Clients often incorrectly assume their case will be tried in a state courtroom, when in reality they may be facing a federal judge or jury. In fact, criminal and civil matters filed in federal district courts increased by 13 percent in 2020, with almost half a million filings.
Not all attorneys are entitled to practice in federal courts. First, an attorney must be admitted to the federal bar of their state’s district. At Sieben Edmunds Miller, all of our attorneys have proudly gone through the process of being recommended and ultimately approved to appear in Minnesota’s federal courts. Here’s more on what that means for the firm and our clients.
What is the federal bar?
The federal bar actually refers to lawyers that may appear in any of a number of federal district courts in the U.S. This is a smaller number than those who can appear in state courts. The federal courts have jurisdiction over cases that raise a “federal question” involving the United States Government, the U.S. Constitution, or other federal laws; and cases involving “diversity of citizenship,” which are disputes between two parties (or an insurance company) not from the same state or country, and where the claim meets a set dollar threshold for damages. Federal courts hear both criminal and civil cases, as well as federal appeals. All of Sieben Edmunds Miller’s attorneys are now admitted to both the Minnesota state bar and the U.S. District Court of Minnesota.
What kind of criminal cases are tried in Federal court?
Criminal cases must concern a federal law to be tried in federal court. Often, federal crimes include various drug charges, mail fraud, kidnapping, credit card fraud, bank robbery, tax evasion, and counterfeiting.
What kind of PI cases are tried in Federal court?
Personal injury cases are most often based on a state’s negligence laws, even in federal court. One of the most common ways for a federal court to gain jurisdiction over a personal injury case is under “diversity jurisdiction.” In diversity jurisdiction, the defendant is from a different state than the plaintiff. For example, you may find yourself in federal court if you’re a Minnesota resident who is injured by a negligent driver near your cabin in Wisconsin, or if one of the insurance companies involved in your case is not based in Minnesota, it is possible you will be in federal court.
As a criminal defense or personal injury lawyer, how does being admitted to the federal bar help clients?
Not all cases begin in federal court, but they may end up there. You want to make sure from the outset that your attorney is capable of handling your case from beginning to end. Obviously, if your case is already in federal court, you need to know your lawyer is qualified to represent you. At Sieben Edmunds Miller, we are proud to have qualified federal court attorneys.
Being admitted to the federal bar also allows our attorneys to access federal legal news, continuing legal education programs, and networking opportunities that help us become even more effective at representing our clients, both in state and federal courts.
Will My Case Be Tried In Federal Court?
If you’re unsure whether your case will be tried in a state or federal court, contact our attorneys for assistance. Wherever your criminal defense or personal injury case ends up, each of our attorneys is eligible to serve as your lawyer and help you seek a favorable outcome to your case.