Presentation on theme: " There are more than 1 million lawyers (attorneys) in the U.S. 65% are in private practice 15% are government lawyers ▪ Federal, State, or local."— Presentation transcript:
There are more than 1 million lawyers (attorneys) in the U.S. 65% are in private practice 15% are government lawyers ▪ Federal, State, or local agencies 15% work for corporations, unions, or trade associations 4% work for public interest or legal aid organizations 1% are law professors, judges, or elected officials
Not all lawyers go to court Litigators – trial attorneys Most lawyers give advice, draft legal opinions, negotiate settlements, and provide other out-of- court legal advice
Buying or selling a home/real estate Organizing a business (Legal Zoom) Changing your family status (divorce/adoption) Making a will or planning an estate Signing a large, important contract Handling accidents involving personal injury or property damage Defending a criminal charge or bringing a civil suit
You hit another car in the parking lot. Your insurance company indicates that the company will pay for bodily injury & property damage You borrow a friend’s car without his knowledge. He reports the car as stolen. You buy a new phone for $400. One month later the speaker stops working. You return to the store, and the sales person tells you that the phone only has a 2-week guarantee. 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 donated to cancer research. You and your spouse find you can no longer get along. You want to divorce. You decide to trade your old car and buy a new one Two friends are caught robbing the cashier at a local store, and they name you as someone who helped them plan the robbery. The principal suspends you from school for two days because of an article you wrote for the student paper criticizing the school’s dress code You are turned down when you apply for a job. You think you were rejected because you are female. You earn $5,000 working in a restaurant during the year. You want to file your federal income tax return.
Word of mouth Generally, the best way to find the right lawyer for you and your situation is to have one recommended by someone who has been in a similar situation and had their problem solved to their satisfaction Phone book Online Martindale-Hubbel Law Dictionary Bar association
Lawyers have not always been able to advertise. In 1977, the U.S. Supreme court ruled that advertising by lawyers was protected by the First Amendment A TV advertisement shows a lawyer in a bathing suit coming out of a lake. He says “If your in over your head because of bad debts, let us bail you out. We’re the best firm in the state.” Should there be any restriction on an ad like this? Should there be other restrictions on ads? If so, what should they be?
A lawyer hears that many people have been injured as a result of accidents in a particular car. He runs a newspaper ad showing a car crash. The ad reads “If this happens to you, I may be able to help you recover your losses.” Should the lawyer be able to do this? Many people in the area have lost their jobs and are about to lose their homes because they cannot make their monthly mortgage payments. Jane, a lawyer, writes to all of these people saying she is willing to represent them to prevent the loss of their homes. Should she be allowed to do this?
What is the lawyer’s fee? Will there be a written fee agreement? Has the lawyer ever handled cases like this? 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”?
What questions should Marie ask her attorney? What questions should the attorney ask Marie? Should Marie retain an attorney? Why or why not?
Retainer – a down payment on the total fee your attorney will charge for their services Contingency Fee – a percentage of whatever amount the client wins or settles for. Sometimes used instead of an hourly fee or a lump sum. Attorney-Client Privilege- whatever you tell your attorney about the case is private and confidential Why is attorney – client privilege important?