The election of an African-American President was something few people thought would happen in their lifetimes. The reason? Prejudice against people of color. Alas, there is an open prejudice in the legal system as well. The type of prejudice we are talking about in this article, however, is not an offensive version and is often misunderstood.
The legal system, particularly the civil system, is very forgiving in many ways. If a party makes a mistake, the system will often have a built in allowance for them to try again. This can be done through things such as amendments to pleadings and so on. The term prejudice, as noted in the legal system, is a pillar of this process.
What does the legal procedure concept of prejudice mean? It simply is an indicator that something is final or not. A motion that is granted -with prejudice- is a final ruling on that subject and it shall not be raised again. A motion that is granted -without prejudice- is something the impacted party will usually be allowed to try and fix within a set time period. An example helps show how this work.
I sue you for causing a car accident between the two of us. You file a motion to dismiss my complaint on the grounds that I didn’t serve you with the complaint correctly. I argue that I served the lawsuit at your home address and on your wife. You argue that a separation had occurred a week earlier and you know longer lived at that address. Under the laws of your state, the court grants the motion to dismiss but does so without prejudice. This gives me a certain amount of time to serve the lawsuit on you in a proper manner.
Now consider a second case. I sue you for causing me to drive off the road and crash into a tree. I assert that you did this because you are really an alien being who can control the minds of people. You file a motion to dismiss on the grounds that I am completely out of my mind and haven’t stated a legal cause of action. The judge agrees, recognizes the case is nonsense and grants the dismissal with prejudice. I am not barred from amending my complaint or trying again.
These are obviously two extreme examples. That being said, they do bear out the concept of prejudice as it applies to the legal system.
Thomas Ajava is with MelbourneWrongfulDeathAttorney.com – locate a quality Melbourne wrongful death attorney to review your wrongful death case today.
Sooner or later, you are going to be introduced to the legal profession. This will usually require you to hire a lawyer. This is a surprising task for many people because they don’t realize that a legal team is much more than just a lawyer. In this article, we take a look at the usual members.
The legal team obviously starts out with the lawyer in question. This is the person you meet with when considering who you are going to hire. This person is known as the lead attorney if they are in a law firm or just -the lawyer- in a sole practitioner situation. A law firm has two or more attorneys while a sole practitioner is just one lawyer. Regardless, the lawyer acts more as a CEO of the legal team than you might realize. He or she will guide the team during the workup to trial, but other people will do most of the actual work. This is run of the mill in the legal profession, but often surprises clients.
The associate is a lawyer that does most of the actual work on a case leading up to trial. The associate tends to be younger and is gaining experience until they are ready to actually go to trial. The associate may issue requests to the other party, take depositions and attend basic mandatory court hearings. The associate will also often write letters updating you on the case. The lead attorney will read these to make sure the case is being handled they way he or she desires.
The paralegal is not an attorney, but is more of an assistant. The paralegal is charged with much of the grunt work. This means gathering and organizing documents. It also means speaking with you, the client, regarding any questions you have. A good paralegal is worth their weight in gold for a busy lawyer.
The secretary is the gatekeeper for the attorney. The secretary is a natural skeptic given all the sales calls that come in during the day. Being friendly with the secretary is a smart move. You are much more likely to get through the gate than be told the lawyer is in court or out at a deposition.
It is the rare lawyer that works alone on a case. The amount of grunt work is simply too excessive for it to be feasible. When dealing with your legal team or interviewing a perspective lawyer, make sure to know all the parties involved. It will make things run smoother.
Thomas Ajava writes for WrongfulDeathAttorneysChicago.com – where you can find wrongful death attorneys in Chicago, Illinois.