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Guide to Finding Bronx Lawyer

Guide to Finding Bronx Lawyer

New York City has a number of laws and regulations that are unique and independent from state laws set by Albany.  When dealing with a legal issue in the Bronx, a Bronx lawyer is your best option for sound legal counsel as they will be familiar with legal trends within the jurisdiction.  Even those with federal issues will benefit from the ease of communication afforded by having the services of a local lawyer.
How are laws unique in New York City?
Weapons control is already tough in New York State, with the Sullivan Act making the possession of any concealable firearm without a license a misdemeanor and carrying that weapon a felony.  This is significantly stricter than other states that do not require such licenses or impose less harsh penalties.  The issue of licenses is at the discretion of the state authorities and individuals may be denied a license for any reason.  In New York City, this means that very few people are allowed carry permits.  Additionally, even long guns, such as rifles and shotguns, must be registered and the own must have a licensee, which are stricter requirements that the rest of the state and most other states in the country.
What are organizations of Bronx lawyers?
Although there is no borough-wide county bar association, there are a number of bar associations operating in New York City.  In addition to the bar organizations for the state and city, there are also ethnic interest bar associations, such as the Dominican Bar, political lawyer groups, such as the National Lawyer’s Group and other special interest bar associations.  There is no mandatory membership requirement for Bronx lawyers in any Bar Association.
The New York State Bar Association is the voluntary professional organization for lawyers in New York State.  It provides professional mentoring, ethics opinions and other critical services for new and experienced lawyers alike.  The NYSBA does have a lawyer referral service, but it does not do referrals within New York City.  Your Bronx lawyer may be a member of the NYSBA and you may use membership in this organization as an indicator of legitimacy and professionalism.
The New York City Bar is the primary voluntary bar association for Bronx lawyers.  Among the important functions of the NYCB are providing professional counseling, Continuing Legal Education classes and networking opportunities.  There NYCB also engages in legislative advocacy, working for more fairness in the legal system and hosting workshops on key legal issues.  Together with the New York County Lawyer’s Association, these organizations provide the Legal Referral Service, which can refer New York City residents to a lawyer in a number of specific areas, including family, injury and malpractice law.  There is no cost to use this service and all participating lawyers are prescreened to determine their suitability.  The lawyer will charge up to $35 for a half hour consultation but the fee may be waived depending on the lawyer and the nature of the legal matter.
What are the typical rates of a Bronx lawyer?
The retainer is the most common fee arrangement for a non-injury or non-litigation case.  In this arrangement, the client fills a trust account that the Bronx lawyer will bill for services provided.  The nature and cost of these services is determined in advance, usually during or directly after the initial consultation.  The account is refilled at the discretion of the lawyer and this will be expensive, depending on the length of the legal matter.
Bronx injury lawyers will generally work on contingency for these types of cases.  In this arrangement, the lawyer will collect a percentage of the jury award, usually around 33%.  That fee may be subject to legal caps and the approval of the court.  Courts may impose caps on contingency fees if these fees are perceived to be too high.  You may be able to work with your Bronx lawyer to pay a lower contingency fee if the case is settled out of court, which would eliminate the imposition of punitive damages and other potential benefits.
There are a number of free and low cost legal services available to Bronx residents.  You will need to prove that you have sufficient financial need for legal representation and that your case merits this sort of service.  With a compelling case and sufficient need, there will usually be a lawyer that will take the case pro bono.  Legal aid clinics, usually provided by community and academic institutions in conjunction with local Bronx lawyers will also be able to help with non-trial legal issues and questions.
Evaluating your Bronx lawyer
You and your Bronx lawyer must communicate well and have a strategy when dealing with another party.  This will help measure your expectations of the service against what is feasible under the law and to the lawyer’s ability.  Ensure that you and your Bronx lawyer have an understanding on the level of contact you will have.  Some lawyers may charge for incoming communication, including emails and others will encourage questions and will speak to you at no cost.  Be sure that you understand your fee arrangements with the Bronx lawyer. 
Be aware of unreasonable fees, illegal activity or coercion on the part of the Bronx lawyer.  State and local Bar Associations will maintain dispute resolution and grievance services for clients that have issues with their Bronx lawyer.
You will want a lawyer that is not only capable, but will make a compelling case in court or at settlement.  A lawyer that does not maintain a professional demeanor will compromise your case but may force you to go to trial unnecessarily if the New York City lawyer has animosity with the other party’s lawyer.  This will almost certainly undermine both the credibility of your case.
The lawyer referral service for New York City will have a screening process that has the lawyer explain to a panel their experience in the specific field of law they are applying to receive referrals including details on clients represented and verdicts won.  Only then will they be allowed to receive client referrals from the system.  After the screening process, the individual using the lawyer referral service can be assured that they will receive quality representation.
What are questions to ask Bronx lawyers?
How much do I pay for the initial consultation?
How does my case relate to New York state and local laws?
What are your fees and do you have alternate payment plans?
Can I please have all fees in writing?
Are you an active member, in good standing, of any bar association?
What roles do you play as a member?
What are my chances of winning a settlement or at trial?
Can you refer me to another lawyer if you are unable to take my case?