attorney | Definition

Doc's CJ Glossary by Adam J. McKee
Course: Introduction

An attorney is a person that has been appointed by another person to represent them in a legal matter; a lawyer.

An attorney, also known as a lawyer, is a professional who is authorized to practice law and provide legal advice and representation to individuals or organizations. Attorneys are typically appointed by individuals who need legal assistance in navigating the complex legal system. This can include representing clients in court, negotiating legal agreements, or providing legal advice and guidance.

To become an attorney, an individual must typically have a degree in law from an accredited institution and must pass a bar examination administered by the state in which they wish to practice. The bar exam is designed to test the individual’s knowledge of the law and their ability to apply legal principles to real-world situations. In addition to the educational and testing requirements, attorneys must also adhere to strict ethical and professional standards set by their state’s bar association.

Lawyers may specialize in a particular area of law, such as criminal law, family law, or corporate law. Some lawyers work as public defenders, providing legal representation to individuals who cannot afford to hire an attorney on their own. Others work in private practice, representing clients on a variety of legal matters, such as contract disputes, personal injury claims, or criminal defense.

They play a critical role in the legal system, helping individuals navigate complex laws and regulations and ensuring that their legal rights are protected. Lawyers must possess a wide range of skills, including critical thinking, problem-solving, and effective communication, in order to provide effective legal representation to their clients. The attorney-client relationship is built on trust and confidentiality, and attorneys are obligated to provide their clients with competent and diligent representation at all times.

In addition to their role as legal representatives, attorneys also play a key role in shaping and interpreting the law. Many attorneys work as judges, legal scholars, or lawmakers, helping to craft and enforce the laws that govern our society. Attorneys also have a duty to uphold the principles of justice and fairness and to ensure that the legal system operates in a manner that is consistent with these values.

[ Glossary ]

Last Modified: 05/04/2023

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