Why Choose the Law Firm of Deborah J. Townsend, P.A.?



You are likely reading this website because you are looking for a solution or advice. You may be a foreign national wanting to temporarily or permanently immigrate to the United States for any number of reasons including investing in or starting a U.S. business, working, studying, joining a family member in the U.S. or fleeing persecution in your home country. Or, you wish to become a U.S. citizen by naturalization or make a claim to derivative citizenship. Or, maybe you are a U.S. company looking to temporarily or permanently hire a foreign national to fill a position for which you cannot readily locate a U.S. person. Or, possibly you are already in the United States and find yourself under a threat of deportation.

No matter what your motivation, locating and retaining the best immigration attorney for your needs must be a top priority for you. Finding the right attorney can be overwhelming, however. Nationwide, there are over 14,000 immigration attorneys who are members of the American Immigration Lawyers Association (AILA), the American Bar Association affiliated bar organization which consists solely of attorneys who primarily practice U.S. immigration and nationality law. Membership in AILA is critical to keeping up with our ever-changing immigration laws and government policies and to attempt to practice in this area of the law without being a member is seriously risky. If an immigration attorney is not an AILA member, it would be prudent not to engage that attorney.

In the State of Florida, there are currently over 1,200 AILA attorneys. That is a staggering number of lawyers to choose from.

So, given the vast number of immigration attorneys from which to choose, why choose the law firm of Deborah J. Townsend, P.A.? In making your selection, consider the following criteria:

State Bar Board Certification

Most State Bar organizations, including Florida, have a certification process to help consumers identify specialists in various areas of the law. Board certification recognizes attorneys’ special knowledge, skills and proficiency in various areas of law and professionalism and ethics in practice.

Board certified lawyers are evaluated for professionalism and rigorously tested for expertise. Certification is The Florida Bar’s highest level of evaluation of the competency and experience of attorneys in the 26 areas of law approved for certification by the Supreme Court of Florida. Only 7% of eligible Florida Bar members are board certified.
The minimum standards for immigration and nationality board certification include at least five years of full-time legal practice of law. Immediately preceding application, at least 40% of the 5 years of practice must have been substantially dedicated to immigration and nationality law. Attorneys must complete at least 50 hours of continued legal education credits within 3 years of submitting an application for certification.

In addition, attorneys are evaluated for character, ethics, reputation, and professionalism. Finally, lawyers must undergo and pass a rigorous written examination, which tests the attorney's knowledge of immigration and nationality law. If an attorney passes all of the requirements, it is only then that he or she can use the term "board certified."
Board certification is valid for five years, during which time the attorney must continue to practice law and attend Florida Bar-approved continuing legal education courses. To be recertified, lawyers must meet requirements similar to those for initial certification.

Deborah has been Florida Bar Board Certified and Recertified in Immigration & Nationality Law since 1996.

“Super Lawyers” Designation

On its website, Super Lawyers states that it “is a rating service of outstanding lawyers from more than 70 practice areas who have attained a high-degree of peer recognition and professional achievement.”

Super Lawyers selects attorneys using a patented multiphase selection process. Peer nominations and evaluations are combined with independent research. Each candidate is evaluated on 12 indicators of peer recognition and professional achievement. Selections are made on an annual, state-by-state basis. The objective is to create a credible, comprehensive and diverse listing of outstanding attorneys that can be used as a resource for attorneys and consumers searching for legal counsel.

The Super Lawyers list recognizes no more than five percent of attorneys in each state.

Deborah has been selected as a Florida Super Lawyer in Immigration Law for a number of years, from 2006-2009 and again in 2015 and 2016.
In addition to these official recognitions of competence and ethical practice, it is wise to also look for an attorney who meets the following criteria:

A Sole Practice Area of Immigration

U.S. Immigration law is one of those areas of the law in which an attorney should exclusively specialize in order to provide competent, effective representation. It is highly complex, often illogical and, sadly, unforgiving. A seemingly simple mistake frequently has enormous consequences to a client’s ability to enter and/or to remain in the United States lawfully. It is certainly not an area of the law an attorney should “dabble” in, but rather one which requires an attorney’s total, passionate commitment.

Deborah has practiced exclusively in the area of Immigration & Nationality Law for the last 30 years.

An Attorney who does not run an immigration “mill”

There are many law firms that handle a huge volume of cases which are mostly handled by paralegals and clerical staff. Assuming you would like your case to be primarily handled by an experienced, highly-qualified immigration attorney, with the assistance of staff, then you should look for a smaller, “boutique” immigration firm.

The law firm of Deborah J. Townsend, P.A. is such a firm. We intentionally limit the number of cases we take in order to provide the highest quality of representation and attention to each of our clients.
Easily Reachable

When it comes to attorney-client relationships, ease of communication is critical. Nothing is more frustrating than not being able to reach your own attorney when it’s necessary to do so. A good attorney will be easily accessible to all of her clients.

When you call or contact the law firm of Deborah J. Townsend, P.A., you will not be required to go through layers of personnel before being able to speak with Deborah. Chances are, she will pick up the phone herself when you call.
Compassionate and Respectful

Immigration cases are high-stakes for most clients, with the outcome possibly determining the course of their lives. For obvious reasons, you look for an attorney who understands what is at stake and is compassionate and respectful.

Deborah is such an attorney that she chose to specialize in immigration law because she truly likes her clients and understands what is at stake for them, their businesses and their families.