Unlike the United Kingdom, the United States does not distinguish between lawyers and their division into categories of powers. At the same time, there is a specialization of lawyers on certain issues, as well as on types of activity.
According to the American Bar Association in 2020, 1.3 million lawyers were registered in America.
In the United States, the Bar is governed by custom, case law, and corporate rules.
What you need to do to get the right to practice law:
To be eligible to practice as a law, most states require exams organized by the courts. A graduate of a law school, along with a diploma and degree, does not automatically acquire the right to practice law. For example, a person from Oklahoma must take the Oklahoma bar exam to get the right to practice law. A person who is admitted to practice law after exams then is entitled to appear in all courts of that state (patent). A lawyer may appear in courts in other states either after passing a new examination and obtaining the appropriate patent or authorization or in conjunction with a lawyer practicing in that state, with the consent of the presiding judge.
The principle and conditions of admission to the practice of law are usually established by the state supreme court, but the issue of admission itself is decided by a special commission for admission to the bar, formed by the state bar association. The commission decides this issue on the basis of studying the moral qualities of the candidate and the results of the exam.
To conduct cases in federal courts, a permit is required, which will automatically be issued to persons admitted to practice in the state.
State bar associations
Each state has a state bar association, which brings together attorneys, corporate lawyers, and public attorneys. Most states have compulsory association membership for all persons admitted to practice law. The Bar Association is synonymous with the bar. Bar associations exist as voluntary organizations in a small number of states, as well as in major cities and counties. The nationwide volunteer bar association is the American Bar Association, an ethics and professional development organization of its members, a legislative initiative, and a number of other important missions. This organization is a very influential political force and has over 400,000 members.
The tasks of bar associations include setting standards of professional ethics, assisting lawyers, taking disciplinary measures, developing standards for advocacy, promoting the improvement of law and justice, etc.
Activities of lawyers in the USA
In the United States, lawyers operate either independently or as part of law firms. The main but important ones in the legal services market are large (50 people and more) law firms, which, as a rule, do not deal with criminal cases, preferring to deal with cases of wealthy clients. The attorneys working for the firm fall into two categories: partners (co-owners of the firm who share the income) and employees (attorneys who receive salaries from the firm).
The US Supreme Court has adopted a number of fundamental decisions containing the interpretation of the norms of the criminal procedure nature of the US Constitution. In particular, it has been established that the accused has the right to the participation of his defense lawyer from the moment of arrest, and if the accused is unable to hire a lawyer, he has the right to free legal assistance at all important stages of the investigation and trial of the case, as well as when appealing the sentence. However, in many states, only defendants facing imprisonment or the death penalty enjoy the right to free legal aid.
Currently, in the United States, free legal aid is provided by attorneys by appointment, attorneys by contract, and public defenders.
Municipal authorities (usually in small settlements) keep records (lists) of those lawyers who, in private practice, are ready to provide their services to persons in need of protection. Such lawyers, after being interviewed by the qualification commission, are included in the lists of lawyers dealing with cases of indigent citizens, which are distributed in all courts of the given jurisdiction. For each specific case, a lawyer is chosen by the court, based on his specialization, indicated when compiling the lists. The services of a lawyer by appointment are paid through the court, in connection with which all their costs associated with the protection of the client (conducting examinations, business trips, etc.), the lawyer must agree with the court.
Participation in the case of a lawyer under the contract is ensured by the conclusion of an agreement on the payment of fees for a certain amount between the lawyer and the local authorities. The contract specifies the number of low-income clients to whom the lawyer must assist. In this case, if the agreed number is exceeded, the parties conclude a new agreement or extend the old one.
Most underprivileged criminal defendants in the United States receive free legal aid from public defender offices set up by local authorities and members of the state budget. The public defender has at his disposal a whole apparatus of employees: assistants, private detectives, clerks, stenographers, secretaries, etc.
Employees of public defenders and corporations do not receive a fee, but a salary, recruited from among admitted to practice lawyers who have passed the verification of qualification commissions created by the authority that established this department.
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