(redirected from defense lawyer)
Also found in: Dictionary, Thesaurus, Encyclopedia, Wikipedia.


A person, who through a regular program of study, is learned in legal matters and has been licensed to practice his or her profession. Any qualified person who prosecutes or defends causes in courts of record or other judicial tribunals of the United States, or of any of the states, or who renders legal advice or assistance in relation to any cause or matter. Unless a contrary meaning is plainly indicated this term is synonymous with attorney, attorney at law, or counselor at law.

Each of the 50 states employs admissions committees or boards to review the backgrounds of prospective attorneys before they are admitted to practice. Each state also has adopted codes of conduct or disciplinary rules and has appointed adjudicative boards to address Attorney Misconduct. But these measures only weed out or discipline those who have violated laws or those who are otherwise unfit to practice law. They have done little to address the day-to-day civility and conduct of attorneys in their practice. In that regard, the behavior and conduct of peers and colleagues within the profession often impose more palpable influences on newly practicing attorneys than any standards or codes of ethics that they may have learned in law school.

A focus of a new movement in several states is not only to crack down on professional misconduct per se, but also to stem borderline conduct before it becomes an ethical violation. U.S. Supreme Court Chief Justice william rehnquist, addressing new graduates from the University of Virginia School of Law in June 2001, remarked that incivility remained one of the greatest threats to the ideals of American justice and to the public's trust in the law. The conduct of former president bill clinton was considered to have seriously contributed to the harming of public confidence and trust in the legal profession because of his subjective approach to answering questions under oath and other improprieties associated with the legal aspects of his administration.

The American Bar Association (ABA) and lawyers' groups in more than a dozen states have joined in the movement to improve not only civility and courtesy among lawyers, but also the public's perception of the profession. Ultimately, the goal of these efforts is to ensure that attorneys have an unequivocal, current, and realistic standard of conduct and ethics to rely upon as a valid guide for their profession.

West's Encyclopedia of American Law, edition 2. Copyright 2008 The Gale Group, Inc. All rights reserved.

LAWYER. A counselor; one learned in the law. Vide attorney.

A Law Dictionary, Adapted to the Constitution and Laws of the United States. By John Bouvier. Published 1856.
References in periodicals archive ?
For example, suppose that an insured sued in connection with an automobile accident tells the defense lawyer that he lied about the number of children he had when applying for insurance.
When Excluded from Settlement Functions, a Defense Lawyer Should Offer Impartial Assessments of Trial Outcomes
Some defense lawyers also asked that the procedure for the first 16 defendants be separated.
But the defense lawyers of members of Hezbollah accused of complicity in the attack sought to discredit the testimony of MP Marwan Hamade, Hariri's former economy minister, saying he was politically biased and believed in the guilt of the suspects without the benefit of a fair trial.
Gardner's personal feelings on criminal defense lawyers were captured in the Perry Mason novel The Case of the Drowsy Mosquito, in which Mason answers criticism that he "sticks up" for criminals: "I have never stuck up for any criminal.
And, to the extent there may be truth in it, that's all the more reason for defense lawyers to join the ISBA and make their voices heard and their votes count.
On Tuesday, a defense lawyer said Duch will ask for forgiveness from the victims, likely during the trial.
One friend, under cross-examination by defense lawyer Stephanie Page, acknowledged that Rachel had complained that they had no privacy for having sex in her mother's house.
Prosecutors already have turned over to defense lawyers about 25,000 pages of evidence, reports and information about the specific case and about Courtney's background, he said.
But when an enterprising journalist, through the Freedom of Information Act, got the clemency memos Bush's then legal counsel Alberto Gonzales actually put before him, they were extremely cursory and routinely rehashed prosecution arguments, leaving out issues of potential innocence raised by defense lawyers. They would just have a pro forma 15- to 30-minute meeting.
* Has the issue of who a defense lawyer represents been decided as a matter of law in my state?
I lose myself in my feelings about the client, the facts, the defense lawyer, and my ego.

Full browser ?