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Where do I find a lawyer in Boston, Massachusetts?
Boston, due to its status as a major metropolitan area, has its own legal tradition and organizations of Boston lawyers. The history of the rule of law in Massachusetts in lengthy and the laws themselves are codified in the General Laws of Massachusetts. Finding a Boston lawyer is advantageous for a number of reasons when dealing in an unfamiliar jurisdiction.
Why would I need a lawyer specific to Boston?
The Massachusetts legal code is complicated and unique to the state. Boston lawyers, by virtue of years of experience practicing law in the state, will have the best knowledge of the system and ways that they may be able to help you if you ever unintentionally violate Massachusetts law. There are additional local laws applicable to Boston too, which will make a Boston lawyer especially useful. The Massachusetts lawyer has taken and passed the Multistate Bar Exam and also completed state-specific essays that demonstrate knowledge of Massachusetts law.
What are organizations of Boston lawyers?
The Boston Bar Association is the voluntary Bar Association for Boston lawyers with roughly 10,000 members. Regular members that have practiced law for over five years will pay up to $395 in dues. There are lower dues for government lawyers, law school faculty and other professionals associated with a Boston law firm. These fees can be reduced through a formal request to the association.
Among the services offered by the Boston Bar Association are Continuing Legal Education programs that keep lawyers up to date with developments that affect the practice of law in Boston. The topics have included child custody, the Massachusetts uniform probate code and labor law in union workplaces. Although CLE is not mandatory for Boston lawyers in Massachusetts, the BBA is accredited to provide CLE services for several states, therefore allowing lawyers that practice law in other states to receive their necessary training in Boston.
The Boston Bar Association has twenty five practice sections, each with section chairs and specialties. The members of these sections work to provide advice and policy suggestions that affect the practices of law firms in Boston. Boston lawyers will join these sections to take advantage of professional connections and to remain abreast of new developments, especially new laws that affect that particular practice section.
The Boston Bar Foundation is the charitable arm of the BBA and works to inform the public about the law and work for underprivileged clients that would otherwise not have access to legal services.
The BBA also maintains a lawyer referral service at 1-800-552-7046, which guarantees that the lawyer the service connects you to will charge a fraction of typical fees for the initial consultation and will follow a set procedure that is optimized for the client that needs legal advice. The Boston lawyer referral service refers clients with specific needs in areas of the law including bankruptcy, estate planning, family law and criminal law. The service works quickly, generally returning referrals in one business day.
How do I know my Boston lawyer is legitimate?
If you cannot find your attorney among the State Bar Association directory, you should be wary. Membership is not mandatory, but it is customary and legitimizes practicing lawyers in good standing as membership is otherwise not allowed for unscrupulous lawyers. If the attorney does not have admission to the state bar, you should examine his or her credentials. Ensure that the law degree is from an accredited law school and that the lawyer has evidence of admission to the bar. If the lawyer does not produce these things, then this is likely not an individual that should be dispensing legal advice. Membership in the Boston Bar Association can boost a lawyer’s credentials as this shows an existing relationship with other lawyers in the area and that the lawyer meet the criteria for membership, usually based on professional and ethical standards.
What are the typical rates of a Boston lawyer?
As with all legal practices, fees are usually not set in stone and subject to change with the economic needs of the client. In fact, for criminal and negligence cases, fees are typically not advertised and are usually determined by consultation. Typical rules apply, such as working on contingency for accident cases, variable fees for complicated cases and flat fees for providing legal services, such as writing documents. Massachusetts bans the use of contingency arrangements in certain cases, such as divorce proceedings, so it is imperative that the lawyer and client ensure that their arrangement is legitimate.
The client must use caution when using retainer arrangements as the lawyer, under the traditional form of the arrangement can deduct as he needs from the retainer and request that the client replenish is as needed. This can be combined with another fee in a “blended fee arrangement” where needy clients can pay a small retainer in exchange for contingency arrangements or extended payment plans.
Unlike personal injury and other litigation, legal service fees are advertised, allowing the client to pick the best deal. There must be considerations for the quality of the lawyer and the document produced, of course. Some lawyers may have alternate pay plans or different arrangements to pay fees, so it is best to check with the lawyer during the consultation for alternate fee arrangements. Be aware of hidden fees or fees for using ancillary services and personnel, such as the service of a paralegal.
What are questions to ask Boston lawyers?
How does my case relate to Massachusetts state laws or Boston local laws?
Are local laws in effect for this case?
What are your fees and do you have alternate payment plans?
Are you a member, in good standing, of the Boston Bar Association?
What roles do you play as a member?
Can I please have all fees in writing?
Do I pay a lower consultation fee for being referred to you by this lawyer referral service?
Can we work out an alternate arrangement that suits my economic needs?
What are my chances of winning a settlement or at trial?
When seeking a lawyer in Boston, you may use the referral service of the Boston Bar Association. This will ensure that you receive a quality lawyer that is held to the professional standards of the organization. This is important because lawyers in Boston are not mandated to join either state or local bar associations so you will never be entirely sure if the Boston lawyer is as ethical and professional as his peers. the state will have a mechanism to punish these lawyers, but you can preemptively find the best lawyers in Boston through referral services with higher standards. Additionally, many Boston lawyers, through agreements with referral organizations will charge lower fees for consultations, saving the client money. This is just one benefit of using a trusted lawyer referral service. You may find a list of lawyer referral services at the Massachusetts Bar website, which will connect you to a reliable Boston lawyer.
The Boston Lawyer’s Group is a consortium of lawyers, law firms and other agencies that work to improve diversity in the practice of law. This consortium works with law schools and student organizations to help promote and encourage diversity among Boston lawyers. The Boston Lawyer’s Group was founded in 1986 and now has over 45 members. Among the services the Boston Lawyer’s Group offers include an employment web page, a directory of “attorneys of color” and facilitating communication between other bar associations for women and minority lawyers.