The law is a law designed and enforced by governmental or civic bodies to govern behavior, with an emphasis on civil and human rights. It is often differentially defined as the art and science of law. It is the source of most governmental rules and legislation affecting private citizens. It also has important societal effects on the conduct of business activities. The law is a body of knowledge and rules that has developed over many years and continues to change with changing societal needs. Private rights and privileges are balanced by governmental duties and responsibilities in order to protect the individual and promote the orderly society.
The rules and laws developed within the legal system form a common law which affects all individuals, corporations and local governments. A number of these laws make up the machinery of government. Other laws regulate business activities and domestic and foreign trade. A major area of regulation is that of criminal law and punishment.
The area of civil law is primarily confined to disputes between individuals, including lawsuits for damages on personal property, contractual disputes and claims for breach of contract. Civil law also includes trusts, powers of attorneys and corporate matters such as corporation and limited liability. A major area of regulation is taxation. The laws governing property, estate and inheritance fall under civil law. Taxation is based on the valuation of property and the taxation of wealth.
Criminal law is a branch of civil law dealing with offenses against the state such as felonies and misdemeanors. Ordinary crimes are crimes that occur in the course of normal business transactions. Criminal law is further subdivided into special types of crime such as felony, misdemeanor and piracy. In addition, there are several special courts which have common jurisdiction over crime, including family court, probate court and state court.
The jurisdiction of the courts varies significantly from state to state. While family court deals with matters of minor children and juvenile delinquency, probate court deals with wills, estates, trusts and property laws. And the state court, which is the place where criminal defense lawyers are most likely to be found, is the venue in which most complex criminal cases are tried.
As noted above, many jurisdictions have written laws covering criminal defense matters. However, many other jurisdictions allow trial attorneys to establish standards of evidence and establish rules of procedure for their clients. Often these state-created evidentiary rules are construed by trial courts to be controlling. State courts are always open to requests for changes or modifications to existing evidentiary rules and trial courts are always open to modifying or altering existing statutes and laws as the need arises.
The property law and real property law are two complex fields. There are many differences between property law and real property law, even though they are both involved in resolving disputes over real property. One of the differences concerns who is responsible for paying a lien on a piece of real estate. If a dispute over the ownership of a piece of real estate were to go to court, the parties involved would likely select a real estate lien law firm to represent them. On the other hand, if a dispute was to arise over the ownership of property, a McDonald’s restaurant owner might seek legal counsel from a probate lawyer experienced in handling real estate law.
It must be noted that the bar exam success is based upon the test scores that candidates earn. In fact, bar exam scores are the only factor used to make the final selection of test takers. In most states, bar exam scores are not used at all, but licensing requirements are almost always present, and successful lawyers know that passing the bar exam is critical to their client retention.