While many people use the words “attorney” and “lawyer” interchangeably, they in fact mean different things. Each holds varying rights and responsibilities, as well.
Obviously, the practices of “lawyer” and “attorney” have a lot alike. They both describe individuals that have received legal training and have earned a Juris Doctor (JD) degree. However, every attorney is a lawyer, but not all lawyers are attorneys.
What is a lawyer?
A lawyer is an individual that has finished law school, obtained a JD degree and someone that has not yet passed the Bar exam. If an individual has not yet passed the bar exam in the state in which he or she wishes to practice, he or she will not have the ability to represent clients in a court of law. To practice law, give legal guidance, and represent a client in a court of law, you are required to pass the bar exam.
If a person has not yet passed the law exam, while they can offer legal info, he or she can not interpret the federal and state laws to clients in regards to their legal issues.
What is an attorney?
The term attorney is an abbreviated form of the official title ‘attorney at law’. An attorney is an individual that has graduated from law school, has passed the bar exam in the state in which they want to practice law, and also belongs to the State Bar Association in the state in which he or she is practicing. Simplified, an attorney is someone who works as a practitioner in the court of law.
In the role of an attorney, an individual can:
What is attorney-client privilege?
As an attorney, you will participate in attorney-client privilege. Attorney-client privilege is a form of evidentiary law in most states that makes the interactions between attorneys and their clients privileged and classified. The privilege is insisted in the face of a legal demand for the correspondences, like a discovery request or a demand that the attorney testify under oath.
Specifically, the majority of state’s attorney client privilege laws say that:
There are some exceptions to the attorney-client privilege. For example, the privilege does not apply to any communications between a client and his/her attorney that are made to allow someone to commit a crime or fraud, or plan a crime or fraud.
While the privilege exists between an attorney and a client, it does not extend to lawyers and people they may be helping.
Being able to represent a client in a court of law is the most notable difference between an attorney and lawyer. If you have been formally educated in the field of law, but have not yet passed the bar exam, you are a lawyer. If you have graduated from law school, passed the bar exam, and are a member of the State Bar Association in the state in which you are licensed to practice law, you are an attorney.
When trying to find legal assistance, it’s important to know the difference between a lawyer and an attorney. Knowing the difference will help you pick the best legal representation for your needs. The team at Dunk Law Firm is committed to helping victims receive the best legal guidance and recovering damages from their accident.