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Jul 17, 2017

Guidelines on How to Find a New York Attorney

Most people don’t have a dedicated lawyer who handles all legal affairs of their family. And even if that’s the case, every attorney has a more or less narrow specialization, and cannot be fully competent to practice both civil and criminal law, not to mention all the countless fields of each of them. However, sooner or later the necessity may arise – you might need legal help for signing a business contract, buy real estate, apply for an immigrant visa, file a divorce or you may even need a lawyer to represent you in a criminal investigation or to defend you in court. Finding the right lawyer is crucial as it may help avoid unnecessary legal problems in future as well as settle the current case successfully.

The Importance of Hiring the Right Attorney

Searching for the right lawyer may seem like a no-brainer to some – just ask for referrals from a friend or family, take a public defender for a criminal charge settlement or go without a lawyer at all in some case that seems especially easy. But actually it is not so easy as a lot is at stake. Going to the driving under the influence hearing without a lawyer can cost you your driving license and, in some cases, a few years of freedom. Hiring a wrong kind of immigration attorney can make you a fraud victim or even make you an accomplice – without you even knowing it. On the other hand, with an experienced and skilled attorney at your side, the best outcome becomes much more possible. Therefore, it is necessary to learn and follow some guidelines when hiring a legal counsel. Here is what you should bear in mind before setting out on this task.

Things to Consider Before Starting to Look for Attorney

  • The first thing you should know by now is that any lawyer should have a valid license, otherwise he or she can’t provide you most legal services and is not allowed to practice law. Paralegals and notaries public can’t be referred to for legal advice.
  • The next obvious thing is that all cases fall into two categories – civil law and criminal law. These are two vastly different fields, each requiring specific expertise.
  • Another thing to consider is that each of these two categories can also be divided into a wide range of practice areas. There are attorneys who specialize exclusively in family law and divorces, others have combined expertise in a number of legal fields, for example, healthcare fraud and insurance fraud defense. But anyway, a single lawyer can’t be a pro in all existing practice areas.

Where to Find Info about New York Attorneys

  • Ask advice from people you trust: advice of close family and friends, business associates who had a situation similar to yours can be very helpful. Mind though that each specific case is different from others, so the choice that worked for someone else perfectly may not be suitable for you.
  • Use the website of American Bar Association to find your local lawyer referral service. You can surely find one in your community, some of them offer help in searching for an attorney to specific groups of people, like immigrants, people with a disability, etc. If you’re looking for a New York lawyer, visit the website of New York State Bar Association – nysba.org.
  • Browse the Internet. Government websites and directories may turn out to be useful when searching for an attorney with specific qualifications. Government websites have .gov in the URL address. You can also use Yelp and Avvo, crowdsourced review websites, to find a lawyer near you specializing in a particular law area and read real-user reviews of the lawyer’s past performance.

These sources might turn out to be very helpful. However, given the number of scammers out there, be careful so that you don’t fall victim to fraud. Don’t take anything you read or hear at face value. Take your time to find more information about the law firm you are about to contact, as most of them charge for consultations, and you surely don’t want to waste your time and money in vain. You may look out for logos of the American Bar Association, the NYSBA, if it’s a New York attorney, and other government organizations on their websites. But keep in mind that each case has its own peculiarities, and yours may not be like 99% of them.

Recommendations on Searching a New York City Criminal Defense Attorney

Finding the right criminal defense attorney is especially important, since in this case a negative outcome may have extremely severe consequences. Unlike in civil courts, here penalties are much harsher, and may include decades in prison and hundreds of thousands of dollars in fines. Having a criminal offense on one’s record makes it very hard to find a good job and may ruin one’s professional and personal reputation. A skilled legal counsel can make all the difference in such a situation. Here are some guidelines on what to do before making the final choice.

  • Ask a lot of questions. Ask about the lawyer’s experience in dealing with cases similar to yours, how long he or she has been practicing law, what is their success track record, how much caseload will be dedicated to your case, will your case be outsourced, etc. You may also wish to ask for references from the attorney’s clients, but criminal lawyers can refuse to provide such information for reasons of confidentiality.
  • Make sure you know how much you’ll be paying. Of course, it is almost impossible to tell how much time the attorney will spend settling your case. Still, you can ask about other people working on the case and their rates, as well as any extra expenses involved, like filing fees, postage, etc. Be sure to learn about how the fees are structured.
  • Establish a reporting routine. Make sure in advance that you’ll be informed about any changes in the case as they appear.
  • That may not be a deal-breaker, but choose a legal counsel who is easily accessible. If it takes too much time to get to the attorney’s office, you may wish to search for another one.

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Manhattan

85 Broad Street, 30th Floor
New York, NY 10005

Phone

888-977-6335

Queens

35-37 36th St,
Astoria, NY 11106

Phone

888-977-6335

Brooklyn

195 Montague St.
14th Floor,
Brooklyn, NY 11201

Phone

888-977-6335