What are the Pros and Cons of Being an Immigration Lawyer?

Working in immigration law can be an extremely rewarding career, according to the immigration lawyers at Graham Adair. However, they do acknowledge that there are pros and cons to the job. So, if you are thinking of training to become an immigration lawyer, there are a few things to consider first.

What’s Good about Being an Immigration Lawyer?

As already mentioned, immigration law can be a particularly rewarding career. Those who work in the field enjoy helping others on a daily basis. They know that the work they do can help to change the lives of many individuals. From defending immigrants and making sure they are not exploited to helping individuals gain entry to the U.S. for a better life, immigration lawyers can positively impact the future for a variety of people.

As immigration law often intertwines with other areas of law, an immigration lawyer must have a working knowledge of other aspects of including business and tax law, family law, criminal law, and civil rights law. As cases differ dramatically from person to person, immigration law provides the opportunity for lawyers to broaden their knowledge. This can be hugely beneficial for attorneys who want to open their own practice once they have gained more experience.

Another benefit of being an immigration lawyer is the ability to meet and represent people from all over the world. In doing so, the immigration lawyer will learn more about the different customs and cultures in other countries, thus further broadening their own knowledge.

What’s Difficult About Being an Immigration Lawyer?

Immigration law is extraordinarily complex. Furthermore, because the laws are changing frequently, attorneys must be constantly updating their knowledge. This means reading papers and news articles, reviewing other cases, and networking with other professionals in the industry. This is on top of day-to-day duties. It may even be the case that the immigration attorney must attend regular training or education courses to ensure they are always up to date with the latest laws.

As with any law degree, training to be an immigration lawyer can take quite a bit of time. It is necessary to complete an undergraduate degree course before attending law school, which typically takes four years. Gaining the Juris Doctor (law) degree means another three years of studying, before passing the state bar exam. It is common for those who wish to practice immigration law to need experience working in other areas of law first. At the beginning of your career, you might find it difficult to secure work as an immigration lawyer unless you already have experience working in other areas of law such as criminal or family law.

It is also worth noting that working as an immigration lawyer can be stressful. The people you will be representing are often scared and anxious and many of them will have been through traumatic experiences, especially those who have fled their home country seeking asylum. Sometimes they have been separated from family members or have even witnessed the death of loved ones at home and are likely to be distressed and worried about being sent back home. Being exposed to this kind of trauma can have an impact on your own mental health, so it is vital to be able to distance yourself from your work when at home with your own loved ones.


Working as an immigration lawyer has its pros and cons, like any other job. You should consider both before training to work in this field. However, most immigration lawyers will tell you that the pros definitely outweigh the negatives.

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