The top five questions buyers of high-volume immigration legal services should ask their immigration lawyers

Today’s global companies typically employ thousands of essential noncitizen workers. Unsurprisingly as a result, procurement officers, in-house counsel, and human resource professionals in these multinational enterprises routinely suffer throbbing headaches. The multitudinous personnel under their charge must travel to far-flung foreign lands, at times with little advance notice, often with families in tow. If corporate objectives are to be fulfilled, these travelers need business-visitor and work visas, work permits and permanent residency—by yesterday, if not sooner.

Keeping up with the ever-changing immigration laws of the many countries where the company operates is migraine-inducing enough. More head-pounding still is trying to procure these high-volume immigration benefits as and when the business demands them, while making sure that the employee experience is positive and reassuring.

Predictably, these corporate officials issue Requests for Proposal (RFPs) to vetted shortlists of immigration lawyers and firms who respond with detailed answers highlighting their self-proclaimed traits and talents. Next, a lucky few are invited to parade their wares at in-person or virtual pitch meetings.

Likewise predictable are the topics covered in the RFPs. Immigration lawyers and firms are asked to describe their experience and qualifications, range of services offered, technology and staffing support, communications and billing protocols, escalation procedures, project-based legal fees, and willingness to commit to service level agreements.

Increasingly, however, the questions asked in immigration RFPs prove inadequate to the task of fleshing out meaningful differentiators among immigration service providers. Here then are five additional clusters of RFP questions to pose.

If we choose your firm:

1. What human experience do you offer?
In what ways will you be there when we or our employees need you? How will your legal advice and support convey sincere empathy, offer realistic and thoughtful alternative options, be communicated promptly and clearly, and reflect cultural sensitivity to the individuals and countries involved? How will you provide us and our employees with 24/7 real-time support when that is what’s needed?

2. How nimble is your technology?
How do you deploy and respond speedily, at scale, and adapt to fast-paced, ever-changing circumstances? How can you demonstrate to us that your advice will be data-driven? How will you integrate your technology with our internal and third-party applications and systems? Are your technology infrastructure and budget allocations up to the task? How have you upgraded your immigration technology in the last 18 months? Do you have the bandwidth to support a multinational company of our size and scope? Will you offer us options in terms of the range of service offerings so that we decide how much of the global mobility ecosystem we handle internally and how much we ask you to perform? How will you avoid asking us or our employees to provide you with the same basic information?

3. In what ways will you do more than regurgitate government announcements?
How will you offer thought-provoking analyses, strategic and pragmatic options tailored to our business, geopolitical insights, and help in predicting and planning for ever-changing immigration rules, procedures and election outcomes in every country where we do business?

4. How will you be a leader rather than a follower?
How will you beneficially disrupt and transform the delivery of immigration legal services? How will you help lead us in times of crisis, political uncertainty, and potential changes in elected leaders and governments worldwide?

5. Can you think, talk and act both globally and locally?
How will your immigration technology and legal services be delivered consistently in each country where we do business? How will you provide an integrated mobility and immigration ecosystem globally? How will you enlist the support of strategic alliances and partnerships? How seamlessly will these be provided and by which providers? Beyond immigration, what other multi-disciplinary, mobility, tax, business traveler and legal services will you provide for us directly, and through third parties?

By taking a deep dive into each law firm’s answers to these additional questions, corporate procurers of high-volume immigration legal services will be far better positioned to answer the fundamental question: Is this a good fit?

Angelo Paparelli
Partner, Vialto Law (US) PLLC

Let's connect

Please reach out if you’d like to learn more about Vialto.

Please do not enter sensitive personal data or confidential information into the free text field unless a question expressly requests it. Read more about our terms and conditions of use, and our privacy policy.