Lawyer vs. Attorney – What Makes Them Different From Each Other?

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By Rebecca

First, Understand the terminology of a lawyer vs attorney to clarify your mindset about the difference between a lawyer and an attorney. However, both terms refer to someone educated in law to implement the articles in various cases. When we compare the lawyer vs attorney, we must know about them completely. 

It is clearly defined to remember that every attorney is a lawyer, but not every lawyer is an attorney. The major difference between a lawyer and an attorney is that attorneys represent clients in the court of law and other legal proceedings. In contrast, lawyers do not because they still need to pass the bar exam.

Who is called a lawyer?

When a person completes law school and is trained in law is known as a lawyer. Law school provides three years of full-time study beyond an undergraduate degree. Lawyers don’t have to practice law in court to be considered lawyers. Lawyers may take on roles as consultants or advisors.

 They provide legal advice but cannot represent clients in court because they still need to complete and pass the bar exam. A lawyer who does not have membership in a state bar may not represent clients in a court of law or other legal proceedings. 

Who is called an attorney?

A person who graduated from law school and passed the bar exam in the state to practice law is known as an attorney. An attorney is a legal representation for clients in a court of law. Attorneys have taken an oath as a member of a state bar.

Additional duties of an attorney are interpreting federal and state laws, applying their knowledge of the law to meet the needs of their clients, and keeping records of their clients and other legal professionals. Attorneys have the license and the right to practice law. 

Read more: How Lawyers Make Money – A complete guide.

Career options for a lawyer

Here are some job opportunities you may consider if you want to be a lawyer;

  1. Legal officer
  2. Lawyer
  3. Legal counsel lawyer

1- legal officer

A lawyer can be a legal officer. A legal officer deals with all the legal affairs of an organization and handles internal and external legal affairs and concerns. The major duty of a legal officer is to provide legal advice. He also performs research, processes and develops legal documents, and identifies potential organizational risks.

2- lawyer

The lawyer vs attorney interprets rulings and regulations. They prepare legal documents for their clients under the light of the law. The lawyers advise others, including individuals, businesses, and government agencies.

3- legal counsel layer

Legal counsel lawyers provide advisory services and guidance to any specific business, organization, or corporation. A Legal Counsel lawyer is a general lawyer who handles all legal matters within the company. They do not work independently. They work to ensure laws with management and employees within their business.

Career options for an attorney

Here are some jobs options you may consider as an attorney:

  1. Staff Attorney 
  2. Litigation Attorney
  3. Patent attorney

1- staff attorney

A staff attorney works for a specific organization as a member of its staff and is responsible for managing the legal services needed by that company. Duties include performing analysis and research of legal issues and laws, providing training for professional development, managing contracts and employment agreements, and protecting an organization’s legal rights.

2- litigation attorney

Litigation attorneys represent their clients in court cases, mediations, administrative law proceedings, and arbitrations. They spend their time preparing to present cases in court, reviewing past cases, preparing paperwork, meeting new clients, and handling complex legal needs.

3- patent attorney

A patent attorney helps inventors negotiate for and obtain the legal rights to their inventions. They inform their clients about what to include in their intellectual property, and they often draft patent applications. They may also represent their clients in cases of patent infringement.


Lawyer vs attorney completes law school with three years of undergraduate degrees. In contrast, an attorney does graduations and passes the bar exam. These two terms are used interchangeably, but they have different meanings. The term lawyer can refer to anyone trained in the law but needs a license to practice the law in court. In contrast, the term attorney refers to a lawyer licensed to practice law.

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