What Does a Lawyer Do?

Rechtsanwalt (or attorneys) are formally trained and educated in law. Depending on the legal jurisdiction, this may include bar exam study, apprenticeship and/or the completion of a Juris Doctor degree.

They are highly specialized and collaborate often with clients, other professionals, judges, police, and the public. They must have strong analytical thinking and writing skills. They are governed by strict ethical standards.
Legal Advice

Legal advice is written or oral counsel about a specific case or situation that would affect the rights and responsibilities of the person receiving the advice. Licensed attorneys with years of education and experience can give sound legal advice.

The law is complicated, and mistakes can have serious consequences such as imprisonment or financial loss. For this reason, only lawyers can provide legal advice and must carry professional indemnity insurance. Individuals who seek legal advice may contact a lawyer for consultation or go to places such as the Reddit subreddit r/legaladvice, where individuals offer their opinions and guidance on a range of topics related to law.

However, these sites should be used with caution as the moderators of these forums are not legally qualified to give legal advice. Legal professionals also use these phrases to warn non-lawyers that they are not creating an attorney-client relationship with them, and the usual guarantees of confidentiality and professionalism do not apply.

Litigation involves the legal process of resolving rights-based disputes through a court system. It covers everything from filing a lawsuit through arguments on legal motions, a discovery phase that includes formal exchanges of information, and ultimately a courtroom trial. Lawyers need to have a thorough understanding of litigation, including the statute of limitations and what it means for a plaintiff or defendant to lose their case.

It is also common for litigants to appeal a judge or jury’s decision. This can involve submitting the case to a higher court, known as a court of appeals. Appellate courts generally examine the facts and evidence of a case, and they can reverse or affirm the original ruling by the lower court. Some litigants also choose to obtain financing for their case through litigation funding. Litigation funders typically execute non-disclosure agreements that protect the confidential nature of discussions related to a potential case.

Negotiation is a non-adjudicative dispute resolution process that allows parties to craft outcomes that meet their interests. It can be used for resolving differences over such issues as a contract, a business deal or a criminal case. Negotiations can be bilateral or multilateral and may range in size from two individuals discussing the sale of a home to international negotiations between diplomats.

Skilled negotiators focus on understanding the other party’s interests and preparing to defend their own positions. They also prepare by considering what they are willing to concede and what they absolutely will not.

Lawyers representing clients in negotiations need to provide their client with facts about the case and promptly inform them of communications from opposing counsel. This includes proffered settlement terms in civil disputes or plea bargains in a criminal case. Negotiations are a voluntary process and a party can withdraw at any time. Negotiations are often less costly than litigation and faster to resolve.

During the course of a legal case, a lawyer may change their strategy or pursue a different outcome as new evidence becomes available. They may also interview witnesses, question jurors and argue their client’s case before a judge or jury.

Lawyers counsel individuals and businesses on the legal issues that arise in their business transactions, such as the negotiation and drafting of contracts; employment law; taxation; property and bailment; corporate governance and structure; and mergers and acquisitions. They may specialize in particular areas of the law or have a general practice, which enables them to handle a wide range of legal matters. They may be paid a fixed fee or bill by the hour, and they may work in private practice or for a corporation. They may be a member of a voluntary professional association.