I am a Canadian; my husband is a foreigner. We applied for him to come to Canada as a permanent resident, he was refused, and we appealed. The appeal date is July 6, 2010. I came back to Asia to be with my husband while we wait for the appeal date.
The documents for the appeal are with the lawyer, who said she could get everything ready and I would just have to come back for the appeal. Yesterday my husband phoned the lawyer and it turns out that the lawyer had a family emergency and has left the country. She is coming back one day before the documents willl have to be mailed to the government. (The documents you are using in your appeal must arrive 20 days before the appeal date.) She is a single-lawyer practice. One secretary is manning the office while the lawyer is away.
So far the lawyer has done almost nothing on the file - she has not looked at the documents I gave her for the appeal yet, for example. She did interview me for one hour when I first went to her. So, this means the secretary will have to go through my documents and put them in order. I could have put them in order myself, but months ago the lawyer told me not to - she said the order she would want is not necessarily how I would do it, and she is the one presenting the case, so the documents have to be put in the order she wants. Now, though, she’s not there to do that. It also means the lawyer can not look through the documents and say, for example, this one will hurt your case so don’t include it, or, we need another affidavit from xxx, or whatever. Basically, whatever I sent is what she will have to use. Once she gets back, even if she thinks something is missing, there is not enough time to get it.
She is charging $5,000 (so far); we’ve paid $1,000 and the rest is due tomorrow. My sister (who is a legal secretary) says this is ridiculous, because it is the secretary who is preparing the documents now. (When I first contacted the lawyer she said the appeal would cost $2,000 or $3,000; a few months ago she said $3,000 or $4,000.)
The 20 days between when the lawyer returns to Canada and the appeal date means she will have enough time to prepare her arguments based on the documents presented.
Do you think I should have my sister go to the lawyer, get the documents back, and take everything to another lawyer, hoping that the new lawyer will be ready for the appeal date that is already set?