Attorney, also known as attorneys-at-law in some jurisdictions, are legal experts who can represent clients in court proceedings. They may also provide counsel on other legal issues outside of the courtroom.
While the terms attorney and lawyer are often used interchangeably, they do have some important differences to understand. Here are some of the key differences:
Licensed attorneys can help individuals by giving legal advice, which is detailed information that is specific to individual situations. Legal information can be recited by anyone, but legal advice requires a lawyer to analyze a set of facts and then provide guidance on how to proceed in a given case.
A lawyer who provides legal advice will likely ask the individual questions pertinent to their situation, consult law books and previous case settlements, and research federal, state, and local laws. They may also consider the impact of the matter on the person’s future.
Legal aid organizations and the American Bar Association’s Free Legal Answers website can offer legal advice for a fee. However, these services should not be confused with a legal consultation, which is a more in-depth discussion of the law as it applies to an individual’s specific situation. In some states, the term “legal advice” is defined broadly enough to include this more in-depth discussion.
Representation in Court
Many people choose to represent themselves in court rather than hire an attorney. This is referred to as appearing “pro se.” Court staff may be available to answer procedural questions regarding your case, but they cannot give you legal advice.
To effectively represent yourself, you will need to understand the case you are involved in and be familiar with relevant laws. You will also need to create a file and complete paperwork that includes instructions similar to those found on tax forms. If you are unable to pay for representation, you may be eligible for other types of assistance.
Some attorneys charge a flat rate for a single matter, such as filings, appearances, and motions. Others charge hourly rates, contingent fees, or other amounts. Attorneys are not allowed to start a romantic relationship with their clients, and must avoid harassment during the course of their representation. If they do not meet these requirements, they may be required to withdraw or be substituted.
When a client is looking to “win”, it may not mean vindication in court through a judgment. Rather, it could be through a negotiated settlement.
A negotiated settlement is the resolution of your legal claim for money damages through an agreement between you, your lawyer, and the party who caused harm. Negotiations are almost always conducted in writing. In addition to monetary compensation, a claimant may have non-monetary demands as well. These may include a promise not to do something, removal of a nuisance, delivery of goods in partial fulfillment of breached contract, public withdrawal of a defamatory statement, or other similar items.
Preparation for settlement negotiations is critical. It is important to anticipate the other side’s arguments and prepare counter-arguments for them. It is also important to set your bottom limit. If you are not willing to accept less than a certain amount, this will help focus your negotiations. By statute, a negotiation for the purposes of settlement is a protected conversation.Anwalt