General Legal Information

Lawyer Ethics and Discipline

Q.: What standards govern an Ohio attorney's conduct?

A.: To practice law in Ohio, an attorney must be "admitted to practice" (granted a license) by the Supreme Court of Ohio and must maintain that license in good standing. As a condition of admission to practice, attorneys also must swear to uphold the Constitution and the law; honestly, faithfully and competently discharge their duties as attorneys; and abide by the Code of Professional Responsibility. The Code is a set of ethical regulations adopted and enforced by the Supreme Court of Ohio. It is made up of Disciplinary Rules, which are broad, general statements about how lawyers should conduct themselves, and Ethical Considerations, which clarify how lawyers should apply each of the Rules. Attorneys found guilty of violating the Disciplinary Rules face penalties that may include the temporary or permanent loss of their license to practice.

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Jury Service

Q.: Why is jury service so important?

A.: When you are called to be a juror, you become a very important person in our legal system. In the United States, our justice system is based on the belief that a just and fair result in court comes from having disputes settled by our fellow citizens. Very few of us ever have to go to court as plaintiffs or defendants, but when we do, we want good, honest people to listen to the evidence and decide our cases fairly.

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Intellectual Property Rights

U.S. Constitution - Article I, Section 8, Clause 8:

"The Congress shall have power . . . to promote the progress of science and useful arts, by securing for a limited time to authors and inventors the exclusive right to their respective writings and discoveries.”

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Guardianships

Q.: What is a guardian?

A.: A guardian is a person appointed by a probate court to be legally responsible for another person and/or for another person’s property. While individuals are usually appointed to serve as guardians, a corporation or association may also serve in that capacity. A person for whom a guardian has been appointed is called a “ward.”

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Financial Powers of Attorney

Financial powers of attorney are important legal documents that many people use to help handle their financial affairs when they are unable to do so. Because such documents often give significant and far-reaching powers to another, financial powers of attorney should be made only after thoughtful and careful consideration. The assistance of an attorney is recommended.

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Certified Attorney Specialists

Q.: What is a certified attorney specialist?

A.: All attorneys licensed to practice law in Ohio must have graduated from an accredited law school, passed an intensive examination, and attended continuing legal education courses as required by the Supreme Court of Ohio. Some attorneys who devote a large part of their practice to a particular area of the law may choose to go beyond these requirements to earn specialty certification. This means that they have:

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Being a Witness

Q.: What is a witness?

A.: In almost all litigation, whether civil or criminal, persons other than parties to the lawsuit are called upon to testify by one of the parties in the case. These persons are called witnesses. Of course, parties in the case also may testify on their own behalf, and, in that respect, they are witnesses, too. After swearing or affirming that they will tell the truth, witnesses testify to what they know about facts relating to lawsuits between parties. Those who have specific expertise also may be called as witnesses to give expert opinions about the issues involved in a lawsuit. Whether a witness testifies in open court or prior to the trial (for example, in a deposition), every party to the lawsuit must have the opportunity to question all witnesses to bring forth everything that might be favorable to the party's position.

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Attorneys

Q.: What is an attorney?

A.: An attorney is a person educated to assist people professionally with legal problems and to represent them before courts and government agencies, and to provide legal advice and services.

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At Will Employment Is the Rule in Ohio

Q.: I’m considering leaving my job and moving to accept an offer from an Ohio employer.  A  friend told me I should ask for an employment agreement that specifies I will not be an employee at will. What does that mean?

A.: “Employment at will” means that, unless you agree otherwise with your employer, either you or your employer may terminate the employment relationship at any time for any reason that does not contradict the law.  If you do not get an employment agreement for a specific period of time, you will be an “at will” employee and can be terminated at any time.  By the same token, as an at-will employee, you are free at any time to leave a job you no longer want in order to take a better position.

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Your Rights if Questioned, Stopped or Arrested by the Police

What are my rights . . .

If the police approach me and ask me questions?

Suppose you are outside your home or in a public place when the police arrive and begin to ask questions. Law enforcement officers have a duty to protect the community they serve, its citizens and their property. The law gives police certain powers to help them perform that duty.

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