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  1. GuardianWynn
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    GuardianWynn Contributing Member Contributor

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    A lawyer's perspective

    Discussion in 'Research' started by GuardianWynn, Jan 2, 2016.

    Okay. I am not all that cultured when it comes to law or well culture. Which in some cases I think is useful. I am not taking with me this pre-established standard. I like inventing a world like that. But at some points I wonder if I fail. So I have this character. I am worried that she will seem... weird. Which is true. I think she is weird. But I am worried she will look the wrong kind of weird. Also there is some established concepts I think may need to be edited. So I want to share my law girl with you and see if you think she is a valid character or needs some real culture knowledge to refine her in.

    Okay, she is in her forties. A work alcholic and caffine addict. To the point she usually does her job in a coffee shop and not the office. She is a criminal proscutor and high enough up the latter to decide what goes to trial and what doesn't. Yet in spite of this she still works cases. Not out of a need but a desire. As she would say it. "I love working trials but I love doing them my way. So I am the boss so I can."

    I also claimed that she travels a lot, for work. Like that she travels all over the country staying in any one city for just a few months before moving on. Again for work. I am guessing this is the bad part. A real lawyer would stay in one town wouldn't she?

    That is the most of it. Personality wise. She is nice, cheerfully but gets sour quick if you make her mad.

    Does she sound like a someone that is real or is she too strange? Also if you know the law, what title would she have?

    Also there are a few unique situations in which I wonder if it is against the law for her to do.

    1. She had enough to take a man to trial. But a witness came forward claiming him innocent. Even with that. Still enough for trail. Yet she trust the witness(a friend of her adopted daughter) and as such drops the case. Ethical?

    2. Someone gives her first hand knowledge that her daughter broke the law. (Adopted daughter) she does nothing with the information. There was no solid proof. But she tells no one and more or less pretends she never heard it.

    3. If she realized someone was dead(but lacked physical evidence to prove it) and was aware a person was trying to do something legally, in this case get dead assets released, something I assume would be valid if the death became public, but actively hide the fact to prevent those assets from being released. Is this a crime?

    @Steerpike Tagging you because if my memory serves you are actually a lawyer making you a good person to ask.
     
  2. g_man526
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    g_man526 Member

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    It may be difficult to get really detailed answers on this since lawyers have an ethical duty to try to stay away from anything that might be construed as "legal advice," but speaking to you as a law student, this might be a good place to start: http://www.americanbar.org/groups/professional_responsibility/publications/model_rules_of_professional_conduct/rule_3_8_special_responsibilities_of_a_prosecutor.html (Also read the Comments, which explain in further detail the meaning and purpose of rules.)
     
  3. GuardianWynn
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    GuardianWynn Contributing Member Contributor

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    Really?

    Even things like what title she might have and if travelings makes sense?

    Plus. It is to a fantasy book I am wriritng. Technically my worlds laws might not reflect our world. I was just curious what a person might think. Since a reader might think it.

    I mean the context of this isn't clearly not advice-y enough?

    Then again I didn't even know lawyers shy away from such things.

    Thanks. Looking at the link now. :)
     
  4. Davek74
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    Davek74 New Member

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    Hi,
    I personally like the sound of your character. The answer in relation to how realistic she is well change depending on whether your character works in the UK or USA.
    From the UK point if view, lawyers are are employed by the Crown prosecution service and, for the majority of serious offences, do have the casting vote on whether to proceed. There is a chief prosecutor in overall charge and then regional chiefs as well, all of which would have considerable decision making power. They can also specialise in different areas.
    I like the idea of her dropping a case based on her belief of a witness account. This is feasible in the UK, but could be appealed against, forcing your character to justify her decision making.
    If your story is based in the UK then your character could be a barrister rather than a lawyer. Barristers study law to a high level and then get attached to a chambers. They would not have the initial decision making in regards to running or dropping a case, but could certainly drop it when it gets to court. The advantage of being a barrister is that they can be employed by either defence or prosecution, which could open story lines for you. They can also be nominated to become judges, which might be interesting development.
    The only other advice I would give is to try and visit your local courts on a regular basis, as part of your research. You'll quickly learn that it's a wheel with the same faces regularly appearing and are likely to make friends with lawyers and Barristers that will probably develop your story ☺
     
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  5. Steerpike
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    Steerpike Felis amatus Supporter Contributor

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    Not really, in this case. It's not all exactly legal advice to begin with, and even to the extent it is, what you have to be concerned about is creating an attorney/client relationship, which is probably pretty hard to do by giving general advice on an internet forum. This has been considered with respect to talk radio programs, where people call up a lawyer who is hosting a show and ask specific legal questions of that lawyer and get answers. The advisory opinion I saw deemed that no attorney/client relationship was created for a number of factors, including the public nature of the program (in which there could be no expectation of privileges or confidential communications). The upshot is that the ethics panel determined that an individual could not reasonably believe there was an attorney/client relationship created, which is why you can ethically have radio call-in shows hosted by lawyers in which lawyers answer questions. I think giving out generalized advice on an anonymous internet forum is even further removed from creating that relationship than the talk radio program. There was a great deal of handwringing over this twenty years ago, with respect to newsgroups, email lists, and the like.

    As for your questions - they're outside of my area of expertise, so someone who practices in that area will know better. I don't think the traveling is going to make much sense. A federal prosecutor (U.S. Attorney) may travel more than others, but prosecutors tend to handle a relatively small geographic area. If she's still taking cases to trial herself, she's going to have a jurisdiction and it's not going to be the whole country as far as I know. It'll be a relatively small area.

    1. I believe that is within prosecutorial discretion. She doesn't have to take the defendant to trial if she doesn't want to. That's my understanding of how it works.

    2. I don't know that she has any duty to report any crime (except by another prosecutor or member of the Bar, where there are duties imposed by the rules of professional responsibility). The question you have to ask is whether she's violating any legal duty by not saying anything. I don't think she is, but again someone who has experience in this area is going to be able to give you a better answer.

    3. A crime? I don't know. Probably expose her to a civil claim of some kind. I'd like to think she'd lose her job over it if it became known that she did this. The extent to which it is a problem and whether it crosses into criminal territory probably hinges on exactly what she does and what the facts of the entire situation are.
     
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  6. GuardianWynn
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    GuardianWynn Contributing Member Contributor

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    Thanks!

    That is interesting. Sadly I suppose I forgot some needed context.

    This girl is not the main character. Just a supporting character that doesn't actually even appear that often. But I love over thinking.

    Funny enough she is in the UK but my world is set in the future. So it doesn't have to follow current law. But then again I was just relatively curious how she measured up to real law.

    Barristers is an interesting concept. Thanks. :)

    Thanks! Also SAD! I was hoping I was wrong about the moving part. It fit so nicely. I suppose since it is my world I can still include it. But then again maybe I don't need it.

    The moving around part really solved a few issues.

    1. I think it was awesome for her to say the line. "I miss Paris." lol

    2. Moving explains her entering town, which otherwise is kind of a rare event. I mean, in the sense that, dang, small world. Lots of connecting pieces all in the same town I didn't name.

    3. Moving implied she was gonna be leaving, which added a urgency to her screen time and explained way why she would disappear once she disappears. I kind of see her like a funny supportive grandmother. She is a nice character, but she only has a few scenes because she only needs a few scenes.
     
  7. ChickenFreak
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    ChickenFreak Contributing Member Contributor

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    A thought: would this perhaps work better if she's some other type of professional that quite often serves as an expert witness?
     
  8. GuardianWynn
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    GuardianWynn Contributing Member Contributor

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    I don't think so. Her entire concept hinges on the fact that she was in the place to intercept legal matters and make decisions and her current use in the story also rests heavily on that. The basic concept is sort of like. Well before then, it is notable to say the MC meeting her was an orphan whom recently found where she came from. So the premise is kind of. "I need to speak to the DA. The DA is a long time friend of the family that I just discovered I am apart of. HOLY COW THIS IS AWESOME!!!"
     
  9. ChickenFreak
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    ChickenFreak Contributing Member Contributor

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    Ah, well. It just seemed to make the aspects of travelling, working outside an office, and deciding which cases to take, easier.
     
  10. GuardianWynn
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    GuardianWynn Contributing Member Contributor

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    Thinking about it. I think since this is a futuristic urban fantasy. I can probably just make her fit my role. I mean my government is different in other ways. I think if I can claim people shooting fire out of there hands is not abnormal, then a lawyer that changes cities frequently should not be harder to do. lol Right?
     

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