict of interest issues (that is because the regional center and the investor''s interests are not necessarily always aligned). An EB-5 firm can, in theory, represent both sides, but only if clear disclosure and waivers are attained from both sides. Sometimes regional centers do have preferred immigration counsel that they feel comfortable working with and who have successfully represented a number of EB-5 investors that they will refer people to, but each situation is different. Best to clarify with the regional center and the firm what the arrangement is (if any).

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