What are a lawyer's primary responsibilities?
Lawyers, by virtue of a state's bar admission, are expected to both uphold the law and protect the rights of their clients. In addition to actually knowing the law, particularly within his or her practice area, an attorney must be able to communicate clearly with their clients, work competently to resolve their clients needs, and be ethical in the performance of their overall handling of a case.
What do lawyers do? Do they spend most of their time arguing cases in court?
The practice of law is more than just appearing in court on behalf of a client. While there are many lawyers who argue cases before a judge, there are just as many lawyers who never step foot in a courtroom. But whether in or out of court, lawyers spend a great deal of time in an office handling a variety of tasks pertaining to their clients case - such as researching new developments in the law, preparing legal documents, and giving legal advice.
How much do lawyer's cost?
It depends. Attorneys typically charge by the hour, based on their level of experience and other factors, but sometimes they charge a flat fee for certain transactions. While a one- or two-hour visit might cost a few hundred dollars (sometimes the first consultation is free), an ongoing legal dispute or issue can cost thousands or tens of thousands of dollars. On the other hand, some personal injury attorneys don't collect a dime unless you win your case.
In addition to billable hours, what other costs can lawyer's charge for?
Lawyers bill for a wide variety of expenses and costs in addition to their hourly or flat fee. These costs include (but are not limited to) filing fees, court costs, paralegal and staff time, postage, court reporter costs, expert fees, investigators and travel expenses.
May I hire a non-lawyer for a legal problem?
It depends on the situation and the breadth of service, since only lawyers may practice law. Paralegals, for example, may represent you in certain situations involving complaints against a government agency (such as a dispute over Social Security benefits). You may also represent yourself in court, hire a notary public, or work with law students (under the supervision of a lawyer) under certain circumstances.
When do I need a lawyer?
Many people believe they need an attorney’s services only to solve a problem or to get out of a difficult situation. Often‚ the best time to see an attorney is not when you are in legal trouble but before that trouble occurs. Preventive law is one of the most valuable services that a lawyer can perform. By eliminating potential problems, preventive law can save you time‚ money‚ and needless worry.