Law & American Society Lawyers. Lawyers/Attorneys There are more than one million lawyers in the United States today 65% are in private practice 15% are.
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Presentation on theme: "Law & American Society Lawyers. Lawyers/Attorneys There are more than one million lawyers in the United States today 65% are in private practice 15% are."— Presentation transcript:
Lawyers/Attorneys There are more than one million lawyers in the United States today 65% are in private practice 15% are government lawyers Some work for public interest or legal aid organizations Smallest group are professors, judges, or elected officials
Lawyers Most lawyers rarely go to court Lawyers –Give advice –Draft legal documents –Negotiate settlements –Provide legal assistance
Lawyers Lawyers who go to court are called trial lawyers or litigators
Famous Lawyers + Clarence Darrow Abraham Lincoln F. Lee Bailey Thurgood Marshall Hilary Clinton
When do I need a lawyer? You hit another car in a parking lot. Your insurance agent indicates that the company will pay for bodily injury and property damage. You borrow a friends car without his knowledge, and he reports it to the police as stolen. You buy a new stereo for $500. One month later, the receiver and speakers blow out. You return to the store, and the salesperson tells you he is sorry but his stereos have only a two-week guarantee. You decide to trade in your old car and buy a new one. Two friends are caught robbing the cashier at a local store, and they name you as one who helped plan the robbery The principal suspends you from school for two days because of an article you wrote for the student newspaper criticizing the school dress code. You are turned down when you apply for a job. You think you were rejected because you are deaf. You do not want your family to inherit the $10,000 you have saved. Told you will die within a year, you want the money to be used for cancer research. You and your spouse find you can no longer get along. You want a divorce. You earn $5,000 working in a restaurant during the year. You want to file your federal income tax return.
What to Ask Your Lawyer What is the lawyer’s fee? Is the client required to pay a flat fee or by the hour? Is a retainer required? What about a contingency fee, in which the lawyer gets paid only if he or she wins your case? Will there be a written fee agreement? What will it say? How often will you be billed? Will the lawyer tell you when the fee is going to exceed a certain limit? Has the lawyer ever handled cases like this before? If so, with what results? Will the lawyer provide you with copies of all correspondence and documents prepared on your behalf? Will the lawyer keep you informed of any new developments in your case and talk to you in “plain English”?
Terms to Know Retainer-a down payment on the total fee Contingency Fee-a percentage of whatever amount the client wins or settles for in a case Privilege-whatever you tell your lawyer about your case is private and confidential. This information can not be disclosed to anyone without your permission Disbar-to take away an attorney’s license to practice law because of illegal or unethical conduct Legal Malpractice-the type of lawsuit brought against a lawyer for loss or injury to his or her client caused by the lawyer’s error or failure to meet acceptable standards of practice for the legal profession
Code of Professional Responsibility The Code of Professional Responsibility consists of the following nine canons, or principles, which are broken down into ethical considerations and disciplinary rules.
Code of Professional Responsibility Canon 1. A lawyer should assist in maintaining the integrity and competence of the legal profession Canon 2. A lawyer should assist the legal profession in fulfilling its duty to make legal counsel available. Canon 3. A layer should assist in preventing the unauthorized practice of law Canon 4. A lawyer should preserve the confidences and secrets of a client Canon 5. A lawyer should exercise independent professional judgment on behalf of a client. Canon 6. A lawyer should represent a client completely. Canon 7. A lawyer should represent a client zealously within the bounds of the law. Canon 8. A lawyer should assist in improving the legal system. Canon 9. A lawyer should avoid the appearance of professional impropriety.