Anyone who is considering a career in law has a number of choices to make – where to take the bar, what area of law to specialize in and whether to work as a government lawyer or in private practice. For trial lawyers, the most fundamental decision is which side of the courtroom you’re going to be sitting on. Both prosecutors and defense lawyers are the major players in the trial on criminal cases. Whereas a prosecutor tries to show that the defendant is guilty, however, the defense lawyer tries to prove his innocence.
A prosecutor is responsible for prosecuting a person who is charged with a crime. In simple terms, she is responsible for gathering evidence about the crime, deciding whether there’s enough evidence to prove the case, then persuading the jury that the defendant is guilty on the basis of that evidence. A criminal defense lawyer does the exact opposite. He investigates the case on behalf of the defendant, advises the defendant on how to plead and, if necessary, represents the defendant at trial with a view to getting him acquitted.
A prosecutor is a public officer. He represents the office of the district attorney, the elected official who is in charge of criminal prosecutions within the jurisdiction and is funded by public money. Federal prosecutors are employed by the Department of Justice. A defense lawyer, on the other hand, may be a private lawyer or a public lawyer. Generally, the court will appoint a public defender if the suspect cannot pay the fees for a private attorney.
The major similarity between a defense lawyer and a prosecutor is how they got started in the legal profession. All lawyers have to complete a four-year undergraduate program followed by three years of law school to get a Juris Doctor degree. After graduating, a lawyer must pass the bar examination to get admitted to the state bar. Regardless of where you sit in the courtroom, you will have completed a minimum seven years of full-time study before you’re licensed to practice law.
The median wage for all lawyers was $118,160 per year in 2016. Expressing a salary as a median means that half of the lawyers have an income above that amount, and half have income below that amount. Public criminal lawyers tend to be paid a lower salary than private lawyers since they’re funded by the government. However, the precise amount they earn depends on their job title and experience. Here’s a breakdown of salaries for defense lawyers and prosecutors at different stages of their careers:
Criminal defense lawyer in a private firm
• 5 years experience: $80,000
• 10 years: $96,000
• 10+ years: $112,000
• 5 years experience: $52,000
• 10 years: $69,000
• 20 years: $74,000
• 20+ years: $94,000
• 5 years experience: $57,000
• 10 years: $66,000
• 20 years: $100,000
• 20+ years: $131,000
A prosecutor only works on criminal cases. A defense lawyer has the option of working on criminal or civil cases; in rare cases, she may represent clients in both arenas. Generally, a civil action begins when a plaintiff files a petition in court against a defendant. The plaintiff is usually trying to show that the defendant did something wrong such as breach of contract, and win monetary damages as compensation. It’s a civil defense attorney’s job to represent a defendant in civil litigation at every stage of the case. Unlike with a criminal case, however, the defendant must hire his own civil defense lawyer. The government will not step in if the defendant cannot afford to go to court.
A public defender investigator is a private investigator who assists public defender attorneys. State and county governments typically hire investigators to help gather and analyze evidence in criminal and civil trials. The federal government also hires public defender investigators. Some states sponsor trainee programs for aspiring investigators who wish to work in public service. The training uses a combination of classroom instruction and practical experience. Classes cover firearms, witness interviewing, and criminal investigation techniques. The application process for public defender investigator positions requires a formal exam covering these aspects
Instead of taking on private clients, a public defense investigator works on cases given to public defenders. These are attorneys who represent clients who cannot afford private legal representation. It is the job of the investigator to work with the public defender. The investigator may get some direction from the public defender, but he is largely responsible for finding the evidence the defender needs. Unlike a private practice, the investigator and the attorney do not receive their compensation from the defendant. They are both paid by the government.
Many public defender investigators have substantial law enforcement or private investigator experience. In Utah, most public defender investigators have 21 or more years of experience. In addition to their legal experience, most investigators have experience with court testimony. As prior official witnesses for a defense or prosecution, investigators are familiar with this aspect of a court proceeding. Public defender investigators know what types of witnesses are appropriate for certain cases.
A public defender investigator looks for facts that the attorney can use in the defendant’s trial. The investigator may conduct interviews with witnesses, bystanders, and individuals who know the defendant. Background checks and undercover surveillance are common activities for an investigator. Beyond searching for and gathering evidence, an investigator will help the attorney organize it. A public defender investigator may help the attorney prepare legal documents, such as subpoenas. The investigator also must carefully document whatever evidence he finds, allowing an attorney to effectively use it in court.
The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics states that the average annual salary for detectives and criminal investigators was $75,720, as of May 2011. Investigators working for local governments earned an average salary of $62,900. Those working for state governments earned slightly less, with an average salary of $59,390. Investigators working in the federal executive branch earned the most. The average annual salary for federal detectives and criminal investigators was $96,680.
The role of a lawyer in the society is to listen to your problem mainly, give you legal advice and discuss your options. They will also take instructions on what direction you want to take and help you understand how the law applies to your case. The lawyer can even represent you if you go to court.
• Follow Instructions: Your lawyer should be able to listen to you and the instructions about what legal problem you have and then carry out the instructions that are given. It is very important that you are very honest with your lawyer as their advice will mainly depend on the information that you give them. After listening to you, your lawyer should be able to give you the proper advice that you will need, and as much as sometimes it may be difficult for the lawyer to give you legal advice straight away, you will have to understand all that is at stake first. They have to do some extensive research and give you the advice that will be the right one to be able to pursue the right direction. Your lawyer must give you all the options that are available, and in most cases, it is advisable to take the advice your lawyer will give you because it is normally most likely it is always the best option. However, the final decision is always yours, whatever you will do will be your decision. If you do not understand what they have told you then you should tell them that you do not understand and that they should explain the situation properly until you know. While your lawyer must act on your instructions, it is also a legal procedure that they primarily follow your instructions even when they do not agree with your decision because that is what they are required to do. Your lawyer also has an ethical obligation not to mislead the court or waste the court’s time.
• Avoid Conflict of Interest: A lawyer cannot work for you if they acted for the other person or have been involved in the past and they have confidential information about them that might negatively affect their interests. It can also be a problem if they are acting for the other person or people involved and they may not be able to act in the best interests of you both because that will be a conflict of interest. If your interests and that of your lawyer clash then there would be a problem because a case cannot go through.
• Duty of care to client: A Lawyer should ensure that the interests of the client are not in any manner hurt by his act or omissions. He must also defend a person accused of a crime, regardless of his personal opinion as to the guilt of the accused and must not abuse or take advantage of the confidence reposed in him by the client.
• No Collusion: This is duty of a Lawyer that he should not do collusion that is advocate should not do conspiracy with the opposite side.
A Lawyer should not meet with opposition parties with aim of doing conspiracy.
A Lawyer should not give any such advice knowingly that could effect negatively.
A Lawyer should not accept gifts, fees from opposition party. Or should not disclose any week point of his client with the opposition.
• Don’t disclose professional communication: It is another duty of a Lawyer that whatever talks and other documents are provided by the client to the advocate, the advocate should not show/provide those to the opposition party to create conspiracy.
• No transaction with the property of the Client: It is the legal binding on the Lawyer that he cannot do any transaction with the disputed property. Thus he should not buy/sell the property, which is involved in a case.
• Fees should be reasonable: It is the duty of the Lawyer that he should not charge arbitrary fees from his/her clients, that mean he should tack reasonable fees from his client.
• No fraud with the client: It is the duty of Lawyer that, the money that the court gives in the name of the client must be provided to the client and under no conditions should be kept by the advocate.
• Good behavior with the Client: The client should be treated nicely by the Lawyers. Lawyer should try best to get justice to the client. He should advice client properly and in a proper way.
• Other Duties: There are many other duties of Lawyer towards client apart from the above mentioned duties.
He should not use undue influence over his client.
He shouldn’t present false and forged documents
Lawyers should try to solve the disputes by compromise.
Lawyers should try his best to give him justice
How to Choose the Right Lawyer
The first step in the process of choosing the right lawyer, then, is the research phase. Ideally, you want to start with the names of several lawyers, and, as with the purchase of most other services, personal referrals are often the best place to start. Begin compiling your list by asking friends, neighbors, and business associates for recommendations. State bar associations are also good resources for finding lawyers who practice in the field in which you require assistance. Online resources can be another good source, and many such resources have the added benefit of offering consumer reviews, so you can see how other people have rated their interactions with a particular attorney.
How Do You Know If Your Attorney Is Good?
Once you’ve compiled a list of potential attorneys, you can begin the evaluation process. Most lawyers offer a free initial consultation, and, as an informed consumer, you should take full advantage of these. Be prepared with a written list of questions, and make notes during the consultation, so you can later compare the lawyers on your list. Important questions to ask during this initial consultation include the following:
Area(s) of expertise: You want to make sure that the lawyer you hire has experience in the area of law in which you require assistance. There are many practice areas in the legal field, and most lawyers tend to handle cases in specific practice areas.
Potential costs: Legal advice can become quite costly, so it’s important that you know how much your lawyer will charge you. During the initial consultation, a lawyer should be able to give you a ballpark estimate, based on the facts of your case.
The legal team: Some lawyers work by themselves, while others have paralegals on their team or outsource some of the legal work to other lawyers. You want to make sure you know who will be handling your file, as this can have an impact on both the quality of the service you receive and the cost.
Communication: How does the lawyer communicate with his or her clients? If you have a question, how should you be getting in touch with them? What is their response time like? While every lawyer will most likely be handling several cases at a time, your case is a priority for you, and you need to make sure the lawyer you hire recognizes this and communicates with you in a timely manner.
Finally, in addition to getting answers to questions like these, you also want to make sure you and the attorney you retain are a good fit when it comes to personality. Ask yourself, do I feel at ease with this lawyer? Will I feel comfortable asking him or her questions and bringing up issues that concern me? When you’ve selected the attorney you think will be a good fit, it’s a good idea to call the organization in your state that handles attorney disciplinary matters to make sure the lawyer you’ve chosen has not been the subject of any disciplinary actions. In most states, this organization will be the state bar association, but it can vary, depending on your state. Once you’ve completed this assessment process, you should have the answers you need to help you choose the right lawyer for your particular situation.
When you need a lawyer in 84084, please call Ascent Law LLC for your free consultation (801) 676-5506. We want to help you.
8833 S. Redwood Road, Suite C
West Jordan, Utah
84088 United States
Telephone: (801) 676-5506