Tuesday, November 9, 2010

What's the difference between a lawyer and an attorney?

In the United States, the terms lawyer and attorney are used as synonyms--that is, they are used interchangeably.   However, there is a difference between the two terms.

The term attorney is really short for "attorney-at-law" who is a member of the legal profession.  An attorney is licensed and qualified to represent a client in the court of law, act on behalf of the client (if given attorney powers), and defend a case in legal proceedings.

On the other hand, a lawyer is trained in law and provides advice on legal matters.  A lawyer also conducts suits in legal proceedings and represents clients similar to that of an attorney, which is the main reason why these two terms are typically interchanged.