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Lawyers, Attorneys & Solicitors | Definitions and Differences

Definitions and Differences between Lawyers, Attorneys, Advocates and Solicitors

Lawyers, Attorneys and Solicitors are all terms used to describe the professionals who work in law

Lawyers, Attorneys and Solicitors are all terms used to describe the professionals who work in law. However, these terms have different meanings and are not interchangeable. This article will explain the differences between lawyers and attorneys as well as solicitors, so you can make sure you have the right legal help for your situation.

Lawyers, Attorneys & Solicitors

What is a Lawyer?

A lawyer is a person who is trained in the law and practices law as a profession. Lawyers are also referred to as attorneys or solicitors depending on their geographic location.

In common parlance, the term lawyer has come to mean a person who provides legal advice and representation for clients, whether in litigation or otherwise, but not necessarily by engaging in the practice of law in its formal sense. This article focuses on the formal meaning of “lawyer”, i.e., one who gives legal advice to clients and represents their interests under the adversarial system of justice in court settings or before other tribunals (such as administrative agencies).

The role of the barrister is central to that of an advocate: they are employed by barristers’ chambers; they help with casework (the research and drafting involved); they negotiate fees with solicitors; they represent clients at hearings; they may appear before judges at preliminary hearings (known as directions hearings) or preliminary hearings if the judge feels there might be sufficient grounds for further investigation into whether there should be charges brought against someone else(known by some lawyers as ‘pre-trial reviews’). Barristers work closely together with solicitors at this stage because both professions play an important role when presenting evidence and submissions during hearings.

What are Attorneys?

An attorney is a lawyer who is licensed to practice law in a particular state or country and may perform legal services for the public. The word “attorney” can refer both to a general practitioner of law or one specializing in certain areas of law, but it’s best not to get too caught up by these distinctions; if you’re looking at hiring an attorney, it might be helpful just to know that he or she has passed the bar exam in their state, which means they have been trained and tested on everything they need to know about practising law there.

What are Solicitors?

As a solicitor, you can give advice regarding the law and represent clients in court. A solicitor is also qualified to draft legal documents.

However, solicitors cannot give you advice on a matter that may be in conflict with their professional obligations like giving you advice about whether or not to plead guilty or ask for a specific sentence after being arrested for a crime.

This is where we need to remember that there are two types of lawyers: solicitors and barristers.

What is the difference between attorney and a lawyer?

An attorney is licensed to practice law in a specific jurisdiction. This means that attorneys are authorized to practice law only within the state or federal district where they’ve been admitted. Attorneys must meet additional licensing requirements, such as passing the bar exam and meeting character and fitness requirements, before they can work.

Lawyers are licensed to practice law anywhere in the United States or abroad, but they must first be admitted by another jurisdiction’s bar association (lawyer’s professional association). Lawyers don’t have any specialized training compared to attorneys because they’re not required to take any coursework or pass an exam before entering into their profession. Most lawyers have a J.D., Juris Doctor degree which stands for Doctor of Jurisprudence; this degree is required for most jobs within the profession

These terms may seem to be used interchangeably, but there are important distinctions you should be aware of.

As you may have guessed, there are three different words that all refer to lawyers. However, they each mean something slightly different:

  • Lawyers: In the United States, attorneys typically hold a law degree from an accredited university. They are licensed by the state bar association and can practice law in that state or country. As such, lawyers are called “attorneys” in some places (like South Carolina).
  • Solicitors: A solicitor is a corporate lawyer who specializes in mergers and acquisitions (M&A) work for large companies. Although solicitors’ work often brings them into contact with clients’ assets and finances as part of closing deals on behalf of their clients, solicitors do not generally provide legal advice to any individuals outside their office staff members; instead they serve as hired guns whose job it is simply to get things done—quickly and efficiently—for their employers.


A lawyer is someone who is trained and licensed to practice law in a particular jurisdiction. A lawyer may be an attorney or a solicitor but not both. An attorney is someone who has passed a bar exam and can represent clients in court. A solicitor is a person who provides legal advice or assistance on behalf of another party.

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