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Attorney

Attorney

Attorneys involved with genetics include criminal prosecutors (district attorneys), public defenders, environmental lawyers, family lawyers, and patent attorneys. Genetics is relevant in the areas of identification of suspects and victims, identification of illegal goods (for example, items that involve the killing of endangered animals), environmental monitoring for harmful microorganisms, parentage determinations, and the patenting of genetic materials.

While all of these different types of lawyers may need to be somewhat familiar with the fundamentals of genetics, attorneys who work on gene patents must be very familiar with both genetics and biochemistry, as well as with patent law. The majority of these patent attorneys specialize in biotechnology. Most biotechnology patent attorneys have advanced degrees, with many having Ph.D.s in genetics, microbiology, molecular biology, biochemistry, or related fields. In addition to having a strong science background, patent attorneys must be licensed to practice law in at least one state, and must pass a registration examination administered by the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO).

Patent agents, as well as patent attorneys, can represent inventors before the USPTO. Patent agents have strong science backgrounds and must pass the USPTO registration examination, but are not licensed to practice law in any state. In addition to having very strong science backgrounds and the ability to work closely with inventors, patent attorneys and agents must enjoy reading complex scientific literature and be proficient at scientific writing. A large portion of the job involves writing scientific documents in the form of patent applications. Thus, people who enjoy reading and writing about scientific topics are well suited to the profession.

Patent attorneys and agents typically work in law firms, private companies, the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office (patent examiners), or in the technology transfer offices of universities and public institutions such as hospitals and research facilities, although some work out of their homes as solo practitioners. Patent attorneys and agents often know about ground breaking developments long before the public or others in their fields. This makes the career very interesting, exciting, and enjoyable. However, because of client confidentiality, patent attorneys and agents are required to keep these developments secret until the information is made public by the client or a patent is issued.

While some patent attorneys only draft patent applications and work with patent examiners, others work as litigators, patent law experts, law school professors, or trademark lawyers. For complicated cases, patent attorneys with an education in genetics are very helpful in explaining the technology to the judge or jury. Although most patent attorneys work on patent cases in courts, their expertise may also be called upon in criminal cases, when assistance is needed to analyze and explain complex sciences such as genetics and molecular biology.

Salaries differ widely among patent attorneys and agents who work in law firms, companies, and at universities. As of 2000, new Ph.D.-level patent attorneys could expect to earn at least $100,000 per year, while new Ph.D.level patent agents could expect to earn at least $75,000 per year. However, some patent attorneys could earn well over $500,000 per year.

see also Legal Issues; Patenting Genes.

Kamrin T. MacKnight

Bibliography

U.S. Patent and Trademark Office, Manual of Patent Examining Procedure. Washington, DC: Superintendent of Documents, U.S. Government Printing Office, 2000.

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MacKnight, Kamrin T.. "Attorney." Genetics. 2003. Encyclopedia.com. 31 May. 2016 <http://www.encyclopedia.com>.

MacKnight, Kamrin T.. "Attorney." Genetics. 2003. Encyclopedia.com. (May 31, 2016). http://www.encyclopedia.com/doc/1G2-3406500024.html

MacKnight, Kamrin T.. "Attorney." Genetics. 2003. Retrieved May 31, 2016 from Encyclopedia.com: http://www.encyclopedia.com/doc/1G2-3406500024.html

Attorney

ATTORNEY

A person admitted to practice law in at least one jurisdiction and authorized to perform criminal and civil legal functions on behalf of clients. These functions include providing legal counsel, drafting legal documents, and representing clients before courts, administrative agencies, and other tribunals.

Unless a contrary meaning is plainly indicated this term is synonymous with "attorney at law,""lawyer," or "counselor at law."

In order to become an attorney, a person must obtain a Juris Doctor degree from an accredited law school, although this requirement may vary in some states. Attendance at law school usually entails three years of full-time study, or four years of study in evening classes, where available. A bachelor's degree is generally a prerequisite to admission to law school.

With few exceptions, a person must pass the bar examination of that state in order to be admitted to practice law there. After passing a bar examination and practicing law for a specified period, a person may be admitted to the bars of other states, pursuant to their own court rules.

Although an attorney might be required by law to render some services pro bono (free of charge), the individual is ordinarily entitled to compensation for the reasonable value of services performed. He or she has a right, called an attorney's lien, to retain the property or money of a client until payment has been received for all services. An attorney must generally obtain court permission to discontinue representation of a client during the course of a trial or criminal proceedings.

Certain discourse between attorney and client is protected by the attorney-client privilege. In the law of evidence, the client can refuse to divulge and prohibit anyone else from disclosing confidential communications transmitted to and from the attorney. Notwithstanding, attorneys are permitted to make general (non-privileged) pre-trial statements to the press if there is a "reasonable likelihood" that the statements will not interfere with a fair trial or otherwise prejudice the due administration of justice (In re Morrissey, 168 F.3d 134 [4th Cir. 1999]).

cross-references

Attorney-Client Privilege; Attorney Misconduct; Continuing Legal Education; Legal Education; Legal Representation; Right to Counsel.

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"Attorney." West's Encyclopedia of American Law. 2005. Encyclopedia.com. 31 May. 2016 <http://www.encyclopedia.com>.

"Attorney." West's Encyclopedia of American Law. 2005. Encyclopedia.com. (May 31, 2016). http://www.encyclopedia.com/doc/1G2-3437700401.html

"Attorney." West's Encyclopedia of American Law. 2005. Retrieved May 31, 2016 from Encyclopedia.com: http://www.encyclopedia.com/doc/1G2-3437700401.html

attorney

attorney, agent put in place of another to manage particular affairs of the principal. An attorney in fact is an agent who conducts business under authority that is controlled and limited by a written document called a letter, or power, of attorney granted by the principal. An attorney at law is an officer of a court of law authorized to represent the person employing him (the client) in legal proceedings. England retains the distinction between the attorney as agent, the solicitor, who deals directly with the client but does not act as an advocate in court, and the attorney as pleader, the barrister (called advocate in Scotland), who presents the case in court. Most senior and distinguished barristers are designated King's (Queen's) counsel. The distinction between agent and pleader also exists in Europe. In the United States, a similar distinction was formerly made in some states between a counselor at law, who argued the case in court, and an attorney, who prepared the case but did not argue it; but that distinction has now generally disappeared. Today an attorney at law is authorized to exercise all the functions of a practicing lawyer. The growth of large business corporations, beginning in the 19th cent., has brought into existence a large group of attorneys who rarely or never act as trial lawyers yet are among the most influential members of the profession. They work directly for corporations or are members of large law firms and specialize in areas of commercial law. All of them must, however, like the ordinary attorney, be admitted to the bar. The term attorney is also used for county, state, and federal prosecuting officers, as county attorney, district attorney, and attorney general (see Justice, United States Department of).

See M. Mayer, Lawyers (1967); K. L. Hall, ed., The Legal Profession (1987).

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"attorney." The Columbia Encyclopedia, 6th ed.. 2016. Encyclopedia.com. 31 May. 2016 <http://www.encyclopedia.com>.

"attorney." The Columbia Encyclopedia, 6th ed.. 2016. Encyclopedia.com. (May 31, 2016). http://www.encyclopedia.com/doc/1E1-attorney.html

"attorney." The Columbia Encyclopedia, 6th ed.. 2016. Retrieved May 31, 2016 from Encyclopedia.com: http://www.encyclopedia.com/doc/1E1-attorney.html

attorney

at·tor·ney / əˈtərnē/ • n. (pl. -neys) 1. a person appointed to act for another in business or legal matters. 2. a lawyer. DERIVATIVES: at·tor·ney·ship / ship/ n.

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"attorney." The Oxford Pocket Dictionary of Current English. 2009. Encyclopedia.com. 31 May. 2016 <http://www.encyclopedia.com>.

"attorney." The Oxford Pocket Dictionary of Current English. 2009. Encyclopedia.com. (May 31, 2016). http://www.encyclopedia.com/doc/1O999-attorney.html

"attorney." The Oxford Pocket Dictionary of Current English. 2009. Retrieved May 31, 2016 from Encyclopedia.com: http://www.encyclopedia.com/doc/1O999-attorney.html

attorney

attorney2 legal agency (in letter, power of attorney). XV. — OF. atornée, sb. use of fem. pp. of atorner (see prec.).

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T. F. HOAD. "attorney." The Concise Oxford Dictionary of English Etymology. 1996. Encyclopedia.com. 31 May. 2016 <http://www.encyclopedia.com>.

T. F. HOAD. "attorney." The Concise Oxford Dictionary of English Etymology. 1996. Encyclopedia.com. (May 31, 2016). http://www.encyclopedia.com/doc/1O27-attorney1.html

T. F. HOAD. "attorney." The Concise Oxford Dictionary of English Etymology. 1996. Retrieved May 31, 2016 from Encyclopedia.com: http://www.encyclopedia.com/doc/1O27-attorney1.html

attorney

attorney1 legal agent. XIV. — OF. atorné, sb. use of pp. of atorner assign, appoint, f. a- AD- + torner TURN.

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T. F. HOAD. "attorney." The Concise Oxford Dictionary of English Etymology. 1996. Encyclopedia.com. 31 May. 2016 <http://www.encyclopedia.com>.

T. F. HOAD. "attorney." The Concise Oxford Dictionary of English Etymology. 1996. Encyclopedia.com. (May 31, 2016). http://www.encyclopedia.com/doc/1O27-attorney.html

T. F. HOAD. "attorney." The Concise Oxford Dictionary of English Etymology. 1996. Retrieved May 31, 2016 from Encyclopedia.com: http://www.encyclopedia.com/doc/1O27-attorney.html

attorney

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"attorney." Oxford Dictionary of Rhymes. 2007. Encyclopedia.com. 31 May. 2016 <http://www.encyclopedia.com>.

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"attorney." Oxford Dictionary of Rhymes. 2007. Retrieved May 31, 2016 from Encyclopedia.com: http://www.encyclopedia.com/doc/1O233-attorney.html

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