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What is a Kentucky Lawyer?
A Kentucky lawyer is an attorney who is barred in the state of Kentucky and is permitted to practice law within the state. In order to be a Kentucky lawyer an individual must have graduated from an accredited law school within the United States or have done comparable training that meets the standard requirement of the Kentucky Bar Association. In order to be barred in the state of Kentucky a Kentucky lawyer must have passed the bar exam, the MPRE and have passed the character and fitness evaluation performed by the state.
The bar exam in Kentucky is a two day exam. The first day involves 6 essay questions prepared by the Kentucky Board of Bar Examiners as well as another 6 multi-state essay questions. The 6 Kentucky specific essays are state specific ant the latter 6 are based on federal law. The second day of the bar exam in Kentucky is the Multi-State Bare Exam. This exam consists of 200 multiple choice questions taken by applicants throughout the United States. The topics covered in the multi-state bar exam include:
■ criminal law & procedure
■ constitutional law
In addition to passing the bar exam, to be a Kentucky lawyer an applicant must pass the Multi-State Professional Responsibility Exam, or MPRE. The MPRE is a standardized 60 multiple choice question exam that gauges an applicants ability to understand and implement ethical situations dealing with the practice of law. The questions encompass areas including fees, advertising, privileges, disclosure and a number of other issues that examine the applicants ability to practice law. Kentucky requires a passing score of 75 in order to become a Kentucky Lawyer barred in the state.
The final step to becoming a Kentucky Lawyer is to meet the character and fitness qualifications of the Kentucky Bar Association. Due to the high position of responsibility that comes with the privilege of practicing law each state requires an individual to submit a character and fitness form that is evaluated by a state commission. This form will consist of all relevant information that will enable the bar association to investigate the applicant and determine whether they are worthy of the ability to practice law. The bar association will ask for all relevant information including criminal record, previous addresses, educational background and military service. The character and fitness commission will also request fingerprinting and official transcripts from educational institutions. As a Kentucky Lawyer, an individual is held to higher standard of conduct because of the ability of an attorney to take advantage of those individuals who are not familiar with the law.
Where can I find if a Kentucky Lawyer is in good standing?
If you are contemplating hiring a Kentucky Lawyer it is best to do your own homework first. You will want to make sure that the kentucky lawyer who is going to represent you is properly licensed and in good standing in the state. If you want to find information on the standing of a Kentucky Lawyer you should go to kybar.org/ which is the site of the Kentucky Bar Examiners office. They may also be contacted at 859-246-2381. By going to the website you will be able to locate a specific Kentucky Lawyer, by name, and uncover any information concerning his or her ability to practice law in the state.
How do I report Disciplinary Action against Kentucky Lawyers
Disciplinary actions against Kentucky Lawyers are serious matters. Kentucky Lawyers are responsible for upholding the ethical and legal aspects of the profession on a 24/7 basis. If a Kentucky lawyer is not upholding his ethical responsibilities or is deficient in his or her ability to represent you then that matter should be brought to the attention of the Kentucky Bar Association. Upon the filing of a complaint the Kentucky Bar Association will assign the complaint to an Inquiry Commission; an independent body appointed by the Kentucky Supreme Court to receive and process complaints. If the Inquiry Commission feels that there is a legitimate complaint then they will forward their investigation to the Office of Bar Counsel for prosecution. At all times from the beginning of an investigation up to the prosecution for disciplinary action by the Office of Bar Counsel the matter is confidential.
If the complaint results in disciplinary action against the Kentucky Lawyer then the matter will become public record that can be discovered on the Kentucky Bar Associations website.
To report disciplinary complaints to the Kentucky Bar Association you can go call one of the members of the ethics committee at kybar.org/kybar/ethics.hotline.comm. There you will find a list of committee member phone numbers to report violations.
The Kentucky Court System
Before hiring a Kentucky lawyer you want to know where you will be litigating. The availability of your Kentucky Lawyer will depend on how far he or she will have to travel to prepare depositions, interview witness, investigate and appear in court. You may also want to consider filing in a court that will be more accessible to witnesses that are essential to the case.
The Kentucky state court system is divided into three levels. Kentucky has a number of district courts and a circuit court that hears appeals from the district courts. After that there is the Appellate division in Frankfurt which hears appeals for lower courts. Finally there is the Supreme Court of Kentucky, the highest court in the state.
The federal court system in Kentucky is divided into 2 courts, the Federal Court for the Eastern District of Kentucky is in Lexington and the Federal Court for the Western District of Kentucky is located in Louisville. Federal appeals from these district courts are held at the 6th Circuit Court of Appeals which hears appeals for Ohio, Kentucky, Michigan and Kentucky. The Court is located in Cincinnati, Ohio.
Due to the proximity of Kentucky to other states in the Union it is important to make sure that your attorney practices in Kentucky.
What questions should I ask a Kentucky Lawyer?
When you are interviewing Kentucky Lawyers about possible representation you should have a number of specific questions ready to ask, including:
■ Where did you go to law school?
■ Are you barred in the state of Kentucky?
■ Have you ever been disciplined by an bar association?
■ How often do you handle cases like mine?
■ Will you be handling my case personally?
■ What do you see as the problem with my case?
■ What do you see as the result of this litigation?
■ Are you familiar with the court procedures and personnel in the filing jurisdiction?