For the Public

Learn about Lawyers

An individual's rights, responsibilities, and relationships are impacted and influenced by "the law." The law consists of statutes, constitutions, rules, ordinances, and years of slowly evolving judicial opinions reflected in written decisions. Lawyers are men and women trained to understand, interpret, and improve the law and to advocate its meaning and application on behalf of their clients. Being a lawyer is a life-long commitment to serve justice and the public interest.

Lawyers who practice in Illinois are regulated by the Illinois Supreme Court through its Attorney Registration and Disciplinary Commission. Lawyers must comply with yearly registration requirements, including paying fees that support a number of public programs, continuing legal education requirements, and ethical rules. The ethics rules that all lawyers must follow are designed for the protection of clients, their confidences, and their property. These rules also prohibit conflicts of interest and require open and full communication.

Lawyers are problem solvers. Throughout their careers, lawyers gain experience helping their clients work through any number of legal matters. This experience includes deep exposure to substantive areas of the law and expertise navigating often complex pleading and procedural requirements of courts and administrative tribunals. Lawyers strive to help clients achieve their goals and resolve their problems. Some lawyers concentrate their practices in certain areas. However, the majority of lawyers have a "general practice."

Lawyers are also business people. If you are concerned about the cost of hiring a lawyer, talk to him or her upfront about this. Do not be shy about discussing the costs and fees a lawyer may charge for handling your case. For additional pointers on hiring a lawyer, see the ISBA Guide to Hiring a Lawyer.