A licensed legal practitioner who has passed the bar exam to practice law. An attorney is also known as an “attorney-at-law” or a solicitor (in the United Kingdom). Attorneys are legal experts who can defend you in court, help you hash out a binding contract and generally provide advice on all matters related to the law. They work for businesses, schools, government agencies and individuals.
The term attorney comes from Middle English, and the word’s original meaning was someone authorized to act on another person’s behalf in a legal capacity. Today, the term means a lawyer who has passed the bar exam to practice law in a particular jurisdiction. Each state regulates its own attorneys to maintain the integrity of the profession and protect consumers of legal services.
An attorney’s primary duties are to provide legal advice and representation to their clients in a range of civil and criminal cases. They must comply with a strict code of ethics to keep their clients’ information confidential. Additionally, attorneys must disclose any potential conflicts of interest to their client before beginning a case.
When deciding to hire an attorney, you should always run a background check to ensure they are licensed and in good standing. Most states have a state bar directory that lets you check an attorney’s license status and disciplinary history. This is especially important if you are seeking legal advice or representation in a complex matter.
After graduating from law school, most graduates work as interns at a private firm to gain experience and prepare for the bar exam. The bar exam is a lengthy, rigorous test that requires extensive studying and preparation. Many attorneys who pass the bar are offered a job at the firm where they interned. This is a great way to get your foot in the door and build up a network of connections.
In the United States, most lawyers are employed in private practice, which is the most common career path for law school graduates. Those in private practice may choose to work in a large firm or operate on their own. They may work for an hourly fee according to a billable hour structure or receive a percentage of the money they win in a lawsuit as a contingent fee.
Attorneys often communicate with their clients confidentially through phone, email and face-to-face meetings. This communication is protected under attorney-client privilege unless waived by the patron or otherwise violated. If a patron seeks legal advice in order to commit a crime or fraud, the attorney-patron privilege is waived, and they must divulge this information to law enforcement. An exception is made if the attorney believes that revealing the information will prevent future harm to the client or others. This exception is rarely used, however, as it is difficult to prove. Anwalt