LAWYERS AND LITIGANTS
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Prosecuting and defense attorneys (criminal)
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Plaintiffs’ and defense attorneys (civil)
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Groups and individuals represented
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Laws created and administered by tribal leaders
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Informal and ad hoc decision-making
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Lack of court systems and attorneys
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Cases presented by orators
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Advanced agrarian and early industrial societies
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Emergence of police, judge, and attorney roles
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Attorneys trained through tutelage and apprenticeships
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U.S. system mirrored British system
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Emergence of law schools in late 1700’s and early 1800’s
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Institutionalized and formal legal training
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University education required
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Bar exam must be passed for law license
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200 ABA-accredited law schools
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38 unaccredited law schools
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Attorneys find employment in a wide variety of settings
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Practicing Attorneys
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74% in private practice
Government agencies or private industry
Judges and legal educators
Legal aid or public defenders
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Nationwide trend toward larger firms
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Appealing earning potential
 Variation based upon location, firm size, field of law
 Median salary is $110,590
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Large demand for attorneys and legal services
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2,344 prosecutors offices
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78,000 employees nationwide
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Represent the people of the state in some
misdemeanor and all felony criminal cases
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Variance in title and job responsibilities
Represent the people in bringing charges against
criminal defendants
Responsibilities
 Receive cases from law enforcement
 Review cases for legal sufficiency
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Case screening
Area of tension between law enforcement and prosecutors
Advise grand jury
Try criminal cases throughout all stages of judicial proceedings
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U.S. Department of Justice and Attorney General
 Cases from the District of Columbia
 Cases from the Office of Civil Rights
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United States Attorneys
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Handle most federal prosecutorial work
Appointed by the President and confirmed by the Senate
Serve at the pleasure of the President and Attorney General
Responsibilities
 Prosecution of cases brought by the U.S. government
 Handle civil cases in which the federal government is a party
 Collect administratively uncollectable debts owed to the government
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Counsel clients
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Develop legal strategies
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Act as mediator and negotiator
 Judges
 Clients
 Prosecuting attorneys
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Give case appraisals
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Promote justice
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Less appealing clientele
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Potential for poor reputation
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Wide variety of compensation
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Lower pay than civil attorneys
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Stratification
 Law firm
 Practice
 Background
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Guaranteed by the 6th Amendment
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Extends only to criminal cases
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Applicable to the states (Powell)
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Applies to all felony cases (Gideon)
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Applies to all cases where there is a possibility of
incarceration (Argersinger)
Applies at all critical stages of criminal proceedings
(United States v. Wade)
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Private Retention
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Public Defenders
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Voucher Systems
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Assigned Counsel
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Contract Systems
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Legal Clinics
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Legal Aid Societies
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Attorney is selected by the defendant
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Expenses are paid out of pocket
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Used by those with financial resources
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Government attorneys provide legal services to indigent
defendants
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Criteria for eligibility
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Income level
Public assistance
Ability to post bond
Federal poverty guidelines
Judge’s discretion
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State and federal public defenders
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Features
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Smaller office staff
Recent law school graduates
High rate of attorney turnover
Little difference in case outcome
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Indigent defendants are issued a voucher worth a
certain amount
Defendant selects an attorney who will accept the
voucher
Gives the defendant the ability to choose their own
attorney
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Dominant form of legal defense
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Case appointment from a list of private attorneys
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Attorneys paid a flat fee or by billable hours
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Variety in quality of representation
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Panel attorneys are utilized in federal courts
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Attorneys contract with a funding source
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Provide court-appointed legal representation
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Either stand-alone systems or in conjunction with
public defender
Handle overflow or conflict cases for public
defender
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Operate within law schools
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Second and third year students represent clients
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Selected legal matters
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Cases are supervised
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Coordinate time donated by lawyers
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Pro bono legal work
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Concern with undermining other lawyers’ earnings
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No evidence that one method of selection is better than
another
Little difference in case outcome for appointed or privately
retained attorneys
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No definite criteria for attorney competence
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Factors for attorney competence assessment
 Defendant must be able to point to a specific procedural error
 The action or failure to act must prejudice the case’s outcome
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More appealing cases
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More financially rewarding
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Frequency with which parties appear in court
 One-shotters: litigants that file suit once or very
infrequently
 Repeat players: litigants that frequently have business in
court and file lawsuits often
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Number of parties involved in the dispute