There are a number of qualified, excellent immigration practitioners in the State of New Jersey, and I am proud to say that I know and work with many of them. Unfortunately, there are also many notarios and consultants out there seeking to victimize and prey upon people's ignorance of the system. The Attorney General's Office has been much more active these days in prosecuting those who practice immigration law without a license. Even among attorneys, though, it is sometimes hard for the general consumer to distinguish who really does immigration work for a living from someone who is just trying to make a quick buck off someone's misfortune. For what it is worth, always look at the following:
Experience: Hopefully, the attorney who is handling your case has handled your type of matter before. Ideally, he or she has been practicing for many years in the field of immigration law.
Reputation: Don't just take the attorney's word about how great he or she is. Ask around.
AILA: Every serious practitioner of immigration law is normally a member of the American Immigration Lawyers Association.
Office and Staff: No one should be hiring an attorney without going to the attorney's office first. Take a look around at the walls and the staff. Is the place organized or are there files all over the place seemingly without rhyme or reason? Is the staff courteous? When clients call the office, how does the staff talk with them? Everyone is always nice before you hire them. How is the office after you hire them?
Trust and Honesty: Perhaps the most important. This is very hard to gauge, but does what the attorney say make sense? Sometimes, you have to listen with your head and not your heart. Don't go to an attorney to hear what you want to hear. Go to an attorney to hear what you need to hear.
Trust me, the above may be a little too frank--and it's only my opinion--but if I were looking for an attorney to help me or my family, I would certainly keep these things in mind.