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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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In each field of law, any attorney who wishes to be successful must possess certain skills and character traits which will enable him or her to distinguish themselves from the rest of the pack of attorneys. These skills vary with the fields of law. Organizational and transaction skills are most advantageous for the business planning attorney, whereas technical and scientific knowledge will enable the patent attorney to succeed. Civil litigation attorneys should also aim to achieve or posses certain skills which will assist them in attracting and retaining clients, winning cases and potentially making new law. Following is a list of the 10 most important qualities that a civil litigation attorney should possess in descending order.

10. Knowledge of the Rules of Evidence:

Many civil cases often turn on the admissibility or inadmissibility of a certain piece of evidence. Many practicing attorneys fail to have a proper understanding of the rules of evidence, and lack the knowledge of how and when to object and how to answer an objection. Often times, failure to object or preserve an issue for appeal can cost the client significantly more in legal fees, or even worse, cause the client to lose the case. In addition, an attorney with a mastery over the rules of evidence can use them as either a shield or a sword in admitting or barring important evidence.

9. Confidence

An essential element of attracting business is the manner in which an attorney projects him or herself. Confidence is more than mere hollow bravado or misplaced self-assurance . Confidence conveys to the client, judge and opposing counsel that you have a complete handle of the case and can control how and where it flows. As part of projecting an air of confidence it is first necessary to read your audience and adjust your behavior accordingly. A client does not want an attorney who simply offers them options for them to choose. A client wants an attorney as a true advocate, one who can give them an answer and a firm and confident recommendation. Without confidence in their attorney, a client's trust for that attorney will decrease, and the potential of repeat business is small.

2. Persuasiveness

Any litigator must possess the skills to persuade a judge, jury, client or opposing counsel regarding any particular issue. In any context, the power of persuasion is crucial. Whether it is trying to persuade opposing counsel that your case is stronger than it is, or persuading a client that a settlement offer is the best that they will get, the quality is of primary importance. If a case goes to trial, the side that wins is generally the most persuasive, absent a clear finding of law. Underlying the idea of persuasiveness is the ability to understand and relate to people. If you can identify and relate to your audience, persuading them simply consists of addressing their concerns and highlighting the advantages to your point of view. A mastery of the power of persuasion will result in success in the civil litigation field.

1. Ability to Clearly Communicate

So you have a great case, or a case that is winnable as long as people can understand your theory of law. What distinguishes successful from unsuccessful attorneys and cases is the attorney's ability to communicate to the decision maker, be it the judge or the jury, the premise of the theory and the reason for selecting your proposed outcome. Communication is more important than persuasion or interpersonal skills or any other factor combined. The reason being is that communication underlies every important attribute that a successful civil litigation attorney must obtain. Understand who are communicating to and what the purpose of your communication is and you will be on your way to becoming a successful and much improved civil litigator.

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According to a report released by the National Bankruptcy Research Center, personal bankruptcy filings are up 34 percent in January 2009 as compared to January 2008. Compared to the previous month, December 2008, filings were up 4.5 percent.

These increases are no doubt a consequence of the current economic crisis. The National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER) reports that the United States' economy entered recession in December of 2007.

Traditionally, recession has been defined as two quarterly declines in gross domestic product, but the Business Cycle Dating Committee of the NBER has taken a more comprehensive approach to defining recession. "A recession is a significant decline in economic activity spread across the economy, lasting more than a few months, normally visible in production, employment, real income, and other indicators."

In 2006, predictably, bankruptcy filings crashed. Two effects were causing downward pressure on filings. First, filing demand had been cannibalized because many of those who would have, in the absence of the reform act, waited to file in 2006 were motivated to file in 2005 to avoid the restrictive new laws. Second, the restrictive new laws simply made many who previously were eligible to file ineligible.

What the credit card lobby took away through the Bankruptcy Reform Act, the tanking economy has given back. Many more United States citizens are now eligible to file bankruptcy, though no doubt, they're not happy about it.

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