Attorney vs. Lawyer: What’s the Difference?

If you have been injured in a crash or accident, you likely have questions. The legal industry can be complicated, and your research may have left you with more questions than answers. That’s ok! It is not your job to understand the law, it is ours. Still, we want to make sure you are informed and confident as you pursue your claim.

One question we receive a lot is “What is the difference between an attorney and a lawyer?” You’ve likely seen these terms used interchangeably, with local law firms using both to describe their legal staff. So, what is the difference?

What is a Lawyer?

A lawyer is a person who has completed law school. They are educated in law and they can provide legal advice to others, but they cannot represent clients in court. This is because they have not passed the bar exam, which is required before a lawyer can represent clients.

What is an Attorney?

An attorney is someone who has graduated from law school AND has passed the bar exam in the state in which they practice law. An attorney can represent clients in a court of law. If you are planning to file a personal injury lawsuit, you technically need an attorney.

What’s the Difference Between an Attorney and a Lawyer?

Remember in school when you were taught about rectangles and squares? “All squares are rectangles, but not all rectangles are squares.” It’s the same with attorneys and lawyers. All attorneys are lawyers, but not all lawyers are attorneys. It’s really a matter of licensure.

An attorney is a lawyer who has taken and passed the bar exam for their state which included questions testing their knowledge of state-specific laws in addition to general legal principles. As such, they are admitted to represent clients in court and other legal proceedings. Lawyers, on the other hand, cannot represent clients in a court of law; however, lawyers can still advise on the law. In fact, many law firms and government entities employ lawyers to conduct research and consult on cases and legal matters.

So, when our firm says we employ a team of more than 200 personal injury attorneys, that means we have 200 people on staff who are able to represent you in a court of law. It also means you can call your personal injury attorney your lawyer and still be correct.

Contacting an Attorney After an Accident or Injury

So now that you understand the difference between an attorney and a lawyer, there is one final thing to consider. What type of law does the attorney practice? If you have been injured in an accident, make sure the attorney you hire has experience in personal injury law.

There are a variety of legal disciplines all dealing with various legal matters. From criminal law to family law to estate law, each requires a unique understanding of the laws that make up that practice. At Thomas J. Henry Law, our attorneys do one thing and one thing only: they represent injured clients in personal injury cases. For nearly 30 years, Thomas J. Henry Law has been committed to recovering meaningful results for individuals injured in car accidents, truck accidents, premises liability cases, and workplace accidents. We have secured record-breaking verdicts and settlements, and we have become the largest personal injury plaintiff’s firm in Texas.

If you have been involved in an accident, get an attorney who knows personal injury law. Call Thomas J. Henry.

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