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Law Office of Joseph C. Grasmick --Business Immigration--
Established in 1979

FAQ: Business Immigration Legal Fees, Frequently Asked Questions
For Canadians earning $70,000+ in the U.S.

Introduction to This Page
1. How much will it cost ?
2. How do you justify these fees?
3. Why pay in advance?
4. Why not bill hourly?
5. Do you guarantee results?
6. Can you guarantee fees?
7. Is it cheaper if we do it ourselves?
8. Can I keep fees down?
9. Can you give us a discount?
10. Why bill for expenses?
11. What do you charge for a consultation?

At a time when. . .the ability of companies to attract and hang on to managers is low, Corporate America has concluded that investing in people is the way to stay ahead. ---Business Week

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Introduction to This Page

Business ImmigrationPhotograph of Joseph C. Grasmick



TEL: (716) 842-3100

Dear Readers:

This FAQ answers questions about our billing procedures.

My goal is satisfied clients. Client satisfaction depends on accurate expectations of billing amounts and procedures. I hope this plain English FAQ contributes to this accuracy.

Legal fees are a substantial investment. At the same time, the stakes are high. This FAQ helps you measure the return on your investment. The information will allow you to evaluate my services to see how they meet your needs.

Also review this information from a client perspective.


Joseph C. Grasmick

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1. How Much Will It Cost?

(See client comments re: costs and benefits of our services.)

Typical Legal Fees
Permit: Fees:
1/2 hour telephone consultation Current rate
One written evaluation of paperwork you prepare. Up to 1/2 the fee.
B-1-documentation; no border representation $2,195
B-1-accompany at border $3,695
E-2 $15,800
TN -closely related bachelor's degree $5,975
TN -no closely related bachelor's degree; all Management Consultants & Scientific Technicians $8,875
H-1 -with required bachelor's degree, taking into account "Canadian twists" $9,815
Reissue expired proposal $595
L-1-traditional manager-sizeable company $7,640
L-1-functional manager or start up company $9,910
1 Prior Denial or RFE (immigration's request for more information) Up to double the fee.
Green Card-Intracompany Transferee-sizeable company; Family, TN to Green Card $10,000.00+
Green Card-National Interest Waiver or individual Labor Certification $15,000.00+
Re-entry Permit-Returning Resident Permit $3,950
Naturalization $6,345

These fees may or may not match the cost of your matter. Request an estimate of legal fees. Do not rely on these amounts in your personal and business planning until we accept your Retainer Agreement.

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2. How do you justify these fees?

Quality and Value: A Summary Outline

Overall Satisfaction
  • High probability of success
    • 30 years' practice exclusively in immigration---a very specialized area itself.
    • Clients are almost all Canadian. The law is different for Canadians. It is even more complex. The lawyer must be competent in business immigration and special Canadian rules.
    • We concentrate on business and professional visas---your visa---not asylum, or deportation hearings.
    • Petitions are customized. We handcraft paperwork for each person, profession, and business to make your situation fit within the law. This takes high-quality, senior attorney time.
    • We work for fewer clients and can spend more time on each case
  • The stakes are high.
    • Cutting corners stimulates higher fees in the long run. Our goal: do it right the first time, even if we have to work harder. Denials are more likely the second time around. Appeals of denials are expensive and can take years. (See how actual clients evaluate these benefits.)
    • A quick, careless work permit application---even if successful---can jeopardize permanent residency later.
    • Delays resulting from careless applications can make things more complicated and expensive.
      • Unnecessary renewals of temporary permits while you are waiting for permanent residency.
      • Expensive changes to business and personal plans if you do not get your work permit on time.

The cost of operating a specialty legal practice is unusually high. Immigration legal materials are expensive and we must have a complete library. The library contains published materials and hundreds of memos, opinion letters and telephone messages from our sources. The library must be updated daily. To save legal research time, most of our materials are now on expensive CD-ROM services.

Without this information, we could not maximize your chances of success. Immigration practice changes swiftly. Information about these changes is often secret, informal, or hard to find out. We often use crucial new information in a petition that we have received on that same day.

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3. Why Pay In Advance?

In the practice of law it is common to bill in advance. It is not simply a matter of credit risk. At a small specialized firm it is even more important:

  • A business requirement. We cannot spread out expenditures over many clients. We are a small, specialized firm working on important business and professional matters. We work intensively---over short periods of time---on select time sensitive matters. We are dependent on a few matters to cover our operating expenses.
  • The system saves you money. Advance payment avoids financing our receivables---costs that would otherwise pass on to you.
  • It represents a commitment. In many organizations authorizing a payable invokes a formal decision making process committing all parties to a course of action. Clear communication within the organization results---a necessary prerequisite to effective legal representation.
  • Payment prevents delay. Immigration processing requires government fees and incidental costs which we must pay on short notice.

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4. Why Not Bill Hourly?

I bill fixed amounts. This minimizes surprises.  This allows you to evaluate and budget the real cost -- the total cost. (95% of our clients affirm that they did indeed understand fees and billing policies before the work started.)

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5. Do You Guarantee Results?

See topic on Links page:
Representative Clients

It is not appropriate to use contingency billing or to guarantee results in an immigration matter.

As an alternative to such a guarantee select an attorney who will most likely succeed. It is little consolation to get a refund if you are denied. Too much is at stake. (97% of our clients are satisfied with the results they received.)

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6. Can You Guarantee Fees?


With our Satisfied Client Rule we stick to our estimates. Exceptions are clearly written in the Retainer Agreement.

With our Satisfied Client Rule we stick to our estimates.

We know the importance of your budget. One of the questions we ask on our concluding questionnaire given to all clients is "Are your fees what your lawyer said they would be?"

Using one fixed total fee instead of billing hourly and for separrate expenses, lets you predict your costs.

It is in our interest to keep your fees as predictable as possible. Why?

We must be competitive. To succeed we must have satisfied clients.

This goal is impossible when clients are not happy with fees. We need clients to use our services for future matters. Satisfied clients are the best source of referrals for new matters.

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7. Is It Cheaper If We Do It Ourselves?

When deciding whether to do it yourself, evaluate the importance of your immigration matter.

What can be at stake:

  • Business. The key to expansion plans, millions of dollars in revenues, and the very survival of some companies.
  • Profession. Immigration can determine the choice of profession and degree of success in one's professional life.
  • Family. Immigration can impact the future of immediate family and descendants for generations.
Immigration is too important to take chances.

Smart HR managers discover that out sourcing immigration work is less expensive in the long run. HR managers must now handle an incredible variety of employment issues. Using business immigration lawyers, managers can focus their efforts on areas in which they excel. Immigration needs are usually one-time or occasional events. It is difficult to acquire expertise in this complex area with this limited experience.

What's important to you are results. No matter how inexpensive, without positive results, the outcome will be costly.

Nevertheless we often inform clients that the immigration route is relatively simple. We advise them that it is in their best interest to file the particular application on their own.

For more information see Do I Need a Lawyer? in the FAQ. Also see how other clients feel after using our services..

Can you retain us just to stand by in case you ever have a problem?

No. This is why:

  • We prefer to prevent problems, not fix them. We are proactive, not reactive. Fixing a problem is expensive, difficult and often impossible.
  • There is little a lawyer can do when called for help from a pay phone at the airport or border.
  • Fees for "standing by" can equal or exceed fees for preparing paperwork in advance. We must prepare for many contingencies.

We are often asked "I've prepared all the paperwork. How much will you charge to help me along?

Consider retaining us to review your paperwork. Do you require more than just one review? This requires full representation reflecting our responsibility to meet INS standards.

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8. Can I Keep Fees Down?


Save fees by moving quickly. For example, do not wait until your visa is about to expire to apply for permanent residency. Act fast to avoid multiple renewals of your temporary permit.

Like life itself, it costs more to fix a problem than to prevent it in the first place.

If you are going to retain us, do it quickly. Use our expertise before there is a problem. Again, it costs more to fix a problem than to prevent it in the first place.

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9. Can You Give Us a Discount?

No. We do not underprice, overprice or cut corners. Fees accurately match the value of the service. Prices are the same for businesses and individuals.

We do not underprice, overprice or cut corners.

Cutting corners is expensive. If we do not strive for perfection INS denials or requests for more information produce more fees and expenses. Read client reports which evaluate our success.

We do constantly increase efficiency in our office. Eliminating less productive tasks results in higher professional satisfaction for a lawyer:

We use the Internet from start to finish. Since "one internet year equals 23 normal years" this results in an incredible time advantage for our Internet clients. We are moving to full internet representation, from initial "do it yourself" fee proposals on the Web, to the final e-mail approval notification message. Time savings multiply when both the employer and the applicant use e-mail.

My office is now "paperless". All new client matters are stored digitally. Papers coming into the office are scanned, indexed and returned or discarded. Records are duplicated with on-premise and off-premise (using cryptography) storage.

We maintain reference files on an extensive network. This saves research time.

Quick communication saves time. We use electronic mail and fax for almost all communications with clients. Our goal is to return telephone calls within 24 hours. (97% of our clients confirm we do this.)

Limiting our practice to border immigration gives you an advantage.

Limiting our practice to border immigration gives you an advantage. You collect the benefits of repeated experience on similar cases. This tight focus over the years has produced numerous form letters and checklists available only in our office. We do not have to draft requirements letters or common application documents from scratch.

The attorney does the work. If it is more efficient for the primary attorney to do the work, he or she does it. For example, we draft and send many communications directly from the attorney desktop computer to clients. Using special software, lawyers often prepare immigration forms right on their computers. This speeds the message and bypasses the typist. It eliminates the need for internal drafts.

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10. Why Bill For Expenses?

Most predictable expenses are absorbed into the simple, fixed amount you pay. We bill expenses only when they are unforseen or must be paid directly to the government by the client.

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11. What do you charge for a consultation?

You can get information about telephone consultations -- and actually  book the consultation -- now.

I do not credit consultation payments to future work. This is because the consultation is extremely valuable in and of itself. The information I give in consultations often changes people's lives.

My consultation is not a loss leader or a sales tool to generate additional work. This philosophy produces a high quality product useful to you whether or not you retain me for additional work. I have the incentive to give you a balanced answer, even if the information is not what you want to hear. (99% of my clients have said that I explain their legal position clearly enough so they can understand it ) .  You are not pressured into making a "future legal services" decision, based on an expiring consultation credit timetable.

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2010 Law Office of Joseph C. Grasmick
Law Office of Joseph C. Grasmick, Business Immigration
300 International Drive
Williamsville, NY 14221 USA
Tel: 716/842-3100  jgrasmick@grasmick.com

This Internet Web page is http://www.grasmick.com/feesfaq.htm