Harville-Stein Law Offices, LLC


FOLEY, AL 36535
Phone: 251.979.6641




Lawyer, Attorney, What's the Difference?

By Dean D. Stein, CMA

Attorney has been defined as “an agent or someone authorized to act for another” while, according to Black's Law Dictionary, a Lawyer is “a person learned in the law”. In certain jurisdictions like Japan, Sri Lanka and the U.S., Attorney has been called the “official” name for a Lawyer. Under the English Court system, there were courts of law and courts of equity. In the U.S., these two types of courts were merged into one, and most courts here have legal powers and equitable powers. The difference between the two areas of law is a topic for another discussion. So, in old England, Attorneys were those who practiced in common law, or legal courts, and what became called “Solicitors” practiced in equity courts. Now in England Attorneys are referred to as Solicitors in either court. To add one more title, consider “Barrister”. Again, from England and Wales, the Barrister can specialize in an area of law, is consulted by Attorneys, can appear in court to advocate for a client when directed by the Attorney, but cannot conduct litigation, that is done exclusively by the Attorney. Ok, so my pick, Attorney. I like the idea of my role as the person “authorized to act for another” as opposed to only being “learned in the law”. I think it is one thing to understand what the law is, and entirely another to apply it to your client's situation and “act” for them. But, is there any real difference in the title? Not really, just one of preference. Call them Attorneys or call them Lawyers, there are still 760,000 of them making a living practicing law in the U.S.A., 16,000 in Alabama, and we add 800 more in Alabama each year!

This article is generally based on Alabama law, the law of your state can vary widely. This is not intended to constitute, nor should be taken by you as legal advice and is not intended and does not create an attorney/client relationship.

Dean Stein, CMA, is an attorney who has a Masters degree in business and is a Certified Management Accountant (CMA).


© 2015 - Harville-Stein Law Offices, LLC- All Rights Reserved. Website by Lyons Computers