Pictured: Larry Miller, Speaker Host, and Bill Bennett, Attorney at Law.
In October Rotarians celebrate Vocational Service Month by inviting speakers to talk about their professions. Bill Bennett, a local lawyer, described to club members what he does during a typical year.
Mr. Bennett has been practicing law for 37 years. He explained that legal work in a small town is different from legal work in a big city. In large metropolitan areas, lawyers specialize in a particular branch of the law. In a small town, a lawyer is more of a generalist. For some lawyers, being a generalist is much more interesting than specializing.
Much of Bennett’s work involves real estate. His work in this area has increased due to the oil and gas boom. Real estate is one of the most labor intensive types of work because it can involve a lot of research such as identifying who owns the mineral rights attached to a specific piece of property.
For 18 years, Bennett has served as an acting judge in Municipal Court where he substitutes for Judge John Mark Nicolson. The Municipal Court handles misdemeanors such as speeding, domestic crime, and shoplifting.
Another aspect of Bennett’s work is divorce cases. Lawyers are needed to deal with complications caused by factors such as child and spousal support and child custody. Other factors considered in establishing the amount of support include length of marriage and difference of income earned by wife and husband. Bennett stated that no one is ever completely happy with the final decision.
Like most lawyers, Bennett also represents people who have been accused of a crime. He stated if the prosecutor, the police, and the defense lawyer all do their jobs the U.S legal system works. A defense lawyer does his or her job when they insure a defendant’s rights are protected.
Bennett summed up by saying that one of the challenges of being a lawyer in a small town is maintaining relationships with other people involved in practicing law. This is especially important since there are only about 20-30 lawyers in the county. Most work with one another frequently.
Bennett pointed out that people often think that most of a lawyer’s time is spent appearing in court and pleading cases. In reality, 90% of lawyer’s work is research. Another important part of being a lawyer is holding people’s hands when they are involved in an emotional situation that will affect their life drastically
Connect with Byesville Rotary at: www.Byesvillerotary.blogspot.com or https://www.facebook.com/pages/Byesville-Rotary/256548047818283. The club meets 7:30 am, Tuesday at the Stop Nine Senior Center at 60313 (GPS use 60299) Southgate Road, Byesville. Call Membership Chair Jim Vaughan, 740-432-5605, to learn more about how to join.