The most important function of attorneys is to support the prosecution in court.
In a number of cases, a preliminary investigation is conducted by the offices of either the federal attorney (they are available in each federal judicial district), or the state attorney general, or, finally, the local attorney (county, city, etc.).
All these officials act autonomously and are not in a relationship of subordination. Moreover, even federal district attorneys, in making decisions on specific cases, enjoy complete independence from the US Attorney General, who heads the Department (Ministry) of Justice.
In essence, attorneys at all levels play a decisive role in initiating criminal prosecution and in deciding whether to bring the accused to trial. Most states also retain a special body – a grand jury, consisting of 12-23 jurors, who check whether the prosecution has enough evidence to take the case to court (in some cases, the grand jury can also act as an investigative body).
The most important function of attorneys is to support the prosecution in court. At the same time, at the stage of bringing to trial, representatives of the prosecution in the vast majority of cases force the accused to conclude a so-called plea deal.
It usually means that he agrees to the trial of his case without the participation of a jury in exchange for a promise to confine himself to an accusation of a less serious crime (for example, theft instead of a robbery) or not to demand a death sentence, imprisonment, etc.
Attorneys have the right to appeal to a higher court sentences in criminal cases, except for acquittals delivered by a jury. Attorneys also act in courts of first instance and when considering appeals in civil cases in which the United States is a party or in the resolution of which the American state (federal attorneys) or individual states, counties, cities, etc. are in any way interested. (attorneys of states or respective territorial units).
Federal attorneys are appointed by the President of the United States with the consent of the Senate. In most states and at the local level, attorneys are elected by the people and, as a rule, hold their positions due to the support of one political party or another.
The interests of defendants in criminal cases are protected
The interests of defendants in criminal cases are protected and the interests of the parties in civil proceedings are represented by lawyers, who in the United States are not divided into any categories that differ in their powers, which does not exclude their specialization in certain issues, as well as in types of activity.
According to the decisions of the US Supreme Court of recent decades, interpreting the constitutional provisions of the criminal procedure nature, it is recognized that the accused has the right to the participation of his defense counsel in the case from the moment of detention, and if the accused is unable to hire a lawyer, he has the right to free legal assistance at all the most important stages of the investigation and trial of the case, as well as when appealing the verdict.
In many states, however, the right to free legal aid is limited to those defendants facing imprisonment or the death penalty, and this aid itself is often limited to the presence during interrogation and participation in the case of a novice or overburdened lawyer.
Therefore, in recent years, most states have created various programs that are designed to finance free legal assistance provided by qualified lawyers, including in certain categories of civil cases, at the expense of state or local government budgets.
Lawyers in civil cases, in particular on obligations from causing harm, often participate in the process on the conditions that, if the case is won, the client will cede to him from 30 to 50% of the amount of compensation received by him.
To qualify to practice law in most states, you must pass an examination administered by the courts. Many states (but not all) require a law degree to pass the exam. A person who is admitted after examination to the practice of law is entitled to plead in all courts of that state.
In order to appear in the courts of another state, an attorney must either pass a new exam or only obtain an appropriate permit. The latter rule also applies to federal courts.
American lawyers act either as part of law firms or independently. Lawyers, corporate lawyers, and state attorneys are affiliated with state bar associations (membership in such an association is a requirement for practice in some states).
Throughout the country, the activities of these associations are coordinated and directed by the American Bar Association, which has about 400,000 members and is a very influential political force. This association plays an important role in the processes of convergence of state laws, it often proposes changes in federal legislation, deals with issues of professional ethics, etc.