It is a violation of both law and professional ethics to give legal advice to someone who resides in a state where the attorney is not licensed to practice. Furthermore, giving legal advice (even gratuitously) can expose an attorney to charges of malpractice. For these reasons, most attorneys discourage questions from residents of other states, unless the out-of-state resident is seeking legal representation in the attorney's state
Why Lawyers Shouldn’t Answer Questions
The only exception to this rule is for legal advice. If an attorney really needs to answer a question in order to comply with the attorney-client privilege, then the attorney must provide a qualified statement by e-mail, telephone or other means, prior to answering a question. The attorney must not give the person a direct answer, as it could cause the attorney to violate the attorney-client privilege and the professional ethics. The attorney cannot give misleading information by giving a direct answer, either. For example, if the person asks, "Do you have any contacts within the government that would help us with our case?" The lawyer could say that he does not, but he could provide some phone numbers or an e-mail address for the person to try.
How to Get the Most Out of the Legal Profession
An attorney is a lawyer until he doesn't practice anymore. At that point, he becomes a "certified public accountant." Unfortunately, like most certifications, this has its own fair share of quacks and scammers. Unlike other credentials, an attorney's certification, practice, and degrees are above question. Likewise, like a CPA, an attorney's work is guided by rules, regulations, and code of ethics. These rules are derived from many acts, including the U.S. Constitution, many state laws, and ethical codes issued by major professional organizations. Thus, an attorney's resume is considerably more long-lasting than that of an accountant, because attorneys are generally held to the highest ethical, professional, and ethical standards.
Finding a Lawyer
Finding an attorney to help you can be a daunting task. You may be told by your local bar association or by friends that you need to try your luck at finding an out-of-state lawyer to represent you in your legal proceedings. However, using an out-of-state attorney may come back to bite you. For instance, a basic mistake made by an out-of-state attorney can expose you to serious charges of malpractice or even the attorney to criminal charges for identity theft. On the other hand, going through a good lawyer will keep you out of hot water and might even prevent a serious malpractice lawsuit from being filed against you. Obtaining Assistance from Law School Not every lawyer in America can provide help to those seeking legal advice.
Finding an Attorney in the USA
How to Find an Attorney in Massachusetts In Massachusetts, finding an attorney to handle your case is relatively easy. The Attorneys' Lobby of Massachuse
tts is a nationwide directory that provides contact information for all Massachusetts attorneys and their firm websites. How to Find an Attorney in New York Most attorneys in New York who represent out-of-state clients are licensed in the state where their office is located. However, a "Visiting Attorney" (or "TSA") is an attorney who is licensed to practice in a state other than New York, but who is legally authorized to represent you in a New York court. Therefore, you can typically contact the Attorney's Lobby of New York, or any state's attorney general's office, to locate an attorney who is authorized to practice in New York.
Contacting an Attorney
If you live outside the US and you want to seek legal advice from a lawyer, the first step is to contact the lawyer's state's bar association, which will advise the attorney about his or her legal ability to provide legal counsel. If that advice is not forthcoming, you will need to do more research. "If you are not from [the attorney's state] and do not already have an attorney working for you, it is best to contact a lawyer's office in his or her state to check on their legal capacity to do so," notes attorney Adam Steinman, author of The False Promise of American Law. "If you do not find an attorney's office there, [and] your information is not found on the appropriate legal referral site, a lawyer in another state may be able to help.
Although there are numerous options to find an attorney, this article will focus on the choice of attorneys in both small and large cities in the USA. There are many resources for finding an attorney, but using these can be time-consuming and involve a lot of online research, and in some cases, several phone calls. Once you have selected an attorney, make sure that you get a consultation that has more than just their rates, the availability of their office and the hours they are in, and whether they offer services outside of the small areas that you have already determined. You should also ask how much your legal fees will be and what type of case is involved. Adherence to a written contract is a great way to avoid any confusion about the attorney's intent.