Law is a system of rules that a society or government develops in order to deal with criminal behavior, business agreements and social relationships. Law can also be used more broadly to refer to the body of laws of a nation, or even the world. The precise nature of Law is a matter of longstanding debate.
A lawyer’s job is to represent people and businesses in court by presenting evidence and making arguments on their behalf. Lawyers often study the law and write articles on legal topics to help others understand them. They also may teach law students and give lectures on legal issues.
a judge’s duties include presiding over cases, researching legal questions, drafting opinions and interpreting the Constitution and federal statutes. They must be impartial and follow the rules of procedure. Judges must also ensure that their decisions are based on sound legal reasoning and facts.
the legal profession includes lawyers, judges, law clerks, law students and librarians. Attorneys represent plaintiffs and defendants in civil and criminal cases. They may specialize in a particular area of law, such as family law, torts or criminal defense.
judges are required to make sure that their rulings are clear and easy for everyone to understand. They must explain why they made their decision and provide the basis for it. They must also provide written transcripts of their hearings for future reference.
law clerks assist judges with research and drafting opinions. They may be full- or part-time employees of a court. Libraries meet the information needs of judges and lawyers by providing books, articles, audiovisuals and other materials.
a jury pool is the group of people from which actual jurors are chosen for a case. A process called voir dire involves asking the potential jurors questions about their backgrounds and knowledge of the law. Jurors are then selected for the case by a judge.
A lawsuit is a legal action brought by a plaintiff against a defendant for violations of specific rights, such as property or privacy. A lawsuit can be filed in state or federal court.
a plea of nolo contendere has the same effect as a guilty plea in criminal cases, but does not show an admission of guilt for other purposes. It is often used in cases involving civil rights, such as when a person sues over a discriminatory hiring policy.
A bill becomes a law when it has passed both houses of Congress, and the president signs it into effect. A public law is given a number by the Congress in which it was introduced. For example, a law introduced in the 107th Congress would be designated as 107-101. A private law is not assigned a numerical designation.