Duty Lawyer Law and Legal Definition

A duty lawyer is a lawyer who offers services on a volunteer basis. Often, they represent clients who meet income eligibility requirements. There may be a small fee for the duty lawyer service, which may be lowered if the defendant is unemployed or waived in cases of financial hardship.

The duty lawyer is able to give general advice to defendants about the type of plea to enter, any defense they might have, and potential penalties, among other matters. They may or may not be allowed to represent the defendant at their hearing in court. Typicallly, they serve to provide free advice and/or representation in urgent matters to people who have not been able to arrange legal representation. Specific authority and policies vary by jurisidiction.