No matter where you are in the world, there is a fat chance that you heard the terms “attorney” and “lawyer”. We are sure you have. It need not always be a great memory because we look for lawyers when in trouble, mostly. However, at some point or the other people tend to use these words interchangeably. We do so because we do not understand the distinction between an attorney vs. lawyer.
A Window Into The Reality
Let us give you a quick look into the reality. These two terms, “attorney” and “lawyer,” are not really synonymous or interchangeable. In fact, you could say that they hold completely different meanings. If you continue to used one word to describe the other, know that you are not alone. However, we can always rectify our mistakes. There is no need to fret about it.
In this article, we aim to shed light on the little differences that set an attorney apart from a lawyer. Through it, we will make the attorney vs. lawyer stance very clear.
Additionally, these distinctions extend beyond mere words. That is exactly why we will delve into their distinct roles and responsibilities. Remember, both of these are legal experts at the end of the day.
Attorney VS Lawyer Differences
There are many ways you can use in understanding the difference between an attorney vs. lawyer. One of these ways is being able to understand the etymology of these two terms. That will be able to tell you the kind of distinction which exists between these two words.
Even though these two words refer to a person with substantial education in law, it might be hard to understand the technical differences between them. Once you know the technical differences between the words attorney vs. lawyer, here are some of them.
The Word Lawyer:
Surprisingly, the term “lawyer” has its initial roots in Middle English. Back in the days, people used this word to describe a person who knew the law well. Such a person, ideally, had a deep understanding of the laws of the land.
Even back then, lawyers used to undergo extensive legal education, like today. Much like them today one has to attend law school and pass the bar exams. This title of “lawyer” comes to only such a person who completes a specific level of legal education.
Now, a lawyer is a broad term that can refer to anyone who has completed a legal education. They have the necessary qualifications to practice law. Today, lawyers perform all sorts of legal services. You can go to them for legal advice. They can even represent you in court, if need be.
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The Word Attorney:
The term “advocate” has quite a history. It gets its roots in Middle English. Back in the days, people used it to describe someone who knew their way around the law. An advocate is person who also has extensive legal education. Typically, the attend law school. They become an advocate after passing the bar exams.
Therefore, the most basic interpretation of the word attorney is someone who is a practitioner in a court of law. Thus, for someone to be termed as an attorney he or she must first of all be well educated in law. Other than that, the person has to be practicing in a credible court of law and most importantly representing clients.
A Bit Into Detail
From the description above you can clearly see the differences between attorney vs. lawyer. Even though these two professionals are educated in the same way, there are some differences between them. For instance, a lawyer is just educated in law but does not need to be practicing or acting on behalf of clients.
Actually, there are so many lawyers who are well trained and capable but have never stepped in a court of law representing a client. An attorney on the other side has to be representing clients for him or her to be deemed as such.
Attorney VS. Lawyer Difference In Roles
Having looked at the differences which exist between an attorney vs. a lawyer, it is now time to look at the roles they play. From this description, it is easy to tell that there are also some differences in the roles played by attorney vs. lawyer. For purposes of understanding, this text also takes you through some of these differences.
Even though a lawyer is someone who has gone to school with full knowledge of the law, they do not need to be practicing in a court of law. Some of them choose other law-related tasks like offering legal counsel to people or even acting as advisors.
However, that does not mean that they cannot appear in a court of law, actually, they can. In fact, many of them do exactly that. However, there is no obligation on them to appear in a court of law at any given time. So, some of them choose not to go to any court either when representing a client or any other role that requires them to appear there in their capacity as lawyers.
However, they can still appear in a court of law as either a witness in their individual capacity and not a lawyer. Other than that, these lawyers can also appear in courts of law as plaintiffs which have been the case many times in many jurisdictions.
Attorneys are not any different from ordinary lawyers as some people tend to think. Actually, these people go to the same school and take the same training in law. However, the only difference in the case of an attorney is the fact they have to be practicing in a court of law for them to be regarded as attorneys.
Just like lawyers, attorneys are under an obligation to not just practice in a court of law but also abide by the code of conduct of lawyers. This means these lawyers have to abide by the highest code of ethics as required by law. If found to be contravening these codes, the attorneys might have a revocation of their license.
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Attorney VS Lawyer Experience
Judging by what attorney vs. lawyer you might find it hard to tell who the right man for the job is.
Well in such a case you might need to specify what kind of experience you need. If you need someone who has been to court many times then an attorney should be the right man for you. These people spend a lot of their time in courts accruing experience in the process.
If you are one of the people who want to know the differences between an attorney vs. lawyer consider reading the text above. The text provides you with all the details you might need about these two professionals.