Legal representation refers to the function of a licensed attorney in representing an individual or business in court proceedings. The attorney will argue the case on the client's behalf, and in many cases will speak entirely for the client to ensure that the case is presented properly, and in his or her favor. An individual might secure legal representation for a number of different reasons; criminal trials, for example, or even for more minor issues such as divorces or lawsuits, just to name a few. It is important that the client and the lawyer are able to work successfully together and have an honest partnership free of any conflicts of interest; otherwise, an individual might need to find a different lawyer.
A client seeking legal representation should be prepared to pay for it. Legal fees and the hourly fees charged by a lawyer can vary drastically depending on the type of case and the extent of the work required, but is generally fairly expensive. Some lawyers will work with clients to create payment plans, but this is relatively rare. Other lawyers might take on certain cases pro bono, or a public defender might be assigned to defend an individual in a trial if he or she cannot afford legal representation.
It is the job of the attorney to protect the interests of the client while not compromising his or her own ethical beliefs or doing anything illegal. This is why it is important for clients to be completely honest with their lawyers, and to communicate regularly to fully understand what is happening in the case or to share new information. If a conflict of interest is discovered, or the attorney learns that pertinent information is being withheld, he or she is within her rights to withdraw legal representation, and require the client to find someone else. The attorney may or may not assist the client in finding a new source of legal representation, but generally must surrender any documents related to the case.
When seeking legal representation, it is important to meet with the attorney first in order to verify that he or she is competent and will do a good job representing the client's interests. Some attorneys will offer free consultations, which can be a good time to determine this. A good attorney will be happy to answer questions and discuss any concerns, as well as sharing the details of the case every step of the way, and will keep all discussions confidential.