One of the many questions we get asked at our offices in Fort Worth is, “What is the difference between an attorney and a Lawyer?”. It is easy to mix one with another, especially if you don’t have a lot of knowledge in the field. However, when you find yourself involved with a problem, it is important to know what means what, in order to find the right attorney to help you. One of the most common confusions nowadays regards two groups of professionals, attorneys and lawyers and even divorce and child support legal issues, as both of them perform similar jobs.
The general confusion between the terms exists because, in a lot of cases, the two terms are used interchangeably, especially in the US. In other regions, one is simply a substitute for the other. Be that as it may, the two terms are not completely identical. While both lawyers and attorneys can be defined as people that have an education in the field of law, there is one essential difference between the two categories: attorneys have to sit through a BAR exam, upon which they will be able to profess in their field of choice, while lawyers are individuals that have the same education, but did not take the specialized BAR exam, which means they are limited in what they can do. Here are some additional information on the differences between lawyer and attorney from Lawyeredu and Quora that will help you.
Lawyers have one great limitation compared to attorneys:
They cannot legally represent someone in front of a court. By not sitting through a BAR exam, and thus not having the certification in the certain field, a lawyer can only advise and conciliate a client, having no right to legally represent him. To get a clear idea what this means, imagine a case in a court where the accused has someone speaking in his name, making a case, and trying to defend him – that’s the attorney. A lawyer could only provide advice to the accused on what to say, but would have no right to speak on his behalf. This limitation makes lawyers a good pick for simple cases, whereas attorneys will be preferred when things escalate.
Given the fact that the jobs of attorneys and lawyers are so similar, their fields of activity are nearly identical. The actual tasks within those fields of activity may differ though, as lawyers will usually be more preoccupied with talking with the clients to determine the problem and drafting the paperwork. If things cannot be solved simply, lawyers will usually file a motion with a court, and attorneys will step in from there.
Overall, you could say that attorneys and lawyers do not compete with each other; instead, what they really do is complete each other.