Attorney VS Lawyer Definition

In United States, attorney vs lawyer terms are frequently used interchangeably. The two terms have very small distinction. Unlike in other countries, the difficulty to differentiate the terms is only available in Unites States.

Qualifications for a Lawyer


Someone who learn and get training in law can be called as a lawyer. However, a lawyer may not really practice law. The works can be giving legal advice or something else related to legal. Someone can be thought as a lawyer after she/ he attend a law school in US. To practice law and then providing legal representation, a law student should pass bar examination in their specific jurisdiction or the opportunities of the law education using will be limited.

Qualifications for an Attorney


Attorney is a term used to call a lawyer that has been official in United States. In everyday conversation, the official lawyer is specifically called as attorney at law. This term was firstly used in 1768. It is defined as a law court practitioner that is qualified to take legal and defend actions legally in the court on the client’s retainer.

Attorney is an English word origins from French. The meaning of this word is someone who acts for someone else as a deputy or agent. Attorneys must practice law in court, whilst lawyers may or may not practice law in court. To become an attorney, someone should pass a bar examination and then get the law practice approval in his/ her jurisdiction.

Even though attorney vs lawyeris commonly used as a synonym, but an attorney must be a lawyer, yet a lawyer is not essentially an attorney. The two terms may be applied interchangeably in general public, but the distinction is important to the American Bar Association.

Other Common Distinctions


More specific distinctions come out in other law jurisdictions like England and Wales. The distinctions come from those who make law practices in court and those who don’t, like barristers, solicitors, and advocates, and public notaries in some countries. They are all different from attorneys.

Solicitors are lawyers that prepare legaldocuments and provide legal advice to their clients. In US history, solicitor was a lawyer who worked for cases in equity court, whilst attorney was handling cases in law court.

Additionally, barristers are those who will be needed by solicitors when court appearance required. So their works are not directly with clients but getting solicitors’ referrals. Solicitors commonly work as the assistant of barrister to prepare the case from the outside of the court. Meanwhile, advocate is barrister’s another term in English jurisdictions based on law. So, now you know the distinction of attorney vs lawyer and other related terms.

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