By way of introduction, the author is Edward Beshara, who has, for the past 20 years, practiced and represented EB-5 investor clients, while for the past several years representing clients in regard to EB-5 regional centers and EB-5 regional center projects, as well as EB-5 foreign national investors.
Currently, 70% of BESHARA P.A. practice is in the EB-5 area. Briefly, a combination of knowledge, experience, and professionalism will lead to a successful EB-5 practice. Hopefully, insight will be gained by this article which will benefit your practice.
2. PRACTICE INFRASTRUCTURE
Attorneys practicing in the EB-5 area might be involved in a number of different office infrastructures.
Attorneys may practice in a boutique law firm either exclusively practicing in U.S. immigration law or a combination of immigration and general practice. The same exclusivity and combination may also apply to practitioners in a large law firm practice.
I believe the same advice given as to how to manage a successful EB-5 practice will apply to attorneys regardless of the structure or size of the practice
3. EB-5 SPECIALIZATION
To become proficient in the EB-5 area, it will require cost and time to attend seminars, conferences, and of course through practical experience representing EB-5 clients. The goal is to gain reputation as a practitioner who specializes in this area, which in turn will lead to more potential clients inquiring as to the practitioner’s services.
4. IMPORTANCE OF EFFECTIVE MARKETING AND ADVERTISING.
The public and potential client’s need to be continually aware of the attorney’s expertise and specialized practice areas such as EB-5.
In the EB-5 area, clients and potential clients may include principals who are involved or desire to form EB-5 regional centers and/or EB-5 regional center projects, and also include potential foreign national investors for EB-5 projects.
However, be aware that there are many marketing groups that may wish to market or advertise the practitioners EB-5 legal services, but they usually charge a fee. Before paying a fee, it is essential to research the credibility and effectiveness of the marketing from this advertising group.
Remember the Phrase, and avoid “out of sight, out of mind.”
5. STARTING AN EFFECTIVE EB-5 PRACTICE
Today, the clients and potential clients require immediate expertise and experience the EB-5 area.
The best advice for today’s EB-5 market, is if the practitioner is star ting in the EB-5 area, is to co-counsel with experienced and well known EB-5 Attorneys. EB-5 representation can occur without unnecessary delays; the practitioner can utilize the credible and experienced EB-5 Attorney’s. The clients and potential clients are more likely to engage the practitioner’s law firm for EB-5 representation.
6. TEAM OF EB-5 PROFESSIONALS
There is also an equal need to have an experienced, specialized and well-known team of professionals.
The EB-5 attorney, in giving direction, should be aware of timeline goals of the client, and the realistic time it will take for the professional team members to supply the required documentation. The project has to be EB-5 compliant, with USCIS rules, regulations, and policies. The goal is for the EB-5 project, with supporting documentation, to be supplied by the professional team members, to be approved by the USCIS.
The team of professionals will include the EB-5 immigration attorney, securities law attorney, the economist, the business planner, for an EB-5 regional center project.
7. MARKETING OF AN EB-5 REGIONAL CENTER PROJECT
The EB-5 regional center project should be EB-5 compliant with USCIS rules, regulations and policies, but for the EB-5 regional center project to be successful it also has to be marketable.
To be marketable, the EB-5 regional center project has to be attractive to foreign national investors.
Therefore, it is essential for the EB-5 regional center project with the assistance of the practitioner, contact and starts a dialogue with the right group organization that has immediate access to a source of foreign national investors who intend to invest their funds.
8. LAW FIRMS EB-5 DUE DILIGENCE
It is imperative that EB-5 attorneys offer only legal advice on EB-5 rules, regulations and policies and represent the EB-5 regional center projects and/or foreign national investors, only in this respect.
9. BAR COMPLIANCE
If the foreign national investor client decides to invest in a particular EB-5 regional center projects, the EB-5 regional center project may offer to pay the practitioner a finder’s fee. However, please note some Bar Rules do not authorize the attorney to accept this finder’s fee and hence the attorney should not violate these Bar Rules.
10. OVERHEAD AND OPERATIONAL COSTS
Without doubt the EB-5 practice is labor intensive and requires a substantial amount of time by staff, and requires a substantial amount of supporting documentation.
It is imperative, for the practitioner to have a business plan, and annual budget, to account for an increase in staff and overhead costs for the increased number of clients.
In an EB-5 regional center practice, the law firm may be chosen by a broker to represent all of the foreign national investors for the EB-5 regional center project. As an example, the law firm may have to represent 50 foreign national investors.
To avoid unnecessary overhead and operation costs of extra staff it may be prudent and cost-effective to retain credible and specialized organizations in preparing an index to documentation showing the authentication of the source of personal investment funds.
The cost of hiring these organizations might be less than the cost of hiring new staff.
11. MAINTAINING AN EFFICIENT EB-5 PRACTICE
There are many ways to effectively and efficiently manage a practice, and the key is regularity and consistency.
For instance, schedule weekly meetings with the staff to review case statuses, timelines, and deadlines for filings or work to be done.
It is important for the experienced EB-5 Attorneys or the co-counsel EB-5 Attorney to have an open door policy for discussing questions and reviewing analysis with the staff. The team effort approach is essential to the EB-5 practice which in turns benefits the clients.
12. BALANCE WORK AND LIFE
The EB-5 practitioner and staff look forward to coming to work each day. Under these circumstances, the law office and practice becomes a part of the practitioners and staff lifestyle.
Therefore, the EB-5 practice allows the practitioners personal life style and enjoyment to be incorporated into the work environment.
The EB-5 practice is not considered to be a 9 to 5 job, and is considered to be a part of the practitioner’s lifestyle.
During these times there is always the need to balance friends, family and work and the practitioner’s personal lifestyle.
With current technology, the practitioner can work from home and take necessary breaks with the family or friends.
For instance, at the beach the EB-5 practitioner may be relaxing under an umbrella or tent. The practitioner can easily by mobile phone communicate, and retrieve, review and send emails on an iPad.
The state of the practitioners informed and relaxed state of mind should allow a happy and stress free vacation, and as a result the practitioners family remains happy and in good spirits during the vacation.
The EB-5 clients should always have the confidence that EB-5 practitioners has the knowledge, expertise, experience to represent these them and achieve their EB-5 goals.
The EB-5 practitioners should not offer guarantees of results or offer business advice on any EB-5 project.
It is always beneficial to co-counsel with experienced EB-5 practitioners for EB-5 projects under the right circumstances.
There is a well-known phrase which summarizes this article on how to develop a successful EB-5 Law Practice.