Delaware Attorneys are lawyers who are barred and practice law within the State of Delaware. Delaware Attorneys must be in good standing with the Delaware Bar Association and have either taken, and passed, the Delaware Bar Examination or have been permitted to practice law within the State of Delaware either through direct permission, such as pro hoc vice, or through reciprocity with another State. Delaware attorneys who practice in criminal law represent clients who have been charged with felonies, misdemeanors, traffic violations, DUIs and other violations against the city, county or the State of Delaware. Delaware Attorneys who practice in civil litigation will represent clients in matters involving torts, contracts, real estate, landlord/tenant, corporations, and other matters where the plaintiff is looking for damages instead of penalties against the defendant.
How does one become a Delaware Attorney?
In order to practice law within the State of Delaware a Delaware Attorney must meet a number of requirements set out by the Delaware Bar Association. An applicant who wishes to become a Delaware Attorney must have received a bachelor’s degree from a recognized college or university. In addition, an applicant who wishes to become a Delaware Attorney must also have graduated from an accredited law school within the United States or meet the other options listed in the Delaware Bar Association’s list of acceptable alternatives. Once an individual has been accepted and graduated from an accredited law school then that individual must take and pass the Delaware bar exam.
To be a Delaware Attorney an individual must take, and pass, the Delaware Bar Exam. The Delaware bar exam is a 3 day exam that gauges a potential Delaware attorney’s ability to know both federal and state law as well as write persuasively. The first day of the Delaware bar exam consists of 8 essay questions written and administered by the Delaware Bar Examiners Office that tests exclusively on the laws of the State of Delaware. The second day consists of 2 Multi-State Performance Tests which are 90 minute questions that gauge an applicant’s ability to take facts and substantive law together to create a persuasive memorandum or brief. The third day of the Delaware Bar Exam is the multi-State bar exam which is a multiple choice exam that is administered by the National Board of Bar Examiners. When grading the Delaware Bar Exam the Delaware Board of Bar Examiners allots 40% of the overall score to the MBE and the other 60% is allotted to the essay questions taken on days one and two. The average pass rate in the State of Delaware is 66% and, unlike other States, only administers the bar exam once a year.
In addition to passing the Delaware Bar Exam the future Delaware Attorney must also fill out an application for background checks to ensure the Delaware Bar Association that the applicant represents the character and fitness necessary to practice law as a Delaware Attorney. The Delaware Attorney must also pass the Multi-State Performance Exam with a passing score of 85.
The Delaware Court System
The Delaware court system is broken up into a number of courts: The Justice of The Peace Courts, Court of Common Pleas, The Superior Court, Family Court, and Supreme Court. The Justice of the Peace Courts hear civil cases where the amount in question is less than $15,000, criminal misdemeanor cases and motor vehicle violations.
The Court of Common Pleas hears appeals from the Justice of the Peace Courts. The Court of Common Pleas also has concurrent jurisdiction over some misdemeanor cases with the Justice of the Peace Courts but does not hear drug cases or traffic matters. The Court of Common Pleas also hears preliminary felony cases and civil cases where the amount in question is less than $50,000.
The Superior Court hears all felony cases and drug cases as well as appeals from the court of common pleas and the family court. The Superior Court also hears all civil cases where the amount in question is more than $50,000.
The highest court in Delaware is The Delaware Supreme Court.
If you have had a problem involving an ethical violation by your Delaware Attorney it may be necessary to file a complaint with the Delaware Office of Disciplinary Counsel. A Delaware Attorney is expected to uphold the ethical and moral standards of being a Delaware attorney, including following the ABA rules of professional conduct on a 24 hour a day basis. Before you file any kind of complaint against any Delaware attorney you should first discuss the matter with your Delaware attorney. Filing a formal grievance is a serious matter and should only be filed when it is absolutely necessary. If you decide that filing a report is necessary then you should download the complaint form from www.courts.delaware.gov and mail the completed and signed form to:
Carvel State Office Building
820 North French Street, 11th Floor
Wilmington, DE 19801-3545
Finding Delaware Attorneys
If you need to find a Delaware Attorney you may take advantage of an internet search to find a Delaware attorney in your area that practices law in the area that you need representation in. Delaware attorneys keep web pages in order to solicit clients. These websites have a wealth of information including the Delaware attorneys experience, education, certificates and any other positive attributes of the Delaware attorney.
You can also take advantage of the Delaware Bar Associations lawyer referral service by calling 302-478-8850 if you live in New Castle County and 1-800-773-0606 if you live in Kent or Sussex counties. The lawyer referral service will charge you an initial $35 fee in order to consult with a Delaware attorney through the service. Once you have paid the $35 fee you will be given the name of a Delaware attorney who practices in your area that is also in good standing and has liability insurance. The consultation with the Delaware attorney will last for 30 minutes and any discussion about representation past the initial consultation is between you and your Delaware lawyer to decide upon.
One other option is to use the laws.com lawyer referral service at the top of this page. By clicking on the “find a lawyer” link on the top of this page you will be able to access the laws.com referral page. By including your name, contact information, and a brief description of your legal problem you will be contacted by a representative from laws.com with information about a Delaware attorney in your area.