When you’re faced with a legal issue and don’t know where to turn, seeking out a lawyer can be overwhelming. There are thousands of attorneys out there in practice, and finding the right one can be a challenge. 

Thankfully, there is no shortage of resources to help you find the right person to talk to about your case. If you are looking for help in New York State, there are more than a few places you can look to find a lawyer you can trust.

Does the State Bar Association Offer Referrals?

If you’re seeking legal help in New York, your state bar association is a great place to get started. Many state bar associations offer lawyer referral services, which can ease the burden of your search. 

You can give a short explanation of your situation and receive information for attorneys who practice in the area of law most likely to be relevant to you. The referral service provided by the New York State Bar Association provides referrals for hundreds of New York attorneys covering more than 44 counties in New York State.

Information that you give to the state bar referral service is considered confidential, and the service is free to use. Referrals through the state bar service generally charge $35 for the first 30 minutes of your initial consultation. However, there are a few situations that will allow for a free consultation under very specific circumstances.

Are There Local Referral Services for a New York Lawyer?

If you are not in one of the counties served by the state bar referral service, you may find that your local bar association offers referral services. Nearly every county in the state of New York has its own bar association (like Erie and Richmond Counties, for example), and New York City also has an association that offers referral services. These local associations have often also pre-negotiated a low initial consultation fee, between $20 to $40 depending on the area.

There are also several legal professional associations that focus on specific areas of the law or specific interest groups that offer referral services. For example, the LGBT Bar Association of Greater New York and the National Employment Lawyers Association – New York Chapter both provide referrals and field requests for legal help. Some of these associations also occasionally provide free legal clinics for people with low to moderate incomes–those who may not otherwise be able to afford the services of an attorney.

What are Private Attorney Referral Services?

In addition to contacting your local bar associations, there are also many private referral services available to you. These private services offer to match your needs with attorneys who work in your area and practice in the specific areas of law most likely to be helpful to your case. 

Many of these private referral services are available online, 24 hours a day, and provide multiple referrals so that you can find exactly the person you want to talk to. Most of these services also provide a little background or additional information about the attorneys they refer to you, as well.

Private referral services are usually free to use, and have pre-negotiated reduced rates for your initial consultation with your selected lawyer. In many cases, your initial consultation fee can range between $0 and $50.

What Should I Know Before My Initial Consultation with a Lawyer?

Most initial consultations are brief – only 30 minutes – so you want to make sure that you are organized before you step into the attorney’s office. Gather up all the documents and materials that you believe are relevant to your case, and be prepared to give the attorney as much information about your situation as possible. 

It’s also a good idea to prepare a list of questions you may have before your appointment so that you remember what to ask while you’re there. Include a question or two about what the attorney’s fees would look like if they take on your case.

Keep in mind that you are not required to hire an attorney just because you have an initial consultation with them. You are welcome to talk to several attorneys before selecting one, if you decide to select one at all! If after speaking to a few attorneys you decide you don’t want to hire one at all, that is okay too.

Should I Hire a New York Lawyer?

If you need legal help in New York, it is in your best interests to talk to an experienced New York lawyer. The right lawyer can help talk you through your situation and give professional advice on the best way to proceed and protect your rights. If you decide that a lawsuit is necessary, your lawyer can also prepare the necessary documents, represent you in court, and help you achieve the best possible outcome for your case.