A Philadelphia Attorney is a lawyer who represents all types of clients in the city of Philadelphia and Bucks County, Pennsylvania. If you are looking for a Philadelphia attorney you should be sure that the Philadelphia Attorney is in good standing with the Pennsylvania Bar Association, has a relatively clean disciplinary record, and has the requisite experience in the field of law where you need representation. Philadelphia attorneys practice in all aspects of the law. Philadelphia attorneys who focus on criminal law represent defendants accused of felonies, misdemeanors, DUI, and even traffic violations. Philadelphia attorneys may also practice in a number of areas of civil law in which the plaintiff is seeking money damages or equitable relief for a wrong committed by the defendant. These cases include torts, contracts, landlord/tenant, real estate, corporate law, etc.
What qualifications does a Philadelphia Attorney need?
In order to become a Philadelphia Attorney an individual must meet a number of requirements with both educational and ethical aspects to them. First, a Philadelphia attorney must have graduated from a 4 year accredited university or college with at least a bachelor’s degree. In addition a Philadelphia attorney must also have graduated from a law school that is recognized by the American Bar Association. Once this is achieved an individual is able to sit for the Pennsylvania Bar Exam. Graduating from law school is not the only way to be permitted to sit for the bar exam. For other information about that you should contact the Pennsylvania Bar Examiners Office.
To be a Philadelphia attorney an individual must sit for, and pass, the Pennsylvania Bar Exam. The Pennsylvania Bar Exam is a 2 day exam that is administered twice a year, once in July and again in February. The first day of the exam consists of 6 essay questions based on Pennsylvania law and a Multi-State Performance Test. The Multi-State Performance Test is a 90 minute exam that gauges an applicants ability to take substantive law and evidence and use that information to write a concise, persuasive memo or brie. The second day of the exam is the MBE. The Multi-State Bar Exam is a 200 question multiple choice exam that tests on the general laws concerning contracts, torts, criminal law, constitutional law, and evidence. The Pennsylvania Bar Exam is graded by giving 45% to the MBE and 55% weight to the first days portion of the exam.
In addition to the Bar Exam a Philadelphia attorney must also take the Multi-State Professional Responsibility Exam which tests an applicants knowledge of the Rules of Professional Conduct. A passing score for the State of Pennsylvania is a 75. In addition, a Philadelphia Attorney must also complete the character and fitness portion of the application. This application will involve collecting data on an applicants previous addresses, criminal history, employers, education, etc. to ensure the Pennsylvania Bar Association that you have the ability to represent yourself as an upstanding member of the Bar Association.
Where do I find a Philadelphia Attorney?
You can find a Philadelphia Attorney in one of many different ways. The simplest is by doing an internet search for Philadelphia attorneys who practice in the specific area of law that you require representation in. Almost all Philadelphia attorneys maintain websites that inform the public about the attorneys education, experience, qualifications, certifications and other positive attributes. Even though this is a good source of information the data is skewed and remember that this is advertising designed to bring in clients.
You can also take advantage of the Philadelphia Bar Associations Lawyer Referral Service. The Philadelphia Bar Association, at www.philabar.org, maintains a lawyer referral service at www.philadelphiabarlawyers.com. By clicking on the link on the right side of the page you may fill in the information requested such as your name, contact information, and a brief description of your legal problem. You may also wish to talk to a representative at 215-238-6333. After doing one of these two things a representative will take your information and give you the contact information of a Philadelphia attorney near you who is qualified and able to help. The referral service is free but the attorney that you are referred to may charge up to $30 for an initial 30 minute consultation meeting. After the consultation it is up to you and the referred Philadelphia Attorney to discuss future representation and fees. You are under no obligation to retain the appointed Philadelphia Attorney and the Philadelphia Attorney is not obligated to represent you. However, any information communicated by you to the Philadelphia attorney during the consultation is considered privileged and may not be divulged by the Philadelphia Attorney whether you continue representation or not.
It is the obligation of the Philadelphia Attorney to conduct him, or herself, in a professional, ethical, and legal matter at all times, even when at home. Violations of the rules of professional conduct are serious matters and the Pennsylvania Bar Association takes these matters with the utmost importance. If you feel that you, or any, Philadelphia Attorney has violated the Rules of Professional Conduct, has committed a crime, or neglected his, or her, duties then you should contact the Disciplinary Board of the Supreme Court of Pennsylvania. There are 4 divisions in the State and the Division that controls misconduct by Philadelphia Attorneys is at:
16th Floor, Seven Penn Center
1635 Market Street
Philadelphia, PA 19103
You may download the complaint form from www.padisciplinaryboard.org and mail the completed, and signed form to that address so that the disciplinary board may look into the matter and decide what actions, if any, should be taken.