A Georgia Attorney is a lawyer who is barred in the State of Georgia , is in good standing, and represents clients within the State of Georgia. Georgia attorneys are required, by the Georgia Bar Association, to maintain good standing with the Georgia Bar Association, as well as maintain the ethical and moral standards of the ABA model rules of professional conduct. Georgia attorneys practice law in all different fields. Georgia attorneys who practice in civil court handle cases for clients involving torts, contracts, real estate, and any other situation where the plaintiff is looking for a form of damages. Georgia attorneys who practice in criminal law represent defendants who have been accused of a misdemeanor, felony, or other violation that can result in fines or imprisonment.
How does one become a Georgia Attorney
To become a Georgia Attorney an individual must complete 7 years of education as well as pass a series of exams. Every Georgia Attorney must possess a bachelor’s degree from a 4 year college or university recognized by the Georgia Bar Association. Secondly, a Georgia Attorney must be a graduate of an accredited law school that is recognized by the American Bar Association. There are alternatives to being a law school graduate that the Georgia Bar Association will consider in lieu of going to law school. Any information about these alternatives can be discovered by contacting the Georgia Bar Association.
In addition to graduating from law school, a Georgia attorney must take, and pass, the Georgia Bar Exam. The Georgia Bar Exam is a 2 day comprehensive exam that is administered twice a year by the Georgia Board of Bar Examiners. The first day of the exam consists of 4 essay questions and 2 Mult-State Performance Tests. The former are written and administered by the Georgia Board of Bar Examiners. The latter are 90 minute tests that gauge the applicants ability to take and analyze evidence and substantive law to compose a persuasive and concise memo or brief. The second day is the Multi-State Bar Exam. The MBE is a 200 question multiple choice question that tests on the generally accepted laws concerning contracts, torts, evidence, criminal law & procedure, and constitutional law. The annual pass rate of the Georgia Bar Exam is 72%. An applicant must get a scaled score of 115 on the MBE and must have a total score of 270 in order to pass the exam.
Aside from the substantive knowledge that a Georigia Attorney must have to practice within the State of Georgia the applicant must also meet the ethical standards. The Georgia Bar Association requires all candidates who wish to become Georgia Attorneys complete a character and fitness application that includes all information that could weigh on an individual’s ability to practice law with in the State. In addition, an individual must also take, and pass, the Multi-State Professional Responsibility Exam, or MPRE, with a score of 75.
Georgia Court System
The Georgia Court System consists of 5 trial divisions, an Appellate Division, and The Supreme Court of Georgia. The 5 trial divisions are the: magistrate, probate, juvenile, state, and Superior courts.
The Magistrate courts hear all misdemeanors and civil actions where the amount in dispute is less than $15,000. There are no jury trials in the magistrate courts and the parties usually represent themselves rather than retain counsel.
The probate court deals with matters involving the distribution of property including wills and estates. The juvenile court adjudicates matters involving minors.
The State Courts hear traffic violations, preliminary hearings for felonies and civil cases not reserved for the Superior Court. The Superior courts hear all felonies, divorces and civil matter where the amount in question is greater than $15,000.
If you have a problem with your Georgia Attorney it is best that you first discuss the matter with your Georgia attorney to come to an solution without involving formal action. Many times the problem that you have with your Georgia attorney is just a matter of miscommunication and often times what the Georgia attorney has done is far being from unethical. Filing a complaint against a Georgia attorney for personal grievances only can not only cause you to lose your complaint process but subject you to a civil suit from your Georgia attorney. However, your Georgia attorney is under a legal obligation to uphold him, or herself, in a manner that is legal, ethical, and professional on a 24 hour a day basis. If you feel that your Georgia Attorney has violated the Rules of Professional Conduct then you may want to contact the Consumer Assistance Program at 800-334-6865 Ext. 759. A representative from the Assistance Program will go over your dispute and investigate the matter. For serious legal or ethical violations by the Georgia Attorney the representative will forward the complaint to the Office of General Counsel. The Office of General Counsel, upon conclusion of its investigation, may warrant a proceeding against the Georgia Attorney that could result in sanctions, suspension or disbarment.
You can also go to www.gabar.org/ethics/recent_discipline to find out any and all disciplinary measures that have been brought against Georgia Attorneys since 1995. For longer than that you will want to contact the Georgia Bar Association independently.
Finding a Georgia Attorney
If you need a Georgia attorney but you are confused on where to look you may take advantage of one of the many referral services offered by the local bar associations in the State of Georgia. The Georgia Bar Association does not independently operate a referral service but by contacting 404-527-8720 a representative will put you in touch with your local bar associations referral service.