What’s the Difference Between: A Lawyer, Solicitor, Advocate, Barrister, Counselor, and an Attorney?
Have you ever wondered where all these somewhat confusing terms came from? Well the answer is they are all types of Lawyers originated from various legal systems. Some of the terms are from the English legal system, some are from Scotland and some from the American legal system.
An Attorney is somebody legally empowered to represent another person, or act on their behalf.
A Lawyer is somebody who can give legal advice and has been trained in the law.
Are Attorney and Lawyer are synonyms? Basically yes, but they are not necessarily Interchangeable terms, you cannot for instance say I give you the Power of a Lawyer, but you definitely might say I give you the power of Attorney…
Look again at the above definitions, does it now make any sense? Off course it does.
An attorney in fact is an agent who conducts business under authority that is controlled and limited by a written document called a letter, or power, of attorney granted by the principal. An attorney at law is an officer of a court of law authorized to represent the person employing him (the client) in legal proceedings.
A Solicitor– One that solicits, especially one that seeks trade or contributions. The chief law officer of a city, town, or government department but does not act as an advocate in court, as opposed to the Attorney who pleads in court. (English Law).
A Barrister(Called Advocate in Scotland) presents the case in court. Most senior and distinguished barristers are designated King’s (Queen’s) counsel.
Most lawyers are found in private practice, where they concentrate on criminal or civil law. In criminal law, lawyers represent individuals who have been charged with crimes and argue their cases in courts of law. Attorneys dealing with civil law assist clients with litigation, wills, trusts, contracts, mortgages, titles, and leases. Other lawyers handle only public-interest cases–civil or criminal–which may have an impact extending well beyond the individual client.
These issues might involve patents, government regulations, and contracts with other companies, property interests, or collective-bargaining agreements with unions.
Other lawyers work for legal-aid societies–private, nonprofit organizations established to serve disadvantaged people. These lawyers generally handle civil, rather than criminal, cases. A relatively small number of trained attorneys work in law schools.
The real life situations have created “specialties” according to business profitability. This is how terms like Vioxx Lawyer, DUI Lawyer, Lemon Law Lawyer , Structured Settlements Lawyer and others came about.
What Does a Civil Lawyer Do?
If you've received a letter or phone call from a debt collection law firm, don't panic. Many people have fallen on hard times and their phones are ringing off the hook with bill collector calls. It is one thing to have to talk to the normal collection agencies but what do you do when your contacted by a debt collection law firm? The first thing you should do is stay calm. Receiving a debt collection letter from a law firm does not necessarily mean that you are being sued.
About 5% of bad debts are sent out to attorneys who collect debts. These types of debt collectors must follow the requirements of the federal Fair Debt Collection Practices Act (FDCPA) just like any other type of debt collector. Your first contact with a debt collection law firm will most likely be just like the normal collection procedures. It starts with collection letters and phone calls. This usually happens before any litigation is initiated.
It is important to be sure that the law firm is not breaking the law when it contacts you. The FDPCA protects consumers from harassment over a debt, so if you feel that you are being harassed talk with an attorney. There have been many cases where collectors, including law firms that collect past due debts, have been found guilty of illegal collection practices and harassment. In those cases, the consumer involved in the lawsuit has been the winner in the end.
The Ten Essential Qualities of a Civil Litigation Attorney
The National Association of Consumer Bankruptcy Attorneys is a national organization that is dedicated to protecting the rights of consumers who are in debt and also consumer bankruptcy attorneys. Formed in 1992, they currently have more than 3,000 members across the entire United States.
This organization is important for a lot of reasons. From their work with the U.S. Supreme Court and U.S. Courts of Appeal to help debtors and bankruptcy attorneys to their national education programs for consumers, NACBA has been in the forefront of the battle to protect the rights of the citizens of the United States.
Part of the power of NACBA is the network they've been able to build over the years. Their members range from those who handle thousands of cases a year to those who only handle a hundred or so cases a year. All the members are connected, though, and often willing to lend a helping hand to another NACBA member. As their organization continues to grow, it's only going to become more important in the realm of consumer bankruptcy in the United States.
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