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general duties of a trial lawyer


Student’s name
Charles Dickens, a 19th century Victorian author and novelist, once said that “If there were no bad people, there would-be no-good lawyers.” Indeed, the place of lawyers in the society cannot be ignored. For they bear duties and responsibilities that do not just affect their professional lives, but their social lives as well. Just as a doctor wields the life of a patient in his hands, the lawyer wields more than the client’s life. He or she wields other people’s lives as well, including his own. Even property. Which is why much is expected of him. This work seeks to discuss some of the roles and duties a lawyer owes to a number of people and how best he can discharge them.[Charles Dickens Info;]
However, it is prudent to have a better understanding of who a lawyer is. Black’s Law Dictionary defines a lawyer as one who is licensed to practice law. An advocate on the other hand is regarded as a person who assists, defends, pleads or prosecutes for another.Both groups have very narrow variances and for purposes of this work, will henceforth be considered as one.[(8th Ed. 2004) 2826.] [Black’s Law Dictionary (8th Ed. 2004) 171.]
The role of a lawyer to himself
Duty of Independence: At all times, a lawyer should strive to safeguard his own personal independence so as to improve not only his confidence in himself, but those of others in him.
A lawyer also has a duty to charge. He or she should not charge exorbitant prices so as to make it difficult for him to get clients, or charge too little to sustain his career and lifestyle. No advocate is expected to agree or accept remuneration at less than that provided for by the Advocate’s Remuneration Order.[Section 3, Advocate’s Remuneration Order, 1966.]
Further, a trial lawyer has a duty to not take too many cases: A lawyer who takes too many cases runs the risk of carrying out inadequate preparation.
Duty not to expose himself or herself to litigation: The threat of litigation may play havoc with a lawyer’s practice and may also have a damaging effect to his reputation. A lawyer owes it to himself to avoid threats of litigation or act upon them in order to maintain his reputation and that of the profession.
The role of the lawyer to the court
A lawyer has a duty to present the court with well organized, well researched and well written briefs. The lawyer should avoid confusing the court with unnecessary material and disor

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