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Home | Attorney Vs. Lawyer — What’s the Difference?

Attorney Vs. Lawyer — What’s the Difference?

by | Jun 18, 2022 | Personal Injury

Many people entering the legal system for the first time as clients often encounter lots of legal jargon and unfamiliar terms they should understand as their cases unfold. Two of the most basic legal terms everyone should know are “attorney” and “lawyer,” two words often used interchangeably to identify professional legal counsel. While it’s very common for these words to be used interchangeably, there are distinct differences in their definitions.

The technical definition of a lawyer is an individual qualified to practice law. This means they have completed a law degree, taken the bar exam, and passed. In addition, an attorney is a lawyer who has obtained a license to practice. For example, once a law student graduates with their degree and passes their bar exam, they are a lawyer, but once they obtain certification to practice law in a specific state, they become an attorney.

Does My Legal Representative’s Title Matter?

When you hire a personal injury attorney to represent you in a civil case or a defense attorney when faced with criminal charges, only a legal representative with certification to practice law in your state may represent you. Your legal representative technically qualifies as an attorney, and it is typically best to address them as such. However, most attorneys recognize that “lawyer” and “attorney” are colloquially interchanged terms and do not have any strict preferences regarding their titles.

If you are unsure how to address your legal counsel, simply ask them for their preference. Most attorneys do not mind being referred to as lawyers despite the formal distinctions between the two terms. However, when you know that an attorney is licensed to practice law, it’s generally best to refer to them as such to show recognition of their professional credentials.

Benefits of Legal Representation in a Civil Case

If you or someone you love suffered physical injuries and/or economic losses recently because of another party’s actions, you must secure legal counsel from an attorney that you trust. Working with an experienced personal injury attorney offers the best chance of success in your case, and they can identify avenues of compensation you may have overlooked on your own.

Filing any personal injury case requires meeting strict procedural rules with the court. Meeting these deadlines and other requirements while managing the effects of your injury can be extremely difficult. Working with an attorney means your legal representatives can handle preliminary case filings and other early procedural steps in your case. Ultimately, you are most likely to win a civil claim with the help of an experienced attorney, and you are more likely to maximize your final recovery.

Chris and Frank Accident Attorneys provides comprehensive legal representation in a wide range of cases to clients in Orange County, CA, and surrounding areas of Southern California. When you need a personal injury attorney you trust to assist you in navigating your case, our team is ready and able to handle the unique challenges your case presents.

How to Find a Good Attorney

When you need legal representation for any type of case, it is essential to find an attorney with solid experience managing cases similar to yours. You must also verify that the attorney is licensed to practice law in your state and is in good standing with their bar association.

Many attorneys offer free or low-cost consultations to potential new clients. Think of consultation as the chance to interview your potential lawyer before committing to letting them represent you. During a consultation with a prospective lawyer, ask them about their legal tactics and initial interpretation of your case. You should also ask if they notice any unique challenges or opportunities in your case that you will need to address later.

Ultimately, it’s best to choose an attorney with a solid professional record who instills you with the confidence you need for your case. Therefore, take time to evaluate an attorney’s professional record, legal philosophy, reviews from past clients, and their answers during your initial consultation before agreeing to representation.

Difference Between a Lawyer and an Attorney FAQs

Is It Better to Say Lawyer or Attorney?

Technically, it is best to refer to your legal counsel as your attorney since they must be licensed to practice law in your state. “Lawyer” applies when someone has completed their law degree and passed their bar exam, but they do not officially become an attorney until they obtain a state license to practice law.

How Long Will My Case Take to Resolve?

Numerous factors determine the timeline your case will unfold upon. If you have any concerns about how long your case takes before you reach a resolution, consult your attorney, and ask for their interpretation of your situation. They can provide a rough estimate of how long your case will take to resolve.

How Much Does It Cost to Hire an Attorney?

If you need legal counsel for any case, it’s vital to understand your chosen attorney’s billing fee policy before you agree to let them represent you. Many personal injury attorneys have contingency fee billing for their clients, which means that there are no legal costs upfront, and clients only pay legal fees once their attorneys win their cases. Be sure to review a potential attorney’s billing policy before signing any contracts with them.

Is It Worth Hiring an Attorney?

If you have sustained a personal injury, hiring an experienced lawyer is the best option for securing recompense for your losses. Your legal counsel can help you gather the evidence needed to prove liability, and they will assist you in proving the full extent of your damages. Ultimately, it is always worth hiring legal counsel to represent you in any case, especially one that could potentially impact your life for years to come.

Chris and Frank Accident Attorneys provides comprehensive personal injury representation to clients throughout Southern California in a wide range of different cases. If you need a local attorney capable of handling the unique and complex details of your case, we are ready to assist you. Contact us today to schedule a consultation with our team and learn more about the legal services we offer.

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