Introduction to Law
In this lesson, you’re expected to learn about:
– the basics of law and lawyers
– the role of lawyers
– the client-lawyer relationship
State-enforced laws can be made by:
· the legislative branch, resulting in statutes;
· the executive branch through decrees and regulations; and
· judges through judicial decisions, called precedents.
NOTE: Law is deeply connected to legal history, philosophy, economic analysis and sociology, and it also raises important and complex issues concerning equality, fairness, ethics, and justice.
Lawyers are allowed to give legal advice although they may decide not to practice law.
On the other hand, there are regulatory restrictions on non-lawyers, i.e. paralegals, to practice law.
As an attorney, one is legally qualified and licensed to represent a person in a legal matter, such as a transaction or lawsuit. In this case, it is also called attorney-in-fact.
They are mostly specialized in courtroom advocacy and litigation, and their main role is to act as advocates in legal hearings, which means that they stand in court and plead the case on behalf of their clients in front of a judge.
In England, the solicitors carry on most of the office work in law. Usually a solicitor is one who has more direct access to clients, gives advice, drafts documents, conducts negotiations, prepares cases for trial, and retains barristers for advice before the higher courts.
A lawyer who mainly does transactional-type legal work. The term usually refers to lawyers who work in the legal department of a company providing legal advisory for the core business areas. In this case, it is also called in-house counsel.
1) interpretation of the law
2) application of his/her legal knowledge to provide the needs of his/her client
3) acting as a legal representative of clients in courts, mediations, business transactions and other important legal proceedings or arrangements etc.
Also, sometimes a lawyer can serve as an investigator or negotiator working with the client as well as the opposing side to find the best way to settle a conflict, or even a communicator in the name of his/her client because the lawyer is not emotionally involved in the dispute.
· advising clients as to their legal rights and obligations, and as to the working of the legal system in so far as it is relevant to the legal rights and obligations of the clients;
· assisting clients in every appropriate way and taking legal action to protect their interests;
· assisting clients before courts, tribunals or administrative authorities, where appropriate.
The ABA Model Rules of Professional Conduct, created by the American Bar Association (ABA), are a set of rules that prescribe baseline standards of legal ethics and professional responsibility for lawyers in the United States.
The American Bar Association (ABA) Model Rules of Professional Conduct prescribe some rules regarding client-lawyer relationships (Rule 1.1 to 1.18) which includes:
As a rule, a lawyer cannot charge unreasonable fees or fees for work that hasn’t been done. In order to define the legal fees to be charged in a case, lawyers may consider different factors such as:
· time and labor required;
· opportunity cost to the lawyer;
· typical fee in the locality for similar services;
· results obtained;
· time limitations imposed by circumstances;
· length of relationship with client;
· experience and reputation of the lawyer;
· if the fee is fixed or a contingency. *
Except when he/she reasonably believes it is necessary, a lawyer shall not reveal information relating to the representation of a client unless the client gives informed consent.
A concurrent conflict of interest exists if the representation of one client will be directly adverse to another client; or there is a significant risk that the representation of one or more clients will be materially limited by the lawyer’s responsibilities to another client, a former client or a third person or by a personal interest of the lawyer.
A lawyer may not represent a new client who is materially adverse to a former client when the subject of the representation is “substantially related” to the lawyer’s prior representation.
Even when no client-lawyer relationship ensues, a lawyer who has learned information from a prospective client shall not use or reveal that information.
· Bankruptcy Lawyer
· Immigration Lawyer
· Military Lawyer
· Personal Injury Lawyer
· Criminal Defense Lawyer
· Employment Lawyer
· Environmental Lawyer
· Family Lawyer
· How much experience does he/she have working with clients in similar situations?
· What is his/her track record of success in similar cases?
· Does he/she have any special skills or certifications?
· What are his/her fees and how are they structured?
· What additional costs may be involved in addition to lawyer fees (postage, copy fees, trips, filing fees etc.)?
· Does he/she carry malpractice insurance?
· Are there others ways for solving the legal problem in discussion?
· How does he/she follow up actions with clients?
· What is the likely outcome in the case?