Whether You’re Litigious or Laid-Back—You’re Going to Need a Good Lawyer
Here are some of the reasons you might need a lawyer as you travel life’s path:
Even if you’re vowing to be married forever, consider the other implications of saying “I do.” A bit of legal advice could come in handy—as, of course, could a prenuptial agreement making arrangements should anything go wrong between you and your beloved.
Now might be a good time to update your will, arrange for a guardian for your children, and think about financial arrangements (college tuition, trust funds) for your family.
Getting a Good Job
If you’re fortunate enough to have an employment contract, have your lawyer peruse it. Make sure you’re getting the most you possibly can. What will happen if you’re fired? Is notice required? Severance?
Buying a Home
Make sure you understand just what you’re buying. Are you purchasing “as is,” or did the seller promise to make some improvements?
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The better you’re doing, the more you might need the advice of a tax lawyer or trusts and estates counsel to maximize your earnings and minimize your legal vulnerability should things head south.
A bankruptcy lawyer might be needed in the worst-case scenario, but getting some sound legal advice before reaching the brink of financial ruin could mitigate some negative consequences.
Life’s Little Mishaps— Car Accidents, Slips-and-Falls
Accidents happen, and you—or someone who’s come into contact with you—might just be prompted to say, “I’ll sue!”
Even before calling it quits, you might obtain legal advice to protect yourself.
Okay, you won’t need a lawyer if you’re the deceased, but your family may need legal help in administering your estate and transferring your assets to your heirs.
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The New York County attorneys‘ Association turned 99 years old this year. At the time of its founding, the only existing bar association in Manhattan precluded some attorneys from membership by virtue of ethnicity, religion, sex and race. Although other factors contributed to the atmosphere that produced the new association, none was as strong as “selective membership.” Not only were large groups of attorneys denied affiliation with a bar association, but independent perspectives on the judicial system were also curtailed by the reluctance of a few large law firms to facilitate change. Throughout its history, NYCLA’s bedrock principles have been the inclusion of all who wish to join and the active pursuit of legal system reform.
In 1907, a group of attorneys gathered in Carnegie Hall to address the prospect of forming a bar group where heritage and politics were not obstacles to inclusion. The bar leaders who met were determined to create, in the words of Hon. Joseph H. Choate, who would become president in 1912, “the great democratic bar association of the City [where] any attorney who had met the rigid standards set up by law for admission to the bar should, by virtue of that circumstance, be eligible for admission.” Just a few months later, April 21, 1908, 143 “attorneys or counsellors of the Supreme Court of the State of New York in active practice, residing or having offices in New York County” officially incorporated the New York County attorneys’ Association.
The New York County attorneys’ Association has historically been one of the largest and most influential county bar associations in the country. From its 143 founders to the 8,500 who now proudly call themselves Members, the Association has stood for, as observed by one of its founders, Benno Lewison: “the cultivation of the science of jurisprudence; the promotion of reforms in the law; the facilitation of the administration of justice; the elevation of the standards of integrity, honor and courtesy in the legal profession; [and] the cherishing of the spirit of brotherhood among the members of the Association.” NYCLA’s stature in the legal community has attracted prominent men and women to its programs. Annual Meetings, dinners and forum events have been attended by U.S. presidents, chief justices of the U.S. Supreme Court, legal scholars from across the country, corporate leaders and elected officials from all levels of government.
From the beginning, NYCLA has pioneered some of the most far-reaching and tangible reforms in American jurisprudence. As early as 1915, NYCLA proposed legislation to “radically revise all the laws pertaining to this [Municipal] Court.” In 1948, the Association sponsored initiatives to reduce calendar congestion at all court levels. In 1962, NYCLA spearheaded the effort to enact a unified civil and criminal court system in New York City. NYCLA has consistently supported just compensation for judges and employees of the courts, as well as the merit selection of judges. In 1997, NYCLA’s proposal to increase fees for Article 18(b) attorneys to improve the quality of defense afforded to indigent defendants won the endorsement of bar associations across the state. A lawsuit filed in 2000 helped obtain increased compensation for these attorneys.
The Association has also had a powerful impact on both the law and public policy. NYCLA’s groundbreaking 1952 report on public apathy toward delinquent children brought wide acclaim and won the endorsement of Mayor Robert F. Wagner. In 1943, the Association refused to renew its affiliation with the American Bar Association for its refusal to admit Black attorneys. In 1949, NYCLA sponsored a conference on civil rights in the post-World-War-II era. NYCLA’s Women’s Rights Committee challenged and helped change provisions of the Internal Revenue Code that had a discriminatory impact on women and married couples.
NYCLA and its members have never confined their activities to making recommendations and then standing back. When calendar congestion became so menacing in 1976 as to threaten the court system, 350 NYCLA attorneys volunteered to act as Special Masters of the courts to relieve the burden. In 1989, when indigent defendants could not secure representation, NYCLA attorneys volunteered to perform pro bono work, not only assisting the needy but demonstrating their commitment to public service. The Association has also taken the lead in the professional development of attorneys, providing continuing legal education for almost 28 years.
Throughout its 99 years, NYCLA has been at the forefront of most legal debates in the country. The Association’s founders were and their successors are dedicated to the highest standards for the