Legal Counsel

Legal Counsel in the United States

The recruitment of judicial system personnel varies considerably by position. Obtaining assistance of legal counsel is largely a private matter, and selection is made by the client. This is true for virtually all legal services a lawyer may provide, including litigation. Economic resources often determine the selection of an attorney. The Constitution, however, requires assistance of counsel in criminal cases, and local jurisdictions must provide lawyers for those financially unable to retain their own. Attorneys who represent indigent criminal defendants are typically recruited under the auspices of the trial courts of the local jurisdiction. In places where a public defender system is used, trial judges formally select the public defender.

Notes and References

  1. Definition of Legal Counsel from the American Law Dictionary, 1991, California

Legal Counsel: Open and Free Legal Research of US Law

Federal Primary Materials

The U.S. federal government system consists of executive, legislative, and judicial branches, each of which creates information that can be the subject of legal research about Legal Counsel. This part provides references, in relation to Legal Counsel, to the legislative process, the federal judiciary, and the primary sources of federal law (cases, statutes, and regulations).

Federal primary materials about Legal Counsel by content types:

Laws and Regulations

US Constitution
Federal Statutory Codes and Legislation

Federal Case Law and Court Materials

U.S. Courts of Appeals
United States courts of appeals, inclouding bankruptcy courts and bankcruptcy appellate panels:

Federal Administrative Materials and Resources

Presidential Materials

Materials that emanate from the President’s lawmaking function include executive orders for officers in departments and agencies and proclamations for announcing ceremonial or commemorative policies. Presidential materials available include:

Executive Materials

Federal Legislative History Materials

Legislative history traces the legislative process of a particular bill (about Legal Counsel and other subjects) for the main purpose of determining the legislators’ intent behind the enactment of a law to explain or clarify ambiguities in the language or the perceived meaning of that law (about Legal Counsel or other topics), or locating the current status of a bill and monitoring its progress.

State Administrative Materials and Resources

State regulations are rules and procedures promulgated by state agencies (which may apply to Legal Counsel and other topics); they are a binding source of law. In addition to promulgating regulations, state administrative boards and agencies often have judicial or quasi-judicial authority and may issue administrative decisions affecting Legal Counsel. Finding these decisions can be challenging. In many cases, researchers about Legal Counsel should check state agency web sites for their regulations, decisions, forms, and other information of interest.

State rules and regulations are found in codes of regulations and administrative codes (official compilation of all rules and regulations, organized by subject matter). Search here:

State opinions of the Attorney General (official written advisory opinions on issues of state law related to Legal Counsel when formerly requested by a designated government officer):

Tools and Forms

Law in Other Regions

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