The Attorney's Journal

The Traits Of A Successful Lawyer

American LawyerBefore we go to academic qualifications that you need to undertake, it is very important to know that academia alone will not guarantee that you will be a good lawyer. If you want to be a successful solicitor, you first must be comfortable when speaking to large groups of people including, clients, judges, juries, opposing counsel, and witness among others. Secondly you must have excellent communication skill both oral and written. Words are tools of trade of a lawyer and to be a successful one then you must ensure that you like words. Thirdly you must possess logical reasoning and critical thinking skills. Whether you are structuring a million dollar deal or developing a trial strategy, you must poses skills that will enable to always make the right decisions.

Academic Qualifications

The route to qualification is lengthy and it requires hard work and determination. Once you have completed your A levels studies, you need to join higher learning institution and enroll in law school. You will be required to take a bachelor’s degree in law doing course work for a period of four years and then spend 3 more years in law school. Before attending to law school, you will first be required to take the law school admission test (LSAT) so that both your reading and analytical skills are tested. You must ensure that you only join a law school that is approved by the American bar association (ABA). This will signify you have been trained according to the standard needed. Not all law schools have been approved by the American bar association and attending a non-ABA approved institution can significantly hinder your chances of getting employed or being licensed to practice as a lawyer.

If you would wish to specialize in specific concentration of law, you will be required to enroll in a master’s degree in law. This program usually lasts for one year and it usually focus on specialization. You may specialize in fields such as business law, international law, criminal law, industrial law among others. The requirements for enrollment may vary according to law schools but you must pass your undergraduate degree program or have years of work experience so as to enroll to a master’s degree program.


Bachelor’s degree usually take 3 years full time study or 4 years part time study to complete. During the first year of your study, you will mainly focus on general law courses such as contracts, legal writing and criminal law. During your final years, you will begin to specialize in courses such as labor law so as to get better understanding of what they entail. You will also be required to go for internship so as to put into practice what you have studied in class.

While movies like “A Few Good Men” may have glamorized the role of a military lawyer, the reality is that their job is nothing very different from a regular lawyer who works in the civil courts. As a matter of fact, they are military counterparts of the civilian lawyers who work for various firms and handle their legal matters.

If you are interested in knowing more about an army lawyer and his roles and responsibilities, here is a sneak peek into the job of a military lawyer:

  1. Military lawyers may be called upon to carry out few or all of the duties mentioned below:
  2. Provide legal advice on government real estate, patents, contracts and trademarks.
  3. Preparation of pre-trial advice in court martial cases.
  4. Take on the role of Prosecution Counsel, Defense Counsel or Judge in a Court Martial.
  5. Draft legal documents such as power of attorney and wills.
  6. Make a reasonable interpretation of directives, regulations and court decisions for the benefit of the military.
  7. Give judgments based on UCMJ or Uniform Code of Military Justice when acting as Presiding Officer in court cases.
  8.  Train and subsequently guide new military lawyers.

Protect The People

Having listed the roles that a military lawyer may have to play and responsibilities that he or she may have to shoulder, it becomes imperative to know that there are certain desirable attributes without which a military lawyer will find it difficult to discharge his or her duties effectively. They are:

  1. Effective public speaking skills.
  2. Clear and concise writing abilities.
  3. An eye for detail.
  4. Inclination towards researching and working on legal concepts.
  5. Sensitivity to the needs of others.
  6. Sense of compassion towards others.

There is no denial that these qualities are desired not only in military lawyers but also in a civilian counsel, however, the lack of them has a wider bearing on a military counsel’s reputation in the department than a non-military lawyer’s.

Examples of cases handled by Military Lawyers:

While there are several similarities in roles and responsibilities of a civilian and military lawyer, there are few differences as well. A military lawyer has to participate in various cases that may be quite different from civil ones.

Two major types of cases which a military lawyer must expect to come across are:

1. Commission or omission resulting in an offence:

The military rules have a number of offences that an army personnel may be charged with which would not ordinarily be considered an offence in the civil world. Offences different from civil cases which a military lawyer may have to deal with include overstaying on leave, desertion and insubordination by military personnel. Besides these, there are several cases which are to be dealt with in the same manner as in civil courts such as theft or murder.

2. Court-Martial

Court Martial is a unique justice imparting procedure typical to armed forces across the world. A court martial is an outcome of criminal proceedings against a person in uniform. The military attorney may be asked to represent either the branch they serve or the accused.

Military lawyers handle a wide variety of cases when compared to their civilian counterparts. While civilian attorneys specialize in a branch of law, a military attorney has a wide spectrum of roles and responsibilities. Such a generalist approach to law makes career as a military lawyer highly sought after.

Civil rights are general legislations which protect an individual from discrimination and harassment due to one’s gender, age, religion, race, sex or even disability. Civil rights include but are not limited to the right to vote, freedom of speech and the right to equal treatment in public places. When there is an alleged violation of these civil rights, therefore, the victim will be expected to file a claim in a state agency, federal agency and finally in court.

Civil rights lawyers, also identified as constitutional lawyers, are mandated and professionally qualified to handle a number of issues relating to the violation of civil rights. The scope work ranges from hate crimes and proceeds to religious as well as racial discrimination. These attorneys handle a diverse scope of issues and may therefore specialise in one area such as employment discrimination or immigration.

Education and professional qualifications

Military JusticeThere is a minimum threshold that one must meet in terms of education in order to start practicing law as a constitutional attorney. Besides a bachelor’s degree, a prospective civil rights attorney must enrol in an accredited law school before they get admission to a bar association in a state of their choice. A focused student should as well get admitted to a Federal state court or the Supreme Court of the United States. This is highly recommended because in most cases, the attorneys will be arguing cases in these same courts.

While some students will go for a Master of Laws degree, a good number seeks professional certification from accredited organizations such as the American Bar association. A number of skills go into moulding an all-round constitutional lawyer. He or she must possess verbal and written communication skills besides a practical understanding of constitutional law and all technicalities involved in handling civil rights claims.

How civil rights lawyers offer help

Once civil rights are violated, everyone has a right to representation by a qualified lawyer in court. Some issues may not be solved locally by deliberating with the person or institution that was involved in violation. In this case, filing a claim remains the only solution. Even so, legal action relating to matters of civil rights is utterly expensive and sometimes used as the last option. During the initial appointment and assessment of the matter, civil rights lawyers will not charge any fee. If you are a victim, they will weigh the case and advise you on the winning odds before they go ahead to file the claim as expected.

The same procedure applies for the accused, whereby the civil rights attorneys gather information and fight to prove that you have not violated anyone’s rights and if the opposite is true, they fight to establish some justification. These attorneys will therefore handle the following areas in general:

  • Hate crimes
  • Police misconduct
  • Citizenship and immigration issues
  • Protection of privacy issues
  • Discrimination
  • Harassment issues
  • Issues of fair housing

In summary, every human being is entitled to legal representation when their civil rights are violated. This makes it a very lucrative profession for prospective lawyers and a helping hand to people and institutions which require legal representation.

The Joys Of Being A Trademark Lawyer

A trademark lawyer is a lawyer who is trained and qualified to practice and offer legal advice and representation in matters that involve trademarks. Trademarks are basically words, phrases or symbols that are used by a legal entity for the purposes of identifying its products. trademark-registrationThe main responsibility of a trademark lawyer is to handle applications involving trademarks. However, his/her duties are not restricted to matters trademark as he may handle many other tasks. Additionally, in the event of a trademark infringement, it is the duty of a trademark lawyer to take care of the litigation process.

Besides dealing with trademarks a trademark attorney can also represent a client in a case dealing with service marks. A service mark is the same as a trademark the only difference being that it is used to identify services and not products.

Other responsibilities of a trademark lawyer include but are not limited to ensuring proper registration of an application with the relevant registration authorities nationally or internationally. Under this circumstance, the attorney is tasked with the responsibility of offering legal advice to his clients on the chances of the application being registered as a trademark. In addition to that, the attorney also advices the client on the risks and benefits of acquiring and registering a trademark. Also, in case the trademark has the potential of violating any other person’s or entity’s rights, the lawyer will make it known to the client.

More often than not, trademark lawyers usually specialize in specific industries. For instance, you may find an attorney who only specializes in the insurance industry while a different attorney may choose to concentrate on technology. This is because specializing in a particular industry makes it possible for the lawyer to acquire thorough knowledge of the industry thus making it easier for him to present a strong case when filing an application.

When an infringement occurs, a trademark lawyer may represent the defendant or the plaintiff depending on who filed the case. Here, he is tasked with the responsibility of critically analyzing the evidence before him for the purposes of building a theory on behalf of the client. Also, he may be required to file any necessary paperwork with the court as and when needed. Other duties include finding and interviewing any available witnesses if any. In the event that the case goes to full trial, the lawyer will represent his client in court throughout the litigation process. In cases where there is an out-of-court settlement, the attorney will facilitate all the negotiations on behalf of his client.

The duties and responsibilities of a trademark attorney are, however, not limited to trademarks. Trademarks lawyers also have skills in matters dealing with different areas of intellectual property law including patents and copyrights. When dealing with copyrights, the attorney may represent his/her client to ensure he/she acquires full rights over his/her piece of work such as art, music, book or recording. On the other hand, when dealing with issues relating to patents, it is the responsibility of the attorney to ensure that the client receives all the rights over his/her invention.



What Is A Toxic Torts Lawyer

Toxic torts are legal claims for harms that are caused by exposure to dangerous substances such as pesticides, pharmaceutical drugs and chemicals. These harms are currently on the rise mainly due to the advances in technology, medicine and manufacturing that have introduced many new products to the market. Some of these products don’t undergo the necessary tests resulting to serious illness. This has led to toxic tort litigation or lawsuits by individuals who have been harmed by dangerous substances. Such people may be represented by a toxic torts lawyer to make sure they get compensated.

Claims and defenses

The claims are usually brought on behalf of a group of people as a class action lawsuit.Toxic barrel The group is represented by a lawyer who alleges the exposure to a dangerous substance and the harm it caused. An example of class action law suit is where a toxic torts lawyer represents a group of workers who alleges exposure to poisonous materials like asbestos while on the job. The lawyer goes through the issues raised by the group and prepares to handle their case.

Types of lawsuits handled by toxic torts lawyers

Occupational exposure: This is a type of exposure where industrial workers are exposed to harmful substances at lower levels for an extended period or at high levels over a short period.

Consumer products: It arises when people use a given product such as pesticides that cause unintended illness.

Exposure at home: It arises after people ingest or breathe toxic substances in their homes. An example is mold exposure.

Pharmaceutical drugs: It occurs when pharmaceutical drugs cause unintended side-effects. Some of the drugs that have been a subject of toxic litigation include antidepressants such as Prozac and Zoloft.

Role of the lawyer

The lawyer guides the plaintiffs throughout the hearing. Their advice varies depending on the legal theories involved. The lawyer guides the plaintiff on how to prove that he was exposed to a toxic substance that harmed him. The defendants on the other hand often mount a vigorous defense and can poke holes in the case if the plaintiff fails to provide all the necessary elements of his claims. The toxic torts lawyers are aware of this and they try all they can to make sure their client wins the case. At times they help the plaintiff present a more procedure-based evidence to make it hard for the defense to poke any hole.

Special issues handled by a toxic torts lawyer

Each toxic case is unique and the way of handling it depends on the way plaintiffs were exposed, the toxin involved and the alleged harm. Nevertheless, there are some common special issues that may crop up and demand the attention of a lawyer. Some of these issues include

Stale evidence: It is common where a lawsuit is brought many years after the initial exposure to the toxic substance. The lawyer helps the plaintiff in getting the previous documents related to the original exposure to present reliable evidence.

Proving causation: It is difficult to trace source of the toxic substance that caused the harm and most illness due to toxic substances take a long time to manifest. The lawyer relies on scientific evidence in this case to win the case.