Top 20 Things to Know About What Lawyers Do

There are more than a dozen TV shows and movies on lawyers, making their lives look fast paced and all glamorous. But very few TV shows or movies actually show the audience anything close to the real day to day grind of being an officer at the court. Lawyers function as advocates or legal advisors. They assist their client in legal procedures by obtaining witnesses or evidences in their support. Moreover, they also provide expert advice to clients when it comes to support, rights or legal obligations. They are required to perform their responsibilities and accomplish their duties with integrity. Lastly, they work hard to uphold the reputation and dignity of their clients.



1. SOME LAWYERS NEVER GO TO COURT

While TV shows and movies make it seem like a court is a lawyers second home, it simply is not true for all kinds of lawyers. Transactional lawyers are attorneys who never appear in court. They write contracts and do all related work behind the scenes. Moreover, those attorneys who do real estate closings also do not attend court.

2. CERTAIN LAWYERS ONLY REPRESENT GOVERNMENT

Prosecutors work only for the government and have to abide by laws that restrict government from interfering in or infringing on personal freedom.

3. CIVIL LAWYERS AND CRIMINAL LAWYERS ARE DIFFERENT

Criminal attorneys work in criminal courts. Prosecutors bring in charges against those individuals who are accused of committing a crime and defense attorneys defend those individuals who are claimed to commit a crime by the government. On the other hand civil lawyers are those who work in civil courts, taking care of lawsuits for a defendant or plaintiff. They represent individuals involved in breach of contract or town cases or cases in which 2 more private parties are involved in a dispute. Different standards or proofs and rules apply for evidence in civil and criminal courts.

4. LAWYERS HAVE A FIELD OF SPECIALTY

Although there are some general practice attorneys too, but most lawyers specialize in particular fields. The DUI attorney for example handles only DUI cases or majorly DUI cases, whereas divorce lawyers deal with matters effecting child custody or marriage dissolution.

5. LAWYERS ARE OBLIGATED TO KEEP YOUR INFORMATION A SECRET

The rules of professional conduct and law recognize client/attorney privilege. Therefore lawyers not only willingly hide your personal information but they are required to hide it even if they are called to testify against you in hearings. They need to maintain the client’s confidentiality. Without the consent of the client, a lawyer is not allowed by law to disclose any information. However in certain circumstances, such as when someone is in danger, or when the client is using the lawyer as a support to commit a crime, the lawyer can disclose the information without anyone’s consent.

6. LAWYERS PUT YOUR INTERESTS FIRST

Attorneys have an ethical duty to put you first. This is known as fiduciary duty. This means that an attorney has to do what is in your best interest, even if that means going against his own interests. There are various rules in law to ensure that lawyers abide by this duty. Lawyers can for example not engage in any kinds of business dealings with their client to ensure no conflicts of interest arise. Moreover when deciding on how to structure your case or advising you on whether or not to accept settlements, the attorney has to thing if the decision will prove to be a good thing in favor of you.

7. LAWYERS REPRESENT YOU WITH REASONABLE CARE

A lawyer is judged on the basis of how much he cares for you. If he fails to fulfill this duty, you can sue him for malpractice. If for example your lawyer does not behave competently in representing you in a criminal case, you may in your favor get the verdict overturned and request for a new trial.

8. SOME LAWYERS WORK FOR LARGE FIRMS

Remember Harvey Specter from Suits? Just like Suits, many law firms have become a big business, and MNC’s comprised of many different types of lawyers and their offices. Such big firms have a lot of branches and handle many different types of law cases.

9. LAWYERS NEED TO KNOW LAW OF DIFFERENT FIELDS

To actually start practicing law after graduating from law school, a lawyer needs to pass the bar exam. This exam requires that the lawyer knows many different areas of law, from the rules of constitution to the rules of evidence. Therefore even though a lawyer might be in a specialty field, he has to know the law in all areas.

10. LAWYERS HAVE A RELATIONSHIP WITH COURTS

After passing the bar exam, a lawyer is sworn as an officer of the court. Therefore he/she must comply with codes of ethics and act properly. Even before taking the bar exam, a lawyer has to undergo a moral fitness or moral character evaluation to judge if he is worthy of becoming an officer in court or an attorney.

11. FEE STRUCTURES FOR DIFFERENT LAWYERS

Tort lawyers and personal injury attorneys work on a contingent fee basis; they are only paid once they win the case. Whereas criminal lawyers or divorce lawyers do not charge on contingent bases, they typically charge an hourly rate.

12. DIVORCE LAWYERS HELP NEGOTIATE FINANCIAL SETTLEMENTS

After getting a divorce, you need to divide your financial assets. This can be a tricky thing to do by yourself; therefore a lawyer helps you negotiate fair distribution of your financial assets.

13. MOST OF A LAWYERS JOB IS WRITING, READING AND PAPERWORK

All lawyers in law school are taught to read and write about the things they read. Most of a lawyer’s day is spent writing pleadings, memos and letters about how law applies and what it means. A lawyer’s job is not just about what is in statute books, but instead it is about specific arguments. He is the one who sorts through all sorts of papers to find out what a certain law means in relation to clients and their cases.

14. LAWYERS AS SOCIAL ENGINEERS

As we know, our society, what we do every day and the way we live, all is loosely bound by a set of rules that we call “law”. It is the job of the lawyers to aid people in understanding these rules and live lives meaningfully. They help people in distress, advocating areas of concern, such as women issues, child rights or protection of refugees.

15. GOOGLING OPPOSING COUNSEL

Lawyers always wonder who the other attorney they are dealing with is. How long have they been practicing? Where did they go for law school? What do they look like? Attorneys seek to know every minute detail about the opposing party attorney before meeting him in person.

16. CUTTING AND PASTING

Lawyers are pals with other attorneys in a legalized extortion plan. The defendant who eventually pays everybody in this legalized extortion party is the extortee. Lawyers get to write the same or same demand a hundred times. Since there re-inventing the wheel every time does not make sense, lawyers simply cut and paste to minimize effort and maximize efficiency.

17. PROOF READING

Of course when you cut and paste the same thing over hundred times, you are likely to make mistakes. Such typos and inevitable and lawyers spend a great amount of time scouring the document for improper possessives, incorrect information or wrong pronouns. One tip to avoid errors is making every single document as detail-free as possible. Therefore proof-reading is of high importance.

18. COMMUNICATE WITH CLIENTS

Lawyers have a job to keep the client informed and updated on the status or development of their case. They need to maintain constant communication with the client and respond promptly to requests for a meeting. Moreover before the lawyer makes any decision that would have an effect on the case, he is supposed to coordinate and discuss action with the client.



19. ASSIST CLIENTS WITH LEGAL MATTERS

Apart from taking up cases in courts, lawyers also have a duty to assist clients in business contracts, paying taxes, transferring assets, and all other legal related decisions. They also handle issues related to stakeholders and corporate transactions. They support the client by explaining and interpreting various laws, rules, and regulations stipulated in any legal document.

20. PROVIDING COUNSELING AND LEGAL ADVICE TO CLIENTS

Lawyers study ordinances, regulations of quasi-judicial bodies and constitutions, so that they could advice their clients in the best possible manner. They also analyze the probable outcome of a case with the help of their knowledge regarding legal matters. When required, they also negotiate settlements during any civil disputes with the help of their skills. They may take multiple roles such as a legal advisor, guardian or agent for individuals who are seeking support in any case.

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