Wednesday, September 01, 2004

LAWYER VS. ATTORNEY - Which do you use?

Today, on my favorite ListServ, there was banter about the usage of "lawyer" versus "attorney." The answer was as follows:

According to the Associated Press Stylebook (which journalists and PR professionals defer to when making copy decisions):

attorney, lawyer entry:
"In common usage the words are interchangeable. Technically, however, an attorney is someone (usually, but not necessarily, a lawyer) empowered to act for another. Such an individual occasionally is called an attorney in fact. A lawyer is a person admitted to practice in a court system. Such an individual occasionally is called an attorney at law."

lawyer entry:
"A generic term for all members of the bar. An attorney is someone legally appointed or empowered to act for another, usually, but not always, a lawyer. An attorney at law is a lawyer. A barrister is an English lawyer who is specially trained and appears exclusively as a trial lawyer in higher courts. He is retained by a solicitor, not directly by the client. There is no equivalent term in the United States. Counselor, when used in a legal sense, means a person who conducts a case in court, usually, but not always, a lawyer. A counselor at law is a lawyer. Counsel frequently is used collectively for a group of counselors. A solicitor in England is a lawyer who performs legal services for the public. A solicitor appears in lower courts but does not have the right to appear in higher courts, which are reserved to barristers. A solicitor in the United States is a lawyer employed by a governmental body. Solicitor is generally a job description, but in some agencies it is a formal title. Solicitor general is the formal title for a chief law officer (where there is no attorney general) or for the chief assistant to the law officer (when there is an attorney general). Capitalize when used before a name. Do not use lawyer as a formal title."

Just some good food for thought!

2 comments :

Anonymous said...

You wouldn't be willing to post the name of the listerv, would you?

Stacy said...

These are great definitions and explanations of each term. A lot of people are confused about the difference between a lawyer and an attorney and this clarifies it. Great job!

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