HomeBlogWhat is the Difference Between a Lawyer and an Attorney?

What is the Difference Between a Lawyer and an Attorney?

There is no difference between a lawyer and an attorney, and both titles are used for individuals who are licensed to represent and advise others on legal issues. 

This is similar to how the words “medical doctor” and “physician” are used interchangeably. The word attorney is typically used more in the United States than the rest of the world, and the term lawyer is used all over the world, including the United States.

Difference between a lawyer and an attorney

How to become a Lawyer?

In order to become a lawyer most countries require attending law school and passing a certification exam. However some jurisdictions, such as the U.S. States of California and Vermont, do not require law school attendance. A person can instead get a legal apprenticeship and obtain the required hours, and then take the certification exam.

Whether a person becomes a lawyer or not, understanding the origins of the two words lawyer and attorney is important.

Meaning of the Word Lawyer

The word lawyer has Middle English meaning and typically applies to someone who is trained in law. Adding the “-er” suffix to a word is common in many other jobs. For example, a person that trains others is called a “trainer” and a person that markets and advertises the services of companies is called a “marketer”.

Meaning of the Word Attorney

The word Attorney has French origins. Today individuals that practice law in France and French speaking countries such as Haiti are called avocats. Unlike what is commonly believed lawyers do not argue, they instead advocate on behalf of their clients. Calling individuals that are authorized to practice law “avocats” makes perfect sense, just as adding the “-er” suffix for the word lawyer for those practicing law in many English speaking countries.

Other Names for Lawyers 

Lawyers are called many things around the world. Common names include:

  1. Solicitors and Barristers in the UK,
  2. Esquire, often abbreviated to Esq., 
  3. Advocate,
  4. Counsel, and others.

The difference between a lawyer and an attorney is just a variation.

It is important to remember that while there are a variety of names used to describe people that practice law, we should also focus on ways to ensure lawyers are providing good legal service to their clients. Always seek quality legal representation for your legal matters because the law impacts every aspect of our society. As we become more of a connected world, the legal profession will need quality lawyers to solve the increasingly complex legal matters.

For more legal educational content, please visit our blog.

Geremy Johnson
Geremy Johnsonhttps://www.geremyjohnson.com/
Geremy is a lawyer based in the United States focused on global development pertaining to privacy and compliance, capacity-building through partnerships and trainings, and supporting cultural development projects for increased tourism. He began his career as an Assistant District Attorney (ADA) for the City of Philadelphia, later moving on to help global startups and small and medium sized businesses with holistic legal strategies to launch and run operations.


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