Who is a Lawyer?
A lawyer is a person who, because of his or her
high ethical standards and knowledge gained
through education and experience, meets the re-
quirements of a state regulatory body and receives
a license to practice law in that state.
A lawyer serves both as an advocate and as an
advisor. Our courts operate under an adversary
system I which the parties to any case, civil or crim-
inal, are entitled to have their positions advocated
by lawyers. As offi cers of the court, lawyers assist
in the administration of justice, while advocating
their clients’ positions through legal pleadings, pro-
cedures and rules of evidence, and written and oral
arguments, in order to assure application of the ap-
propriate law. As an advisor, the lawyer counsels
clients in avoiding adverse legal consequences of
contemplated actions, drafts documents to achieve
desired results while complying with applicable
laws and regulations, and advises clients about
their rights and obligations in dealing with others.
In addition, a lawyer should render public inter-
est legal service. This includes providing services at
no charge or a reduced charge to persons of limited
means, or to charitable or public service organiza-
tions, participating in civil activities, and taking
part in projects for improving our legal system and
the legal profession.
Many people think all lawyers are trial lawyers.
This is the way lawyers are usually depicted in
movies and on television. In reality, most lawyers
spend a small part of their time in the courtroom.
They consult with clients and opponents; take de-
positions; research legal issues; prepare contracts,
deeds, title opinions and other documents; mediate
and negotiate settlements; write laws; and engage
in other noncourtroom activities. Areas of practice,
too numerous to list, include everything from ad-
miralty to zoning. Some lawyers work in govern-
mental positions, teach or become judges. Others
do not practice law at all; they use their legal skills