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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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Is a real estate lawyer a better choice than a title company when it comes to selling your home? You can choose any one of the two but you should first be aware of the difference between real estate lawyers and title companies. Here is some information about both the entities and whose services can benefit you most.

Real estate lawyers

Real estate lawyers specialize in laws relating to real estate and make sure that your interests as a seller are met in the transaction. These lawyers can act as escrow agents as they can hold your earnest money, down payments as well as help you with the requisite documentation. These attorneys can also help you understand the legalities involved in the sale transaction, the offer made by the buyer and your rights as a seller.

Keep the following things in mind when you sell your property:

Title companies can hold the down payment and close your home without additional costs. Also, there is a possibility that title companies may give you a discount on your title insurance if you had previously used their services to either refinance or buy your home or property. Lawyers can also close your home/property sale and hold your down payment but may charge an additional fee.

A lawyer can charge a higher fee to write a contract. In cases of simple transactions, this can complicate negotiations. But in most other property sale transactions, the services of a real estate lawyer can prove invaluable.

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A lawyer who specializes in civil law is known as a civil lawyer. Civil law has many fields including business laws, corporate laws, intellectual property laws, family laws, personal injury laws, probate laws, real estate laws, tax laws, etc. Civil law is a branch of law dealing with disputes between individuals and/or organizations, in which compensation may be awarded to the victim. A civil lawyer not only represents the client in a legal proceeding but also provides legal advice to the client in civil transactions.

Civil law encompasses all law that is not criminal law. Civil law seeks to resolve non-criminal disputes such as disagreements over the meaning of contracts, property ownership, divorce, child custody, and damages for personal and property damage. Civil lawyers handle lawsuits that involve individuals, businesses, and even the government.

There are no special qualifications for becoming a civil lawyer. Like all lawyers, they must have a JD degree from an American Bar Association accredited law school and must have cleared the state bar exam. Before a lawyer can practice in a state, he must pass the state bar exam.

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