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A. In most cases a lawyer can help you to understand the legal process better and get better results for you than if you went to court by yourself. Every lawyer in the State of Illinois has at least a bachelor’s degree plus a law degree obtained in post-graduate study, has passed the Illinois Bar Exam, and is licensed by the State of Illinois. Many also belong to professional organizations such as the Champaign County Bar Association to help them stay current on the latest developments in the law Keep in mind that the other party to the dispute usually has a lawyer. Judges are prohibited by law from giving legal advice to either party.
A. These vary depending on what you and your lawyer agree to, but basically lawyers charge by the hour, by a set rate, or on a contingent basis. Hourly fees tend to be for divorce and criminal matters. Set rates are often used for transactions of short duration, such as drafting a will, attending a real estate closing, or filing for bankruptcy. Contingent fees are commonly used in cases involving personal injuries or workers compensation. These are different than the first two types because contingent fees are paid to the lawyer for his or her services only if the client is successful in his or her case. The fees are based upon a percentage of the recovery. However, win or lose you might still be responsible for paying the lawyer’s out-of-pocket expenses for items like court reporters and medical records.
A. Wear your best clothing to show the judge that you are taking your legal matters seriously.
A. Bring whatever your lawyer tells you to; typically this list includes receipts, cancelled checks, photographs, and contracts. Please note that cell phones are often prohibited by the court. Call or check the court’s website or ask your lawyer about the court’s phone policy.
A. Because a democracy depends on its citizens’ participation. Doing so will help you understand the justice system better. Soldiers have died or been injured in wars to preserve this right. Lastly, if you have your own case in court for jury trial, you would appreciate the conscientious participation of your neighbors in the jury trial process
A. In Illinois, state judges consist of two types at the trial level. Circuit Judges are elected to their first term by the public and thereafter run for retention on their record every six years. Associate Judges are appointed by the Circuit Judges are appointed by the Circuit Judges and hold their office for four years.
For further information about specific areas of the law, you can contact the Illinois State Bar Association (ISBA). The ISBA has published a series of pamphlets with information on how a lawyer can help you in many different situations.
Illinois State Bar Association Publications