What you say can and will be used against you. That's the rule to keep in mind whenever you're in court. In a landlord-tenant dispute, the most common bone of contention is back rent. Tenants often think they owe the full past due rent, when in reality there may be many factors and applicable defenses to paying the full amount, or even part of it. At the very least, negotiation might reduce what you owe, or give you extra time to pay. Negotiating for yourself successfully can be hard. Hiring a Tenants' lawyer to handle it for you may save money that you would otherwise have paid. Depending on the facts of your case, that can more than make up for the cost of representation.
Attention New York City Tenants: Get more more information on Landlord Tenant matters at the McAdams Law main site here.