WHAT IS the difference between a "lawyer" and an "attorney"?

People in general tend to use the two words interchangeably. But we understand that there is a difference between the two. A "lawyer" is someone who knows the law and has been admitted to the bar. He advises his clients about their legal rights and often pleads their cases in a court of law. In the strictest sense an attorney need not be a lawyer; in other words, he need not be someone who practices law.

An "attorney" is someone empowered to act in a legal capacity on someone's behalf. For example, when you give the power of attorney to someone, you are authorising the individual to act on your behalf. This individual need not be a lawyer; he could be anyone - your brother, husband or friend.

If you wish to use the word "attorney" to mean "lawyer", then the correct term is "attorney at law". Remember the famous Perry Mason? He was an "Attorney at law".

COURTESY : The Hindu (The National News-Paper) - India

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