Do I need an attorney to file an application for work permit?

In order to apply for the deferred action work permit, it is not generally necessary to seek help of an immigration lawyer.  If you think that you can understand English well, have a clear cut case with all eligibility requirements met, and have some experience doing legal paperwork, you can do the paperwork yourself.  The USCIS does not require using attorneys.  Actually, after checking out the three forms that you have to fill, I am confident that you can do the paperwork yourself and I have provided tips on completing Form I-821D, Form I-765, and Form I-765WS that you can use to get everything right.

On the other hand, if your case is not clear cut (particularly if you used a fake social security number to work or got into trouble with the law), you have never done any complex paperwork like this before, and would rather let a professional do it right, it makes sense to sacrifice buying the latest gadgets and spend the money instead on professional legal help.  With best legal help, you can rest assured that your case will proceed smoothly and you will get the EAD in a timely fashion.

There is yet another reason for you to consider an expert attorney, particularly if your case is complex: whatever paper trail you start right now will come to haunt you the rest of your life.  Every detail that you provide and every single document you submit will enter an alien file (identified with an A#) and will be part of your future applications for gaining lawful status (depending on what Congress does), green card, and naturalization.  That is why a small mistake can completely mess up your plans for immigration to the United States.

How to find legal help?  Chances are that some crook will try to make a fast buck by offering this help for a low price, but if you are going to spend the money, it is best to work with a real law firm, one that has experience in immigration and work permits.  Remember that there are many types of immigration experts and not all of them specialize in work related visas.  For instance, an attorney who specializes in spousal green cards or naturalization may not be the right person to work with.  The best choice will be someone who helps non-immigrants get H class of visas that require filing for employment authorization.

How to stay away from scammers?  Needless to say that you should not work with anyone who does not have a law office and is operating legally in the state in which you live.  If someone cannot demonstrate to you that they are not a qualified lawyer, run fast.  No one else is authorized to help you, though, if you are doing the paperwork yourself, you can ask a friend for help.  In that case, your friend may give you wrong advice but have no legal responsibility either.  My rule is that if someone is trying to promise too much and looks suspicious, don't fall into the trap.