Lawyers What is a lawyer? When do you need a lawyer? How do you find a lawyer? How do you work with your lawyer
Becoming a Lawyer • Complete a 4-year college program • Demonstrate strong academic skills • Take LSAT (Law School Admission Test) • Complete Law School (usually 3 years) • Pass the State Bar Exam • Each state sets eligibility for their state • WASHINGTON STATE LAW SCHOOLS • Gonzaga University • Seattle University • University of Washington
What is a LAWYER? A lawyer (also called attorney, counsel, counselor, litigator, barrister, or solicitor) is a licensed professional who advises and represents others in legal matters. Today's lawyer can be young or old, male or female. Nearly one-third of all lawyers are under thirty-five. Almost half the law students today are women, and women will probably ultimately be as numerous in the profession as men.
When do I need to contact a lawyer? There are matters best handled by a lawyer. Nearly everyone agrees that you should talk with a lawyer about major life events or changes, which might include: • Being arrested for a crime or served with legal papers in a civil lawsuit; • Being involved in a serious accident causing personal injury or property damage; • A change in family status such as divorce, adoption, or death; • A change in financial status such as getting or losing valuable personal property or real estate, or filing for bankruptcy.
Why do you need a lawyer? • When you are buying or selling a home • When you are organizing a business • When you are changing family status • When you are making/changing a will • When handling accidents involving personal injury or property damage • When signing a large or important contract • When defending a criminal charge • When bringing a civil suit ($5000 or less)
?What to ask your Attorney? • What is the lawyer’s fee? • Will there be a written fee agreement? • How often will you be billed • Will the lawyer tell you when the fee is going to exceed a certain limit • Has the lawyer ever handled cases like this before? • Will the lawyer provide you with copies of everything prepared on your behalf? • Will the lawyer keep you informed of any new developments in your case and talk to you in “plain English”?
The Car Crash(read page 68) • Get into the your groups • Role-play the initial attorney-client interview between Marie and the attorney(s). • Write out the dialogue that take place between Marie and her attorney(s) • ATTORNEY(s): • Ask questions an attorney should ask a client • CLIENT: • Provide the attorney with all necessary information • Ask all the questions that are relevant to Marie’s case • Decide if you should retain that attorney
Working with your lawyer • Attorney-Client Privilege – need to be honest • Clients need to be able to speak freely with their lawyer to assist in preparing a good defense • If the lawyer had to tell the courts if his/her client admitted to a crime, the client would not feel free to be honest • A lawyer knowing, fully, what his/her client has done is essential to preparing their defense • A good attorney will give you legal advice but the decisions are up to the client • How the defense will proceed (who to call, to take the stand) • To take a plea deal or not • Attorneys must follow the rules too • Disbarred • Legal Malpractice
Group Activity • Get into groups of 3 or 4 • DISCUSS the Code of Professional Responsibility • On one paper, write the cannon down in the order you believe to be the most important and write one sentence for EACH explaining WHY this is important for a lawyer to follow.
Code of Professional Responsibility • Cannon 1: Assist in maintaining the integrity and competence of the legal profession • Cannon 2: Assist the legal profession in fulfilling its duty to make legal counsel available • Cannon 3: Assist in preventing the unauthorized practice of law • Cannon 4: Preserve the confidences and secrets of a client • Cannon 5: Exercise independent professional judgment on behalf of a client • Cannon 6: Represent a client completely • Cannon 7: Represent a client zealously within the bounds of the law • Cannon 8: Assist in improving the legal system • Cannon 9: Avoid the appearance of professional impropriety
Ethical Dilemmas A. Mart, an attorney for the family of a man killed in an auto crash, visits a bar and runs into a juror in the case. She has a drink with the juror.
Ethical Dilemmas B. Nicholas, a criminal defense attorney, puts his client on the stand to testify to her innocence, even though Nicholas knows she is lying
Ethical Dilemmas c. Gene, a corporate lawyer, is asked by a wealthy client to recommend her son for admission to the state bar. Gene says yes
Ethical Dilemmas D. Antoine represents a man injured by a defective lawn mower. The manufacturer’s insurance company offers a $100,000 settlement. He accepts the settlement without consulting his client.
Ethical Dilemmas E. Nang, an attorney, has a trial next week before Judge DeSilva. Nang sees the judge in a grocery store and asks if the trial can be postponed one week.
Ethical Dilemmas F. Reynolds knows his client is guilty of the crime she is charged with. During the trial, he does not use a tactic that he believes will make his client look not guilty.
?Do you need an Attorney? • You hit another car in a parking lot. Your insurance agent indicates that the company will pay for bodily injury and property damage. • You borrow a friend’s car without his knowledge, and he reports it to the police as stolen. • You buy a new stereo for $500. One month later, the receiver and speakers blow out. Your return to the store, and the salesperson tells you he is sorry but his stereos only have a 2 week guarantee. • You decide to trade in your old car and buy a new one. • Two friends are caught robbing the cashier at a local store, and they name you as one who helped plan the robbery. • The principal suspends you from school for two days because of an article you wrote for the student newspaper criticizing the school dress code. • You are turned down when you apply for a job. You think you were rejected because you are deaf. • You do not want your family to inherit the $10,000 you have saved. Told you will die within a year, you want the money to be used for cancer research. • You and your spouse find you can no longer get along. You want a divorce. • You earn $5,000 working in a restaurant during the year. You want o file your federal income tax return.
Do you need an Attorney? • Explain WHY you might need an attorney in the following situations. • 1. You and your spouse are going to buy your first home • 2. You are pulled over for speeding • 3. You have been arrested for having drugs at school • 4. You neighbor and you decide to buy a lawnmower together • 5. You are getting divorced • 6. You have been accused of cheating on a test • 7. You were hurt when the bus you were riding in had to stop suddenly • 8. You have signed with a professional sports team to play for them • 9. You are suing someone for $1000 damages • 10. You are suing someone for $15,000 damages
How do you find a lawyer? • Recommendation of someone who had a similar legal problem • Recommendation of a friend who had a matter resolved to their satisfaction • Contact local legal referral service • Lawyers CAN advertise • Lawyers can be expensive. Some offer services for free (pro bono) or for a percentage of the final judgment (contingency fee)
Lawyers Advertise • You need to know what you are looking for • Look for someone who specializes in the area you need • If you don’t have money, look for one who asks for no money up front
?should lawyers advertise? • A television advertisement shows a lawyer in a bathing suit coming out of a lake. He says, “If you’re in over your head because of bad debts, let us bail you out. We’re the best firm in the state.” • Should there be any restrictions on ads like this? • If so, what? • Should there be other restrictions on ads? What?
?should lawyers advertise? • A lawyer hears that many people have been injured as a result of accidents in a particular type of car. He runs a newspaper ad showing a car crash. The ad reads, “If this happens to you, I may be able to help you recover your losses.” • Should the lawyer be able to do this?
?should lawyers advertise? • Many people in an area have lost their jobs and are about to lose their homes because they cannot make their monthly mortgage payments. Jane, a lawyer, writes to all of these people saying she is willing to represent them to prevent the loss of their homes. • Should she be allowed to do this?
“Need to Knows” • Methods of Conflict Resolution • Arbitration, Mediation, Negotiations, Settlements, Ombudspersons, Trial • Court System • State/Federal Laws • Levels of Courts (types of cases they hear) • Supreme Court • Lawyers • When you need an attorney • How you find an attorney • What you ask an attorney
Vocabulary • Adversarial System * Ombudsperson • Arbitration * Petition for Certiorari • Error in Law * Settlement • Mediator * Trial Courts • Negotiations * Voir Dire
Chapter Assessment • Each student must complete the TAKE HOME QUIZ about lawyers. • The quiz is due on Monday • You may use the remainder of class time to work on this. You may work with 1 or 2 other student during this time.