The legal system affects nearly every aspect of our society, from buying a home to crossing the street.
Lawyers form the backbone of this system, linking it to society in numerous ways. They hold positions of great responsibility and are obligated to adhere to a strict code of ethics.
Lawyers, also called attorneys, act as both advocates and advisors in our society. As advocates, they represent one of the parties in criminal and civil trials by presenting evidence and arguing in court to support their client. As advisors, lawyers counsel their clients about their legal rights and obligations and suggest particular courses of action in business and personal matters. Whether acting as an advocate or an advisor, all attorneys research the intent of laws and judicial decisions and apply the law to the specific circumstances faced by their clients. Lawyers may specialize in several areas, such as real estate, corporate, bankruptcy, probate, international, elder, or environmental law.
Although lawyers assume ultimate responsibility for legal work, they often delegate many of their tasks to paralegals. Paralegals—also called legal assistants—are continuing to assume new responsibilities in legal offices and perform many of the same tasks as lawyers. Nevertheless, they are explicitly prohibited from carrying out duties considered to be within the scope of practice of law, such as setting legal fees, giving legal advice, and presenting cases in court.
Legal services also include Court reporters who usually create verbatim transcripts of speeches, conversations, legal proceedings, meetings, and other events. Written accounts of spoken words are sometimes necessary for correspondence, records, or legal proof, and court reporters provide those accounts. And of course, the legal system also must include judges, magistrates, and other judicial workers