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Lawyers and Attorneys are the Same Thing
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“Lawyer” means the same thing as “attorney”.

Don’t believe that!

The terms “lawyer” and “attorney” are often used interchangeably in the United States, even by those in the profession. In fact, they have somewhat different meanings.

A lawyer is one who advises clients on legal matters or represents them in a court of law. Any law school graduate is considered a lawyer; however, that individual is not permitted to perform certain functions such as court representation, until they have passed the bar exam.

An attorney, as in “power of attorney,” is anyone who has been granted the legal authority to act on another’s behalf. Attorneys do not even have to be lawyers! If also a lawyer, they are formally known as an “attorney-at-law.”

The confusion of these two terms in the U.S. probably derives from the abbreviation of “attorney-at-law” to just “attorney.” Most other countries provide a clearer distinction between these titles.

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