What lawyers do

If you’re thinking of going to law school and becoming a lawyer, or are simply wondering what lawyers do:

A lawyer takes a set of facts, identifies issues, figures out which rules and legal precedents apply, then uses logical reasoning to reach a conclusion, usually in the form of a decision (if you’re a judge) or arguing what the decision should be (if you’re an advocate).

Law is found in basically two places, common law and statutes. Common law is created by judges and found in precedential court decisions. Statutory law is created by legislative bodies. Over the last century, a lot of common law has been displaced by statutory law, and an awful lot of American law today is legislated law; but common law is still important in certain areas such as torts and contracts.

That’s about it.

Oh yeah, one more thing before I forget: Anything legal in nature is always more complicated than can be stated in a brief summary. And American judges and lawyers don’t drape floor mops on their pates and wear garish robes; that’s a British Empire thing.

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  1. Mark Adams #

    Unless you are in Louisiana. A place where judges can rule based on their interpretation of the law.

  2. Mark Adams #

    Of course attorneys in the US tend to specialize. A good general attorney is great for most things, and most can handle more with research, but of course there is always maritime law.

  3. Roger Rabbit #

    Maritime law is glorified personal injury practice that pays better.

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