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How can I switch attorneys at the I-829 stage?

My temporary green card will expire in two months. One month ago, I provided all the necessary information to my attorney to file an I-829 petition. His firm also has some interests in the EB-5 project, which he disclosed in the retaining agreement. He postponed the filing several times, claiming that he was waiting for the latest data from the project. I asked him what the benefit was to file the case with the latest figures, since he can always supplement the information later. Then he did not answer my email anymore. Now it has been a month since I sent him all the related information. I am not sure if this is a usual practice. What should I do now? Can I change my attorney for the I-829 petition? Is the new attorney likely to have difficulties getting necessary documents from the project?

Answers

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    Salvatore Picataggio

    Immigration Attorney
    Answered on

    A new attorney can file a new G28 along with the I-829. Probably should notify the old attorney in writing that you no longer require his or her services.

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    Julia Roussinova

    Immigration Attorney
    Answered on

    There is no problem to switch an attorney. You should first fire the current counsel and then engage the new counsel to prepare and file your case. You are entitled to a copy of your file from the current counsel.

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    A Olusanjo Omoniyi

    Immigration Attorney
    Answered on

    This scenario is very unfortunate. The fact is, you can certainly change your attorney at any time.

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    Charles Foster

    Immigration Attorney
    Answered on

    You can switch attorneys at any time; you do not need a good reason. You simply have the right, if you are dissatisfied with your attorney, to switch to another one, preferably one who's board-certified in immigration law with substantial experience in the field of immigration and specifically representing EB-5 investors. An experienced EB-5 attorney, representing you, should be able to obtain the necessary documents from the EB-5 project. The project/regional center would have a fiduciary duty to provide same to your attorney.

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    Bernard P Wolfsdorf

    Immigration Attorney
    Answered on

    There is no issue with switching attorneys. We often file I-829s for projects and individuals where we did not file the I-526. There is no issue.

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    Marko Issever

    EB-5 Broker Dealer
    Answered on

    I am sorry to hear that you got the runaround. You are absolutely entitled to switch attorneys especially in a case like the one you are describing where your attorney has not been responsive with your case. The regional center should be able to provide your new attorney all the files and supporting documents he needs to file your I-829 petition.

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    Blake Harrison

    Immigration Attorney
    Answered on

    Yes, you can switch attorneys at the I-829 phase. The regional center should provide the new attorney with any requested documents.

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    Lynne Feldman

    Immigration Attorney
    Answered on

    You are absolutely allowed to change your attorney at any time. Select your new attorney and then send a letter or email to your current attorney advising of the change, asking them to send copies of all of your files to the new attorney. If you have already paid for this stage then you need to negotiate a reasonable refund based on what has been done.

  • Avatar

    Stephanie Lee

    Immigration Attorney
    Answered on

    You should file the I-829 petition within the three-month window before your conditional green card expires. If your current attorney is truly collecting all the information, you can trust your attorney. Alternatively, you can change your attorney at any stage if you don't want to work with him. Upon the notice to the regional center or the project team, they should release your documents to your new attorney.

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    Phuong Le

    Immigration Attorney
    Answered on

    Good questions, but first of all, let me extend my sympathy for all the needless headache you've had to endure up to this stage. There are two general rules you should know. One, all attorneys should be responsive with their client's reasonable questions. Two, the client owns his case and can switch attorneys at any given time, including at the I-829 stage. This is something we handle regularly, either from investors who no longer feel that their original law firm is competent or from investors who simply are not satisfied with the level of service from their firm. The only final thing I'd add is if you're switching firms, best to do it sooner rather than later, because you may only have 60 days left to file your I-829 petition.

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    Mark Davies

    Immigration Attorney
    Answered on

    It sounds like there is a conflict of interest here. The good news is that the courts recently ordered a lawyer who was too close to the client'oject to return the EB-5 funds. I realize that you simply want your green card but that is good news if something goes wrong. If his firm has an interest in the project, how can he advise you on risks and problems with that project? How can he take legal action (possibly again himself) to enforce your project rights as an investor? You have the legal right to the counsel of your choice. If you have pre-paid for the I-29, the firm will have to return that payment to you to allow you to give it to the law firm of your choice.

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    Belma Chinchoy

    Immigration Attorney
    Answered on

    Changing attorneys is easy; a simple email and a signed G28 will do it. The bigger question, however, is whether it is the best strategic move for you. I would recommend consulting with another attorney and making sure you carefully review all documents you sign and get copies of all filings.

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    Russell C Weigel, III

    Securities Attorney
    Answered on

    You need to call your immigration attorney immediately and get answers. If that doesn't work, you need to call another immigration attorney for an opinion.

  • Avatar

    BoBi Ahn

    Immigration Attorney
    Answered on

    You can retain new counsel/attorney by having the new attorney submit a G-28 with the I-829 filing and noting the change of attorney.

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