Eighteen months after I first concocted the idea of the Immigration Lawyers Organisation (ILO), the new website is finally live here. What do you think? (But for my ropey health, I would have launched this project eons ago).
The purpose of ILO is to become the international quasi-regulator of immigration lawyers. A bold ambition, if ever there was one. Naturally, regulatory powers are normally bequeathed by governments. Here, I am using online reviews coupled with my own investigatory prowess to perform the semi-regulatory function.
Although I am no immigration lawyer, over the years I have sued some dreadful immigration lawyers for their negligent advice, and I remain appalled by what my clients experienced. Lawyers frequently makes errors, and thankfully only some of those errors cause “damage” for our clients. When errors occur, a lawyer is obligated to explain their mistakes to their client and to recommend that their client seeks alternative independent legal advice, which is code for: sue me, for I have done you wrong.
In the immigration legal field, the impact of negligent legal advice could lead to the deportation of someone and, possibly, a death sentence. And once deported, a client, from afar, will struggle to bring a claim against their negligent law firm. Therefore, many errors in the immigration field go unpunished.
The negligent advice experienced by my clients, with the dreadful ramifications for those individuals, lead me to found the ILO. At the ILO, we have created a charter, which the law firms and lawyers must adhere to before they can become verified members. Verified members can show their certification to their clients. My secondary ambition – though allied to my first goal – is that I can drive quality enquiries to the very best immigration lawyers, so that their practices thrive. Through negative online reviews on the platform, the worst lawyers will rightfully be penalised.
When choosing an immigration lawyer, a client is usually in a vulnerable position and could even be choosing their lawyer from their home country, with no personal recommendations upon which to base their decisions. Bringing online reviews – so common in the UK, but less in other countries – to the world at large, should ensure quality.
And it would be remiss of me not to point out that, as with some personal injury law, immigration law can have its dark side. I have done my best to run an ethical personal injury department. ILO is my attempt at improving the quality immigration legal advice.
Currently, we have around 1,000 unverified lawyers on the platform, in 150 countries. My hope is that, over time, the platform becomes the go-to place for people looking for the very best immigration lawyers. Perhaps, in time, clients will be able to instruct quality immigration lawyers via the platform…..
Will this platform make the world a better place? I hope so!
If you know any immigration lawyers who want to engage with the platform, please send them my details.