The modern law practice is agile, flexible, and responsive to client needs. But lawyers shouldn't fear the change a current practice brings - they should embrace it.
Law Practice involves helping individuals, businesses, and the government resolve legal matters. The state bar association licenses lawyers. They can provide a wide range of services, such as:
- advocating for clients in criminal and civil court;
- drafting contracts;
- initiating lawsuits; and,
- providing legal counsel to individuals.
Hiring an attorney creates a legal relationship considered fiduciary. By hiring a lawyer, a client trusts that the lawyer will put their interest first and protect the confidentiality of the communication. The attorney isn't supposed to represent another person whose interests conflict with the client's, as it's meant to protect clients.
Law offices vary significantly, from solo practitioners to international law firms with thousands of attorneys. Typically, they charge clients by the hour, which is either taken from an upfront retainer paid by the client or their billable hours.
Expert Legal Advice About Your Case
Not everyone is familiar with the legal system and its difficulties. Practicing law is less of a black-and-white practice and more of a grey, which can be frustrating for everyone involved. Law firms also need to provide legal advice to their clients on how to proceed with their cases based on their circumstances and the law itself. Crafting legal advice is a highly challenging task but one that, ultimately, is very rewarding for professionals.
To give professional legal advice and guidance to clients, attorneys must possess solid legal knowledge. Unlike specific disciplines, there's no degree for "attorney," and very few aspiring attorneys are accepted into law school each year. Once admitted, students usually spend three years earning their degree and a multi-day bar examination which consists of two-hundred multiple-choice questions and an extensive writing assessment.
Attorneys must also be licensed to practice law in the country/state in which they attorney resides. The license requires continuing education on an annual basis. Those with a strong law background who can pass this rigorous examination of their knowledge can earn the title of "attorney," lending them the skills to advise their clients in legal situations.
Logical and ethical rules prohibit attorneys from accepting a client for a case that the attorney is not sufficiently skilled to handle. To that end, lawyers practice their craft through networking with each other, online forums, social media, traditional meetings and conventions, and subscriptions to online legal databases like Westlaw and LexisNexis. Their goal is to keep abreast of outstanding issues in their jurisdiction and use this knowledge to the advantage of their clients.
A transactional lawyer prepares or reviews contracts and other forms of written agreements. Sometimes, clients see them when they need a divorce, want to sell their business, or are ready to set up their estate plan.
Some types of cases are arbitrated rather than taken to court. The proceedings are not as formal as those in a courtroom; the parties choose who will hear the case. Also known as "alternative dispute resolution," arbitration is often faster and less expensive than going to court.
Criminal defense attorneys work on behalf of the accused, defending them against criminal charges. Like civil litigators, criminal defense attorneys identify and attack weaknesses in the opposing side's case, using the law to get the best result possible for their clients.