Session 10 Australian legal practice and legal documents

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Australian Legal Practice:

Australian Legal Practice

Legal assistance:

Legal assistance Private l egal practice Charge fees May offer first 30 minutes free May offer service for free – pro bono May specialize in an area of law e.g. family law May do legal aid work Types Sole practitioner – one lawyer Small practice – 2-5 lawyers, approx 20 staff Medium to large - 6-10 lawyers

Legal assistance:

Legal assistance Victoria Legal Aid Provides free legal advice low-cost representation for those who cannot afford legal fees Duty lawyers Legal education http://www.legalaid.vic.gov.au/

Legal assistance:

Legal assistance Community Legal Centres Provide free legal services Independent May help with credit and debt, environmental law, welfare rights, mental health, disability discrimination, tenancy, immigration May target refugees, homeless, children, women – disadvantaged groups Funded by state, federal government, other organisations http://www.communitylaw.org.au/

Barristers:

Barristers Given instructions by solicitors on behalf of clients Give more specialised advice or represent client in court Called ‘Counsel’ or ‘Junior’ Senior barristers can be appointed Senior Counsel (SC)

Solicitors:

Solicitors Provide legal advice Act on instructions from clients Prepare documents Prepare cases for court hearings Attend mediation with clients Set up business Assist with complex agreements Provide legal advice to citizens, business and government departments Represent clients in court

Law firm staff:

Law firm staff Legal staff Partner – part owner of the firm Managing partner – partner who manages the firm Senior Associate – experienced employee lawyer; may handle more complex matters and supervise other staff Associate- junior lawyer (employee)

Law Firm Staff:

Law Firm Staff Administration and management Legal practice manager – manages business- e.g. personnel, finances, marketing, technology Titles Officer Clerk – deals with property work – files documents and applications, attends settlements Personal assistant – works for one or more lawyers, needs knowledge of area of practice, prepares legal documents, manages diary, communicates with clients, record cost sheet, other administration

Law Firm Staff:

Law Firm Staff Paralegal – experienced staff member, handles client files, handles routine legal work supervised by legal practitioner Clerk – administrative assistant Trainee- junior administrative staff member – in training Receptionist- meets and greets clients, answers phone calls, may do general administrative work Mailroom clerk – junior staff, handles correspondence, assists with general duties

Regulation of the legal profession:

Regulation of the legal profession Regulated by Legal Profession Practice Act 2004 Legal Services Commissioner Independent statutory body, deals with complaints about legal profession Victorian Civil and Administrative Tribunal Deals with professional misconduct, unsatisfactory professional conduct, civil disputes

Regulation of the legal profession:

Regulation of the legal profession The Law Institute of Victoria (LIV) Professional association for solicitors Audits, monitors, punishes solicitors for misconduct The Victorian Bar Professional association of barristers

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