Hiring an Attorney

An attorney, also known as an “attorney-at-law,” is a legal professional that has passed the bar exam. This allows them to practice law in court and take part in other legal proceedings, as well as give specific legal advice for individuals or businesses.

Following law school, an individual must pass the bar exam and undergo a character evaluation in order to become an attorney. This ensures that attorneys are upholding ethical standards and adherence to the law. Click the to know more.

When a person hires an attorney, she is hiring that attorney to represent her in a legal matter. Representation may take many forms, from full service representation in a single case to consultation and advice on general legal issues. In a full service representation, the lawyer is responsible for drafting and filing legal documents, court appearances, motions, pleas and other tasks that arise during the course of the case. In some cases, the attorney is hired to do only some of these services. The scope of the representation is usually set forth in an engagement letter between the lawyer and the client, or made explicit during the initial consultation.

A written contract between attorney and client sets out the essential terms of the representation, such as the fee arrangement (hourly rate, flat fee, or contingency fee). The contract should also include provisions regarding whether paralegals or other associates will be involved in the case and their rates, if any. Having this contract in place is important to establish accountability and transparency between the attorney and the client. It can also prevent disputes over misunderstandings or forgotten details in the future.

The first point of contact for a prospective client is often the office receptionist or designated staff member. It is important that this person is courteous and professional in the manner they treat a caller or an email, and that they ask the right questions to determine if a potential client even needs a consultation. Generally, it is a good idea to have the prospective client complete a consultation form so that all relevant information can be collected and screened for conflicts before the consultation.

Lawsuits can be complex, and it is common for attorneys to have a specialized practice area in which they are experts. In some cases, however, a person or business tries to handle a lawsuit on their own, known as pro se representation. This can be a huge mistake, because there are many legal nuances and technicalities that a person who is not a lawyer is not equipped to understand and overcome.

Legal Advice

Legal advice is the opinion of an attorney concerning a specific legal issue. This advice can include how to proceed in a particular situation, possible outcomes, the legal basis for these outcomes, an estimate of the time it will take to complete the work and how much the legal work will cost. It can also include the advice that the client should seek other legal counsel or other professionals. Legal advice can be provided for a fee or for free.

Only licensed attorneys can provide legal advice. This is because of the serious consequences that can occur when someone provides bad legal advice, such as going to jail or losing substantial amounts of money. Unlike other professionals who may be qualified to provide legal information, such as accountants or complementary professions, only lawyers are trained in a specific way to understand the law and how it applies to the unique facts of your case.

Often times, the difference between legal information and legal advice is unclear to those outside of the law profession. This can create confusion and misguided actions. For example, some people might think that they should avoid speaking to a lawyer because they can find a lot of information online about their legal situation. However, the prevailing understanding is that only a licensed attorney can provide legal advice and this can only be done when there is an attorney-client relationship.

There are some states that offer free legal advice through local and statewide court-sponsored remote self-help centers, such as ABA Free Legal Answers. These programs increase access to legal help for people who do not have the resources to hire a lawyer or who are unable to afford full representation. These programs are designed to meet the needs of different types of legal issues and are designed to provide brief advice and counseling.

The program provides access to legal information and basic legal advice for non-criminal legal matters from a volunteer lawyer. The organization is grateful for the support of its donors, including Baker Donelson. Their investments include strategic leadership, web development and technology services, annual financial contributions and attorney volunteers to provide legal information and advice through the program.

Legal Documents

Legal documents are one of the backbones of our society, establishing the rules and responsibilities that govern us both in our personal and professional lives. They help ensure fairness, mitigating risk, and order in our relationships and transactions by providing binding promises and agreements that can be enforced if violated. But the drafting of legal documents is complex, with every word and clause having significant importance that requires careful consideration to avoid ambiguity.

The drafting of legal documents is an art, requiring years of education and practice to master. A properly drafted legal document can minimize risks by establishing liability limitations, indemnification provisions, and dispute resolution mechanisms. It can also protect interests by ensuring that rights and obligations are clearly defined, leaving no room for misinterpretation or disputes.

While there are numerous types of legal documents, the most common include contracts, agreements, and forms. Contracts are legally binding arrangements that outline agreed terms in various transactions, such as employment or service agreements, real estate leases and purchases, and loan applications. They can also be used in the context of a will or trust to specify how assets should be distributed after death.

A legal agreement can be written or verbal, and the terms can vary widely depending on the context. Generally, the document must be signed by the parties to be legally effective. This is why legal documents must be carefully crafted and reviewed by legal professionals before being finalized.

Some documents are considered attorney work-product and are protected under attorney-client privilege, including outlines or drafts, internal communications, memoranda, research, and handwritten notes. This privilege does not apply to general correspondence, however, unless the communication is intended to be confidential and pertains to a matter that the client is seeking advice on or assistance with.

Legal documents are meticulously drafted by lawyers to ensure accuracy and precision, and they adhere to strict protocols to prevent ambiguity. They are also typically highly structured, with a preamble, definitions section, and clauses that establish specific rights and obligations. By creating these structured and detailed documents, lawyers can provide peace of mind to their clients by ensuring that their interests are protected at all times.


Depending on the type of case, how long it will take to resolve and how complex the legal issues are, attorney fees can vary significantly. An attorney’s education, experience and specialization also influence his or her fees. Attorneys with a higher level of education and experience usually charge more.

In some cases, attorneys may charge a percentage of the value of your potential settlement or verdict. For example, if you have a million dollar case and your lawyer’s contingency fee is 25 percent, the attorney will make $250,000 on the case. If the case settles for less than that amount, the attorney will earn much less and will lower their fee.

Attorneys sometimes ask for a fee deposit, called an advance or retainer, at the initial conference. This money is placed into a special bank account that the attorney maintains for client funds, known as a trust account. Depending on the attorney and the terms of the agreement, this deposit may be refundable or not. Often, the unused portion of a fee deposit will be used to pay for expenses and costs associated with your case.

In other cases, a court will award an attorney’s fee to a successful litigant. A judge will consider a number of factors when setting this fee, including the results obtained by the litigant and what an attorney with similar skill would charge in that community.

It is important for a client to discuss his or her budget with the attorney from the outset. This will help prevent misunderstandings and disagreements in the future.

Attorneys sometimes charge additional fees for other services, such as obtaining documents and records and payment for expert witnesses. These fees are not included in the lawyer’s base rate or hourly fee. Some attorneys will cover these costs, some will split them with the client and some will require that the client pay them if the case is unsuccessful and does not result in compensation.