Houston Firm at The Legal Center of New Immigration Application Site

Liran Rosenfeld, an Israeli entrepreneur, applied for a specialized green card 2½ years ago and got a lesson in how tedious, costly and complicated the U.S. immigration system can be to navigate.

There’s the initial consultation with an attorney, the back and forth over what documents are needed, and the leap of faith that the attorney recommended the appropriate visa category. Then there’s the wait in the dark to find out how far the application has gone, assuming the attorney submitted the necessary documents on time.

Setting out to streamline the process and make it more affordable, Rosenfeld co-founded PassRight, a website service that helps immigrants apply for employment and family-based visas and green cards.

Rosenfeld, based in San Francisco, partnered with Houston-based McGettrick Law, run by Denise McGettrick, an immigration lawyer with 14 years experience in the field.

McGettrick had used an earlier online service that Rosenfield had set up to connect attorneys to potential clients. She said she saw potential in PassRight’s design.

“It’s supposed to make it so that all sides know where they’re at,” McGettrick said.

She also sees technology essential for lawyers.

“If you don’t get on board with technology, you’re going to be left behind,” McGettrick said.

The website allows clients to upload documents themselves and track their application progress in real time. It has a built-in messaging system that makes it easier to organize attorney-client communication than email, and allows for simultaneous application editing.

After filling out an initial consultation questionnaire, a client can choose either a full-service package with a McGettrick Law attorney guiding them through the entire process or a more limited service. In the latter, clients fill out forms themselves to be reviewed by an attorney.

The market price for such legal services can range from $5,000 to $10,000, McGettrick said. But Rosenfeld and McGettrick say their services go for half that. The automated service is roughly a quarter of the market price.

By Ileana Najarro for HOUSTON CHRONICLE
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