Many consumers get their information about the legal field from popular television shows or movies. While these sources might give you a glimpse into the world of an attorney, they also serve to perpetuate some common misconceptions that people have when it comes to those who work in the legal field.
Here are 3 common misconceptions you might have about lawyers.
1. Lawyers are seedy individuals.
While the media may portray lawyers as cutthroat professionals who are willing to do anything to win a case, this portrayal is not entirely accurate. Since lawyers serve as officers of the court, they are held to a higher standard when it comes to their moral conduct.
In order to become licensed to practice law, an aspiring attorney must pass a moral character test. This test delves into not only the criminal background of an individual, but their credit and employment history as well. Any applicants who do not meet minimum standards of morality can be denied a license to practice law.
2. Lawyers can never reveal information shared by a client.
Most people are familiar with the confidential nature of the lawyer-client relationship. Although it is true that an attorney is required to keep information shared with them by a client confidential, some people are surprised to find that there are exceptions to the confidentiality rule. An attorney is required to disclose information shared in confidence when the information makes it clear that the client intends to harm themselves or others.
It is interesting to note that attorney-client privilege applies even if the client does not retain the lawyer, and information must be kept confidential even when the professional relationship between an attorney and his or her client comes to an end.
3. Lawyers can accept any client who walks into their office.
Would you be surprised to discover that there are limitations when it comes to the types of clients a lawyer can represent? It seems counter-intuitive for a lawyer trying to generate profit to turn away clients, but it happens more often that you think. This is due to the fact that attorneys must not take on a case that could be a conflict of interest.
A client places a great deal of trust in their attorney, and the attorney is responsible for representing the client's interest to the best of his or her ability. Taking on a client whose interests conflict with an existing client makes it impossible for the attorney to provide proper representation for either client.
Identifying some misconceptions that exist when it comes to lawyers will help you better understand the vital role these professionals play in the legal system today.