There’s an Arab proverb that roughly translates to “let your baker bake your dough even if he took half of it”. I often wonder why some people hire non-lawyers to apply for their immigration benefits. There are usually two reasons: money and the tricks these notaries pay on unsuspecting immigrants that believe that they could help them.
As to the first reason, I believe that hiring these notaries could really end up hurting you financially in the long run. I’ve met many victims ended up paying as much as ten folds what they paid the non-lawyer to deal with their mistakes. I once represented a very sweet couple from a former Russian republic for whom the non-attorney applied even though they had a standing removal order. The couple had to go through the agony of fear of deportation while I worked with the government to reopen the case. Buttom line, if they had hired a licensed attorney, that would not have happened.
As to the latter reason, impersonating an officer of the court is a third degree misdemeanor in most states. So engaging a non-lawyer to help you with your documents would be akin to helping someone commit a crime. I know that these notaries are masters at telling you that you do not need an attorney. At the end of the day, attorneys have gone through the rigors of dealing with clients and had attended law school to deal with your exact situation. So why not hire someone who has your interests in their mind and have spent the time and energy to train to deal with your needs?
The best advice that anyone would give you, is to how the right person for the job. After all, proverbs come from real life situations.