An attorney licensed to practice law in NY is legally permitted to represent clients in New York courts in any problem area. That said, it is often wise to find a lawyer who specializes in the area you are concerned about. If you want a lawyer to write an official-sounding letter to your landlord, (for example , complaining about conditions), pretty much any lawyer will be up to the task. However, if your landlord has taken you to court or you are thinking of taking your landlord to court, you should probably consult someone who is a regular practitioner in the area.
You'd be surprised. Landlord/Tenant law is statute-driven. It doesn't take a rocket scientist to know how to litigate a landlord/tenant case if one is already an experienced litigator and knows how to navigate ordinances and statutes, but a lot of the questions brought up in landlord/tenant cases require a knowledge of your state's particular landlord/tenant laws as well as local ordinances.
Your employment lawyer might know or be able to adequately represent you in a landlord/tenant matter. It all depends on the attorney, really, and whether that attorney is interested in pursuing the matter.
DISCLAIMER: Brandy A. Peeples is licensed to practice law in the State of Maryland. This answer is being provided for informational purposes only and the laws of your jurisdiction may differ. This answer based on general legal principles and is not intended for the purpose of providing specific legal advice or opinions. Under no circumstances does this answer constitute the establishment of an attorney-client relationship. For legal advice relating to your specific situation, I strongly urge you to consult with an attorney in your area. NO COMMUNICATIONS WITH ME ARE TO BE CONSTRUED AS ARISING FROM AN ATTORNEY-CLIENT RELATIONSHIP AND NO ATTORNEY-CLIENT RELATIONSHIP WILL BE ESTABLISHED WITH ME UNLESS I HAVE EXPRESSLY AGREED TO UNDERTAKE YOUR REPRESENTATION, WHICH INCLUDES THE EXECUTION OF A WRITTEN AGREEMENT OF RETAINER.
You can ask. A lot attorneys work in more than one area. The worst that could happen is that the attorney says no. But even in that case, the employment attorney may know of someone who handles landlord/tenant cases and give you a good referral.
This answer is provided for guidance only. DO NOT rely on it as legal advice. We DO NOT have an attorney-client relationship. You should contact an attorney in your area for a one-on-one consultation before pursuing any action or making any decisions.
I would hope the lawyer would tell you if he/she is experienced in the area and feels confident enought to handle it. These are two very different areas of the law.
I am a former federal and State prosecutor and now handle criminal defense and personal injury/civil rights cases. Feel free to check out my web site and contact me at (212) 577-9797 or via email at Eric@RothsteinLawNY.com. I was named to the Super Lawyers list as one of the top attorneys in New York for 2012. No more than 5 percent of the lawyers in the state are selected by Super Lawyers. The above answer is for informational purposes only and not meant as legal advice.