February 2, 2022

Attorney vs. Lawyer [What’s the Difference]?

Though these two terms get used interchangeably, there’s actually a few key differences between what type of services you can expect from an attorney vs. a lawyer.

Are lawyers and attorneys the same thing?

A simple way to understand the difference between these two career paths is to think of it this way: all attorneys are lawyers, but not all lawyers can be attorneys.

Let’s break this down even further.

An attorney is someone in the legal profession who has passed his or her state’s bar exam. What this means is the attorney is able to provide legal guidance and advice to clients—and most importantly—is able to represent clients in the court of law. If your lawsuit were to go to court, whether at state or federal level, an attorney would be able to help you file the correct paperwork and represent your case in front of a judge or jury.

This is where the two occupations differ.

Lawyers, like attorneys, have graduated from law school, but they have not yet taken their state’s bar exam. This means they are still able to provide legal consultation and advice to clients, but they cannot bring a client’s case to court and represent an individual.

There are several reasons why lawyers may not yet complete their state’s bar exam:

  • The lawyer is hoping to gain experience by working under an attorney before completing his or her exam.
  • The lawyer is content in providing legal counsel and prefers to work for government agencies or corporate entities—as these areas may require an on-staff legal officer to help them interpret laws and regulations, prepare legal documents, and identify any risks the business may be exposing itself to.

Either profession can benefit you, depending on your individual situation. For instance, if you’re interested in hiring a legal professional to provide advice in terms of business operations and contract drafting, a lawyer may be exactly what you need.

However, if you’re looking for a professional to provide this same level of expertise but who will be able to represent you in the event that you do need to file a lawsuit—or if one is filed against you—you’ll need to hire an experienced attorney. 

For Professional Legal Services, Trust KTF Law Firm

At KTF Law Firm, we offer residents and business owners across the Twin Cities professional legal advice, counsel, and representation. From construction law to estate planning, our team is dedicated to ensuring you understand your rights, feel empowered throughout the process, and find the support you deserve.

To learn more about how we can help, contact us for a free consultation. 

If you’re just looking for a professional legal team to help you grow your business, we can help with that, too! Reach out to us today to get started.

Female attorney speaking with two lawyers at law firm.
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