Know About Lawyer

A lawyer or attorney is a person who practices law, as an advocate, attorney at law, barrister, barrister-at-law, bar-at-law, canonist, canon lawyer, civil law notary, counsel, counselor, counsellor, solicitor, legal executive, or public servant preparing, interpreting and applying law, but not as a paralegal or charter executive secretary. Working as a lawyer involves the practical application of abstract legal theories and knowledge to solve specific individualized problems, or to advance the interests of those who hire lawyers to perform legal services. The role of the lawyer varies greatly across different legal jurisdictions.





Lawyer : Definition and Responsibilities

Terminology

  • In practice, legal jurisdictions exercise their right to determine who is recognized as being a lawyer. As a result, the meaning of the term "lawyer" may vary from place to place. Some jurisdictions have two types of lawyers, barrister and solicitors, whilst others fuse the two. A barrister is a lawyer who specializes in higher court appearances. A solicitor is a lawyer who is trained to prepare cases and give advice on legal subjects and can represent people in lower courts. Both barristers and solicitors have gone through law school, completed the requisite practical training. However, in jurisdictions where there is a split-profession, only barristers are admitted as members of their respective bar association.
  • In Australia, the word "lawyer" can be used to refer to both barristers and solicitors (whether in private practice or practicing as corporate in-house counsel), and whoever is admitted as a lawyer of the Supreme Court of a state or territory.
  • In Canada, the word "lawyer" only refers to individuals who have been called to the bar or, in Quebec, have qualified as civil law notaries. Common law lawyers in Canada are formally and properly called "barristers and solicitors", but should not be referred to as "attorneys", since that term has a different meaning in Canadian usage, being a person appointed under a power of attorney. However, in Quebec, civil law advocates (or avocats in French) often call themselves "attorney" and sometimes "barrister and solicitor" in English, and all lawyers in Quebec, or lawyers in the rest of Canada when practicing in French, are addressed with the honorific title, "Me." or "MaĆ®tre".




  • In England and Wales, "lawyer" is used to refer to persons who provide reserved and unreserved legal activities and includes practitioners such as barristers, attorneys, solicitors, registered foreign lawyers, patent attorneys, trade mark attorneys, licensed conveyancers, public notaries, commissioners for oaths, immigration advisers and claims management services. The Legal Services Act 2007 defines the "legal activities" that may only be performed by a person who is entitled to do so pursuant to the Act. 'Lawyer' is not a protected title
  • In South Africa, the profession is devided into "Advocates" and "Attorneys" having comparable descriptions to "Barristers" and “Solicitors" in the UK. Advocates spend one year under Pupillage and Attorneys spend two years under Articles of Clerkship before being admitted in the High Court to the roll of Advocates or Attorneys as the case may be. "Lawyer" is a generic term referring to anyone qualified in law, however its use is not widespread, especially not within the profession. "Legal Practitioner" has gained limited usage with the introduction of the Legal Practice Act 28 of 2014, under which the functions of Attorneys and Advocates overlap and are less distinct. This is not prevalent however. "Legal Advisor" is commonly used to describe in-house or corporate advisors.
  • In Pakistan, the term "Advocate" is used instead of lawyer in The Legal Practitioners and Bar Councils Act, 1973.
  • In India, the term "lawyer" is often commonly used, but the official term is "advocate" as prescribed under the Advocates Act, 1961.
  • In Scotland, the word "lawyer" refers to a more specific group of legally trained people. It specifically includes advocates and solicitors. In a generic sense, it may also include judges and law-trained support staff.
  • In the United States, the term generally refers to attorneys who may practice law. It is never used to refer to patent agents or paralegals. In fact, there are statutory and regulatory restrictions on non-lawyers like paralegals practicing law.




  • Other nations tend to have comparable terms for the analogous concept.

Responsibilities

1. Living by a code of ethics

Lawyers are bound by an oath they take at the beginning of their legal profession to abide by a set of rules. Published by the International Bar Association (IBA), the IBA International Principles on Conduct for the Legal Profession (IBA International Principles) apply to all practising lawyers across the globe and provides lawyers with a framework to carry out their professional duties in a manner consistent with upholding the dignity and respect of the profession in relation to their clients.  The aim, through fostering a climate of understanding about the national and international rules that govern the conduct of lawyers, is that the ideals and integrity of the legal profession will be promoted worldwide. Among the matters that are covered by the IBA International Principles include a lawyer’s conduct with regards to his client and other individuals or figures of authority that he comes into contact with in the course of his profession; the function of a lawyer as protector of the rights of citizens and legal entities; the importance of considering the requirements of professional and general culture during his public and private appearances, submissions, speeches and other official acts, and the need to gain and maintain the trust of his client, judiciary and other bodies. These principles must be a component part of each lawyer’s own conscience and belief.




2. Covering different practice areas

Contrary to what you see on TV, a lawyer’s daily life doesn’t always follow the cookie-cutter recipe of fiery courtroom battles, riveting murder trials and glamorous and lavish lifestyles. In fact, for every lawyer that spends most of his time in court, there are many others who rarely see a courtroom! The common denominator here, however, is that all lawyers provide legal advice in some way or other, the area of law you choose to practice being the differentiator. Thanks to the popularity of courtroom dramas, you may be fairly familiar with what a criminal defence lawyer does, e.g. defending clients in court or prosecuting them on behalf of a federal, state or local government. It vastly differs from the tasks of those who venture into family, tax, intellectual property and securities law, who would focus primarily on providing legal advice and guidance on mergers & acquisitions, patent applications and initial public offerings, among other things. Regardless of your practice area, all lawyers are expected to master research, analytical, communication and writing skills. 

3. Working in a variety of settings

Throughout the course of their careers, the daily duties and responsibilities of lawyers may change depending on where they work, who they end up working for, or their work environments. By and large, lawyers are attached to law firms, where they meet with clients – usually established companies or individuals – and draw up contracts, broker settlements and oversee paralegals and other legal professionals. As a lawyer, it’s also possible that you will be representing a single client for the majority of your career as many large companies have in-house counsels to review business contracts and manage compliance issues. In a government agency, you may be tasked with drafting legal documents and developing litigation strategies against taxpayers. And if your calling is in academia, you could lecture on law at law schools.

4. Managing accompanying administrative tasks

As hard as it is to believe, being a lawyer also entails handling administrative matters pertaining to the role. The time a lawyer spends on a case needs to be noted down in order to be billable, and this includes every phone call, meeting and work done. And to make sure that you get paid on time, there will be invoices to send out. There will also be court documents to file, research papers to organize and other forms of paperwork to handle.




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