Thursday, November 20, 2008

Ahmed v. Mukasey (9th Cir. - Nov. 19, 2008)

There are not-very-competent attorneys in every field, of course. But my sense is that immigration law is one of those fields in which there are a higher proportion of attorneys who do extremely little -- or poor (or both) -- work without their client's knowledge. This is perhaps to be expected whenever you're dealing with one-shot clients unfamiliar with the legal system and desperate for assistance. My sense is that the reality of this field -- while far, far from uniform -- amply reflects this theoretical problem.

Clients unfortunately have very little access to information in choosing their counsel, which again enhances the possibility of abuse. In this regard, I have often thought it'd be helpful if there was some clearinghouse -- either online or otherwise -- that listed maybe some of the most obvious cases in which a particular attorney was held to be seriously deficient. Would this entirely solve the problem? Of course not. Would it be difficult to ensure that any particular opinion accurately reflected either the full set of facts or the attorney's typical performance? Again, no. But it'd at least be a start.

With that in mind, for whatever it's worth, I'd just like to mention that the performance of two California immigration lawyers -- Yemi Getachew (up in San Jose) and Olumide Obayemi (in San Leandro) -- are at issue in this opinion. And that, at least based upon what the Ninth Circuit found, neither of them come out smelling like a rose.

Take a look.