Legal questions

I’ve been rereading QB VII now and some questions have come to mind.

  1. Is there a difference in the USofA between a Lawyer and an Attorney?

B. What is the difference in the UK between a Solicitor and a Barrister? Are there Lawyers and/or Attorneys there also?

  1. A Lawyer is someone admitted to the practice of law at the bar of one or more states and/or the federal government. In technical terms, an attorney is one person acting as plenipotentiary agent for another; an attorney-in-fact, who need not be and usually is not a lawyer, by virtue of a power of attorney granted him by his principal; an attorney-at-law, empowered to give legal advice and represent his principal (AKA client) in court. It describes a relationship, not an occupation. In practice, however, Lawyers in active practice predominantly function as Attorneys-at-Law for their clients. and hence use the term synonymously with Lawyer.

  2. Splicitors historically gave legal advice, drafted contracts and other agreements, and generally served as Lawyers to their clients. But when faced with the need to make a court appearance, they would “instruct” (i.e., brief) a Barrister, who alone could appear at the Bar in the client’s behalf. Today, Solicitors regularly appear in the lower courts pf the English system as a part of their representation of their clients, with Barristers predominatly specializing in arguing before the higher courts.

Both answers are subject to a lot of exception-taking, nuances, and so on, but are generally accurate first cuts at explaining historical and present-day usages of the terms.

Functionally, no. They have slightly different legal meanings, which differences are generally ignored – colloquially in American English, the terms are synonymous. A person licensed to practice law can be called attorney, lawyer, or counselor.

Only one, I’m pretty sure its the Barrister, can appear in court. the other can give legal advice but not make court appearances.

Polycarp has nailed it. However I will notice that Solicitors do have rights of audience in lower Courts and a class of specially qualified Solicitors called “Solicitor Advocates” can appear before the Senior Courts. They are however more properly termed as “Solicitor Inadequates”. Yes I am a Barrister…why do you ask?

Also, please note that there UK has three separate jurisdictions, England and Wales, N Ireland and Scotland. What has been said above is true only for England and Wales. In Scotland, they do not have Barristers, they have Advocates. The rights of Solicitors or Barrister/Advocates differ in the other jurisdictions.

This is called “split profession” if you are interested.

Thank you both. So, Rumpole of the Bailey was a Barrister, then?

  1. No difference in general use, for the most common meaning.

There are types of attorneys…

“Attorney in fact”, someone one person has granted power of attorney to the attorney in fact. The “attorney in fact” need not be qualified attorney.
attorney, UK solicitor: They’d be educated and registered, they may restrict themselves to one type of law, eg property purchases, eg civil only, eg criminal only by choice. They will by choice recommend trial attorneys for serious cases (eg a criminal trial attorney for a felony criminal case.) .

trial attorney, UK barrister. It means they will speak for you in serious court cases. They’d probably be restricted to one speciality, criminal or civil. Some may work in federal or appeals courts… There may be ruled about qualifications. eg Many state appeals courts require the trial attorney be registered for that court.
Trial attorneys don’t consult with clients directly very much - they take directions from clients attorney.

Attorney General , “United States Attorney” and others employed, contracted, or in public office, that perform public functions. Attorney Generals advise the congress or equiv. A “United States Attorney” directs the federal prosecutors, who prosecute on behalf of the federal government. States may have their own Big A Attorneys.
2. Unanwered was: Are there attorneys in the UK ?
A.the Power of Attorney “attorney in fact”,which may be what is meant in a UK TV show,if they just said “my Attorney”.
B. The Attorney General, who advises the parliament and the public service. via , or along side , the Solicitor General - The solicitor general is an elected member of parliament. In Australia the Attorney General is an elected MP, there is no Solicitor General.

Yes he was. One more thing. Judges are overwhelmingly appointed from the ranks of Senior Barristers, the first Solicitor to make High Court Judge was in 1994. Also there are about 10 solicitors to one Barrister.