First, a disclaimer: as attorneys, we are pleased to get inquiries from H-B workers/potential clients whether they are local to our geographical areas or not.  So it’s fair you take our self-interest into account as you read this article.

This article discusses the fact that benched H-1B workers often do not retain an attorney to help them because they could not find a competent attorney in their local area.  It’s understandable if you first look for an attorney in your geographical area.  There are potential advantages to that, including, of course, the ability to meet in person more easily.

However, H-1B workers with wage and employment problems should not limit your search to ONLY local attorneys.  Here are some reasons why:

– Often, attorneys with the most relevant experience for important issues (e.g. wage-and-hour law expertise, H-1B- law experience, class-action experience, etc.) are niche attorneys who are relatively limited in numbers. It may turn out no attorney competent in your legal problem exists in your area.  However, there may be qualified attorneys who are not local to you, and who would be willing and able to assist you.

– Several (and sometimes all) of the legal claims involved with H-1B wage matters are Federal-law matters, and do not require an attorney to be licensed within a given State in order to assist you.  The attorney-authors of this blog have successfully represented clients in Federal-law matters in States other than our own.

– If you retain a “main” attorney who is outside your State, that attorney may be able to find an additional attorney who IS in your State, and who can assist as co-counsel with any State-law issues or any local issues you find important.

– If you take legal action, most issues do not require travel or being at a particular location.  Most legal work occurs via online communications, in writing and over the phone. In-person meetings or travel are not being required for the most part.  The blog authors have represented persons where we did physically meet them, although we, of course, frequently interacted via phone, Skype conference call,  email, etc.

We hope this article is informative about the issue of whether a local attorney is needed and when you should consider engaging an attorney located in another city or State.  The only way you can know for certain whether an attorney located elsewhere will effectively serve your needs is to contact the attorney and ask if there are any potential concerns with the working from a distance.  That attorney should be able to tell you of any potential problems or potential solutions to any concerns.