Attorneys-at-law are persons who are licensed to practice law within a given geographical jurisdiction. The types of legal services provided by an attorney may vary, with many attorneys choosing to focus his or her practice on a particular portion of law. Still, there are some basic functions that help to define lawyers no matter which type of law practice they choose to embrace. Here are a few of the actions that all attorneys utilize in their practice of law.
One of the primary responsibilities of an attorney is to act as the advocate for the client. This involves providing legal counsel that will help serve the best interests of any person or entity that engages legal services. At the same time, the aim of the attorney is to present the case of the client to the legal system in such a way that the best possible resolution available under the law is reached. This dual purpose is best served by an attorney who obtains full disclosure from the client, and couples that with a strong working knowledge of the law. When these two elements are combined, the chances for equity and justice to emerge are greatly enhanced.
The attorney is often expected to excel in a given area of the law. For example, an attorney may choose to focus on criminal law, while another attorney chooses to build a practice around family law. This degree of specialization helps to make it easy for clients to find the laywers who have a solid knowledge that will prove helpful with a given set of circumstances. While countries such as the United States tend to classify all practitioners of law under the title of attorney, some countries have developed a tradition of creating titles that help to identify the area of expertise. The use of the terms of barrister and solicitor in the United Kingdom is one example of designation based on function.
In many situations, the work of an attorney has to do with helping to arrange the affairs of private citizens. Persons go to an attorney to create a will, and often rely on the attorney to make sure the will is probated at the proper time. An attorney is also often required to make temporary arrangements, such as creating powers of attorney, establishing a bankruptcy for a client, or creating a trust fund for a loved one.
An attorney may be called upon to draft business contracts, rental contracts, or employee contracts for businesses. In the event of the sale or merger of a company, the attorney will be on hand to draft documents required to acknowledge the sale and complete the transfer of assets in an orderly fashion. The attorney will ensure that all things are done in a manner that fully complies with the laws that govern the transactions, so there is no question about the legality of the actions.
In short, the work of the attorney can be summed up as making sure that any and all transactions, whether personal or business related, are conducted in a manner that is in full agreement with the laws of the land, and can be considered proper and binding. All the while, the attorney works to ensure that the best interests of the client, and the letter and intent of the law, are observed and respected.