In the United States, the terms “lawyer” and “attorney” are often used interchangeably, but there is a subtle difference between the two.
Lawyer is a general term that refers to anyone who has a law degree. This includes people who work in a variety of legal fields, such as law firms, government agencies, and corporations.
Attorney is a more specific term that refers to a lawyer who has been licensed to practice law in a particular state. This means that the attorney has passed the bar exam in that state and is authorized to represent clients in court.
In other words, all attorneys are lawyers, but not all lawyers are attorneys.
For example, a law professor who has a law degree but has not passed the bar exam is a lawyer but not an attorney. Similarly, a lawyer who works in-house for a corporation and does not represent clients in court is a lawyer but not an attorney.
It is important to note that the terms “lawyer” and “attorney” are often used interchangeably in everyday speech. However, it is important to be aware of the subtle difference between the two terms, especially if you are seeking legal representation.
If you are unsure whether a lawyer is also an attorney, you can ask them directly. You can also verify their licensing status by checking with the state bar association in the state where they practice.