What's the difference between a lawyer and an attorney?

About 2 IQ points?

Couldn’t resist.

I’ve got a J.D., and I always refer to myself as an “attorney” because whenever I say “lawyer,” people seem to think I’m saying “liar.” Too close for comfort…

In ‘Easy Rider’ Nicholson identified himself as ‘a lawur for the A Seal You.’

“Something inciteful that some one else once said”- Suhm Wonn (1397-1334)

My understanding was that when I graduated from law school I became a lawyer. When I passed the bar exam and was admitted to the bar, I became an attorney.

“Owls will deafen us with their incessant hooting!” W. Smithers


It’s useful to distinguich between an attorney at law and an attorney in fact. Black’s Law Dictionary defines them as:
attorney at law

attorney in fact

An attorney is simply defined as "an agent of substitute, or one who is appointed and authorized to act in the place or stead of another.

So, to be an attorney at law, you will need to be licensed to practice law. Thus, you can also call yourself a lawyer.
To be an attorney in fact, you need someone to grant you a power of attorney. You not need to be licensed to practice law to fit into this category.

The only real distinction in the US, is that pretentious lawyers prefer to be called attornies.

Everyone must be using the link,no one has brought up ‘barrister’.A truly disgusting breed, not only do they committ barritry they do it while wearing wigs and long silky robes, now that’s just sick.

“Something inciteful that some one else once said”- Suhm Wonn (1397-1334)

CKDH, is that YOU? The name change completely fooled me! ;).
And the answer to the original question is… about $100 an hour.

so that explains the paranoia, for 49 years I had never even seen the name C K Dexter Haven Then I came to SD and the paranoia seemed to decrease, in one post Dex has,BRB, there’s somebody in the closet, mmm, musta crept under the bed while i was typing.You can’t DO that dex, I was using some of your and nick’s groaners to justify mine,you’ll be hearing from my attornal, lawyering, barrium eating ,soliciters.( You’ll recognize them,the ones in the side split mini’s and fishnets. Besides you don’t fool me,just cause you put on a pair of glasses and comb that sissy forlock back.You may have that innocent Lois fooled, but I am friend of Lana and she says there’s one thing the man of steel can’t disguise. And i know your reading my mail with that x-ray vision.From now on when I come to Sd I am wearing my foil hat.

“Something inciteful that some one else once said”- Suhm Wonn (1397-1334)

How about the term Solicitor?

they should all serve a term. not less than 30 nor mor than 90 days in the place prepared for them by the state

It’s my understanding that the multiplicty of names for different types of lawyers (the generic term) derives from the multiplicity of courts that used to exist in England.

First, in the common law courts, there was the solicitor, who was hired by clients, gave the initial advice, filed the pleadings, and shepherded the matter along. If and when the case ever went to court, the solicitor hired the barrister (a much classier type of lawyer, higher up in the social standing) to go to court. The solicitor “instructed” the barrister, who appeared on behalf of the solicitor. Senior barristers in the common law courts could obtain the title of “serjeant” (and no, that’s not a typo - remember Sejeant Buzzfuzz who prosecuted the action for breach of promise against Mr. Pickwick?)

There was also the court of equity, called the Court of Chancery, since the senior judge in it was the Lord Chancellor of England. I believe the equivalent of a solicitor in that court was the attorney, who similarly instructed the barrister.

Other courts also existed, with other names for the lawyers. For example, probate and matrimonial matters were originally handled by the ecclesiastical courts of the Archbishop of Canterbury and the Archbishop of York. A lawyer practising in those courts was called a “proctor” (David Copperfield was articled to become a proctor).

When Parliament merged all of these different courts in the latter part of the 19th century, only the terms “barrister” and “solicitor” survived. The last serjeant died around 1890, and the proctors, attorneys, and so forth all joined the Law Society, becoming solicitors.

I respectfully disagree with mr john - not all barristers committ barratry (the tort of bringing a completely unmeritorious, vexatious action - although I admit that the bar on this issue has been consistently lowered over the years.) Also, not all barristers do it wearing silk - only a Queen’s Counsel (Q.C.) is entitled to wear silk. We common barristers get along with plain gowns (originally wool, now an equally scratchy synthetic). Wigs are required in the U.K., not in Canada; don’t know about other Commonwealth jurisdictions.

Also, respectfully disagree with Frankd6. The law degree is an academic qualification, but does not entitle you to say you are a lawyer (at least, not in my jurisidiction). “Lawyer” or “barrister and solicitor” are professional designations, meaning that you are holding yourself out to the world as being called to the bar and qualified to practise law. Maybe it’s different down south.

I don’t know why “attorney-at-law” survived in the U.S. It certainly is not used in Canada, possibly because we adopted the English reforms and so only use the terms “lawyers,” “barristers,” and “solicitors.” (Although some provinces, like Ontario, use the term “Crown Attorney.”) One difference is that we do not have the English divided profession. Lawyers here are both barristers and solicitors.

Nor do I understand why, in the democratic, egalitarian, republican United States, lawyers have this passion for “Esquire,” which is the remnant of a system of titles. (An esquire was originally a knight in training. The term began to be used in England by social climbers, trying to establish that they were members of the gentry, a gentleman.) I’ve rarely seen it used by lawyers in Canada, even though we have a queen.

And no, you can’t charge a solicitor with soliciting…

click here http://www.straightdope.com/mailbag/mattorney.html and you can read this (among other things)
‘As a side note, the British have several additional terms for people who
practice law. “Lawyer” is a general term describing all of them.
“Solicitors” do most of the office work, draft documents, talk to
clients, etc., and may only appear as advocates in the lower courts.
“Barristers” do most of the trial work, especially in the higher courts,
where they are the only ones who may act as advocates. “Attorney” has
pretty much the same meaning in Britain as in America–one who acts on
behalf of another.’

“Pardon me while I have a strange interlude.”-Marx

(face red, frantically waving Bible in air)
“Yea and Gawd shall send 'em to Hades, ever one! Esquars, barristers, soliciters: they shall ALL feel the flaming wrath of our Almighty Father!!!”
–Rev. Irksome B. Whitetrash
No, but seriously, folks. If we continue to make lawyer jokes, some lawyer is going to sue us. When he does, he will use his attorney.

If you look into enough dictionaries, you find that one definition of lawyer is simply a person learned in the law. When they tell law graduates that they are lawyers, they tend also to whisper that you shouldn’t mention this to other people. The people in charge of investigating the unauthorized practice of law frown upon law students calling themselves lawyers.

Well, to defend my position, I think we’ve agreed that one learned in law is a lawyer. Likewise, we seem to have reached the conclusion that an attorney is one who represents someone else. Therefore, when I received a law degree, I became a person learned in the law. However, it was not legal for me to represent other people (in court or otherwise). Therefore, I was not yet an attorney. When I passed the bar and received my license, I was allowed to begin representing others. I then became an attorney.

I can agree that the exact meanings of these words has become lost in current usage. However, there is a technical distinction, and I think I’ve captured it. So there.

“Owls will deafen us with their incessant hooting!” W. Smithers

An intersting point, frank, if them owls go to a licensed attorney and have a letter drawn up (and notorized or legalized or legitimized or what ever) granting me power of attorney in specified matters,when I act in their stead am I acting as their attorney,agent, or what?
mmm could it be as simple as ," A lawyer is just a plain ol’ bastard,where as and henceforth, subsiquently, to whit,an attorney is a legitimized bastard? speaking oh them owls Towhit! towhit! toooooo whhhhit towhittooo. (burrowing owl) Ah , who gives a hoot.

“Pardon me while I have a strange interlude.”-Marx

If the owls give you the power of attorney (whether you are a lawyer or not) you become their attorney-in-fact. This is different from being an attorney at (or as a matter of)law.

Give a hoot. Don’t transmogrify unadulterated bilateral cheese straighteners. Or else.

Hence the origin of the phrase, “The truth, the owl truth, and nothing but the truth…”

WOW! A multiple complicity,or multiplicty is the british term. Cross thread puns,intertopical barbs.Don’t take such chanceries. Have you no common law decency? mmm common mother in law? mother in common law? mother of communist law?

“Pardon me while I have a strange interlude.”-Marx

Not that it makes a dime’s worth of difference, but I always think of it as, once a lawyer, always a lawyer (i.e., done gradjeeated law school), while an attorney is one in active practice.