Lawyers’ Role In Dispute Resolution Essay

1509 words - 6 pages

Lawyers’ Role in Dispute Resolution

Modern American culture provides an inconsistent vision of the role of lawyers
in dispute resolution. Lawyers are alternately portrayed as greedy, corrupt people
without morals or as necessary and competent allies in protecting individuals against
larger and better-funded opponents. In reality, while lawyers have the definite
capability to change the outcome of a dispute in a negative way, they ultimately have a
positive effect by allowing citizens access to the legal system. By its very nature, the
legal system is confusing, puts the inexperienced at a disadvantage, and can be difficult
to access for claimants with little authority. Lawyers provide a way to overcome these
obstacles. They are beneficial because they effectively use their experience and
education to help their clients, facilitate their client’s freedom in trial, aid in the
formation of cases, and add authority and weight to a claim.
The experience and education lawyers have is invaluable in providing legal
access for their clients. Their knowledge and skill allow lawyers to effectively interpret
the legal system and therefore help their clients navigate it. The American legal system,
in the two hundred years it has been in existence, has become extremely complex and
confusing to the uninitiated. The trial process alone can become a Byzantine series of
motions, objections, briefs, and rulings. Despite the fact that defendants are allowed to
represent themselves, the very structure of the system is so complicated that being or
employing a professional lawyer is all but necessary. Legal documents, too, are so
confusing that even non-trial disputes can be impossible for a layman to handle. A
lawyer’s training in law school gives them the knowledge and experience necessary to
understand “legalese,” tort law, evidence presentation, property law, and other issues
which they can then explain to their client. Experience and education also allows
lawyers to give their clients an advantage in court proceedings, especially when facing a
large, wealthy opponent, such as a corporation or government. Lawyers’ experience and
education give their legally inexperienced client a much better chance at a fair trial.
This is illustrated in “Why the Haves Come Out Ahead.” One of the major
characteristics of a Repeat Player is that they have experience in dealing with specific
types of cases and the legal system in general, as opposed to One-Shotters, who do not
(Galanter 2002, 76). Personal lawyers often act as a private citizen’s own pseudo-
Repeat Player. While a personal lawyer usually does not exhibit all of the
characteristics Galanter believes RPs exhibit, such as substantial resources or the ability
to strategically try cases, they do have experience. When the opponent is a large entity,
this can be helpful in ensuring an outcome of a dispute is more positive for the client, or
even the occurrence of a trial at all as...

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