Presentation on theme: "Practical Law – Chapter 6 Lawyers Lawyers have a reputation in the U.S., but there are certainly situations that call for you to consult with a lawyer."— Presentation transcript:
Practical Law – Chapter 6 Lawyers Lawyers have a reputation in the U.S., but there are certainly situations that call for you to consult with a lawyer. You may want to consult legal help at any time you are dealing with a contract or legal documents. However you may be able to settle small disputes without one, including appearing in Small Claims Court without a lawyer.
Practical Law – Chapter 6 Lawyers If you are not sure whether or not you should see a lawyer, you can consult a bar association. A bar association is an organization that licenses lawyers, and each state has one. This is why lawyers must “pass the bar” or “pass the bar exam.”
Practical Law – Chapter 6 Finding a Lawyer Lawyers are now allowed to advertise, which was forbidden until 1977, and this has allowed nation-wide, low-cost, legal clinics to develop. Again, bar associations, can help you find a lawyer. If you are unable to afford a lawyer, you may be eligible for free legal services at a legal aid office, or a public defender’s office.
Practical Law – Chapter 6 Finding a Lawyer When dealing with a lawyer, it is best to ask for an estimate about legal fees up front, including who else besides the lawyer may be working on the case and what they will charge. Many lawyers will require a retainer, which is a down-payment on the total fee. Some lawyers will work on contingency, which means that they will not charge by the hour, but instead take a percentage of the winnings. Contingency is often 30%.
Practical Law – Chapter 6 Working with a Lawyer Trust is key when working with a lawyer. To get clients to speak freely to their lawyers, the law gives an attorney-client privilege, meaning that whatever you tell your client is secret and confidential. Lawyers must follow professional standards laid out by the Code of Professional Responsibility (p.67).
Practical Law – Chapter 6 Working with a Lawyer If a lawyer does not follow the Code of Professional Responsibility the lawyer may be disbarred, which means that they have lost their license to practice law.
Practical Law – Chapter 6 Working with a Lawyer In addition, if a client has serious concerns or complaints about the job that their lawyer has done, the client can sue the lawyer for legal malpractice, for errors that result in injury or loss. Bar associations also have an arbitration panels that can settle disputes and have the power to order lawyers to return money to clients.