A lawyer (also called an "advocate", "attorney", "barrister", "counsel", "counsellor", or "solicitor") is someone who practices law. A lawyer possesses a degree in law, and is licensed to practice law in a particular area.
If people have any problem regarding the law, they can contact a lawyer to seek legal advice. If the case goes to court, the lawyer will then represent those people, either defending the person if someone else has started a legal case or arguing a case that the person has started. Lawyers also help people "settle out of court," which generally means to agree to a punishment in a criminal law case or a payment of money in a civil law case.
When a person is accused of a crime, the person has a defense lawyer to try to show they have not committed a crime. The lawyer arguing that they did do the crime is called the prosecutor.
Lawyers also prepare legal documents their clients. Examples: buying or selling property or making a will (testament). Certain lawyers (called "commissioners of oaths" in England) can take legally binding witness statements which can be presented to the court.
Lawyers work in different settings. Some work by themselves, while some work in law firms. Some lawyers work for hospitals and private companies. Lawyers who work for private companies are usually called in-house counsel.
There is always a fee for the various services offered, except when advice is offered freely, which is called "pro bono publico", meaning "for the public good". In many countries, defendants unable to pay fees get their defence funded by the taxpayer.
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