The purpose of this page is to give consumers a brief overview of the law profession to help you make an informed decision for your legal representation.
In order to practice law in the United States, a lawyer must have completed a four-year degree and have a law degree from an accredited law school(California is a notable exception, but the non-accredited law school must meet certain requirements). A lawyer must then pass a written bar examination, and in some cases, a written ethics exam. Bar examinations do vary on a state-by-state basis. In most states, a lawyer is required to take the Multistate Bar Examination (MBE), the Multistate Essay Examination (MEE), and the Multistate Professional Responsibility Examination (MPRE) in addition to the state bar exam. Some states also require a Multistate Performance Test (MPT).
Lawyers can concentrate their practices to certain areas of law. By limiting the range of cases they handle,lawyers are able to acquire specialized knowledge and experience. However, to be certified as a specialist of a discipline, a lawyer must complete a specialty certification program accredited by the American Bar Association (ABA).The individual states regulate the lawyers in their respective states and promulgate rules of professional responsibility. These rules are subject to the United States Constitution.
Lawyers have numerous responsibilities in serving their clients. These responsibilities encompass both professional and ethical rules and codes of conduct set forth by state bar associations where the lawyers are licensed. Once licensed to practice law by their state bar association, lawyers are legally permitted offer legal advice to their clients, draft legal documents, file legal complaints, and litigate cases in state court.