As an advisor, an attorney provides the client with an informed understanding of their legal rights and obligations, and explains the practical implications of these. This is governed by Rule 1.18, which outlines the disclosure of information related to the representation of a client during the representation. In the United States, criminal proceedings are initiated by the government, usually through the U. S.
Attorney's Office in coordination with a law enforcement agency. Complaints of criminal conduct must be filed with local police, the FBI, or other appropriate law enforcement agency. Bankruptcy filing fees vary depending on the chapter of the bankruptcy code under which the application is filed; Chapter 7 is by far the most common form filed by individuals and involves an almost complete liquidation of assets, as well as forgiveness of most debts. In most districts, local bar associations or similar groups offer lawyer referral services at no cost.
The district court clerk's office should be able to connect you with this service; many secretariats have also developed information packages that explain filing procedures and list sources of legal assistance. Clerk's office staff and other federal court employees are prohibited from providing legal advice to individual litigants. Defendants in criminal proceedings have the right to a lawyer and, under the Criminal Justice Act (CJA), to have a lawyer appointed by the government if they cannot obtain adequate representation from a private lawyer from a financial point of view. The CJA, established in Title 18 of the U.
Code, Section 3006A, requires the court to determine that a person is financially eligible for court-appointed counsel. The court may determine that the defendant partially qualifies for a court-appointed lawyer and order them to contribute to the cost of representation; this lawyer can be a private lawyer or one who works for a federal defense organization. There is no right to free legal aid in civil proceedings; some litigants act pro se, representing themselves in court. Your lawyer is your best resource when it comes to understanding local court practice. Generally, all documents filed with a court are public records and are available in the clerk's office; some documents are sealed by special court order and others are confidential by law, such as grand jury materials and criminal files related to minors. Many bankruptcy and appellate courts also have telephone information systems which allow callers to obtain basic information about their case using a touch-tone telephone; these systems are provided free of charge and are available 24 hours a day with a toll-free number for long-distance service.
To learn more, visit the PACER website. The Speedy Trials Act of 1974 sets standard time frames for the timely prosecution and resolution of criminal cases in district courts; there is no similar law that regulates civil trials, so criminal cases take priority when it comes to scheduling. In 1990 Congress enacted a law that directs each district court to design and adopt a plan to reduce civil costs and delays; one objective set out in this legislation is to schedule trials within 18 months of filing complaints. Litigants should keep in mind that judges have many functions besides deciding cases; on average district court judges have to decide more than 400 new cases each year. In addition to trials, judges hand down sentences, hold pre-trial meetings, hearings of motions, draft orders and opinions, and consider other judicial matters both in and out of courtrooms. The grievance process is not intended to address complaints related to merits of a case or court decision; any person who alleges that a judge has engaged in conduct harmful to effective administration of court affairs or cannot perform all functions due to physical or mental disability may file complaint with clerk of court of appeals or appropriate national court. The statute governing this grievance mechanism is set forth in Title 28 of U.
Code; each circuit court website has information on how to file complaint in that circuit. The lawyer must keep information related to representation confidential except where disclosure is required or permitted by Rules of Professional Conduct or other law; requests for information and requests to review records are made in admission area of clerk's office. Upon request EEOC offices can provide list of local lawyers who specialize in labor and employment law; EEOC does not make specific recommendations.