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What Is the Difference Between a Lawyer and an Attorney?

Most people think a lawyer and an attorney are the same thing and use the terms interchangeably. They’re not wrong to make this assumption, but there is a slight difference between the two. A good way to describe the difference is that an attorney is a lawyer, but a lawyer isn’t always an attorney.

If you need help with a specific legal problem, such as a personal injury, you’ll want to be sure that you hire someone who is licensed to practice law in Florida. 

Becoming a Lawyer

Before applying to law school, a person has to take the LSAT, which stands for law school admissions test. They then need to be accepted by an accredited law school in the United States.

After completing three years of law school and graduating in good standing, they receive a Juris Doctor (JD) degree and will be considered a lawyer. So, a lawyer has a general law education but doesn’t have the ability to practice law in a particular state.

From a Lawyer to an Attorney

To become an attorney and have the ability to practice law, a person has to pass the bar exam and become a member of the state bar association. Once they pass and get sworn in, they can hang up a shingle that says they are an Attorney at Law. 

Most bar exams cover a range of legal subjects like contracts, torts, criminal law, and others. The bar exam can be very difficult to pass, depending on the state it’s taken in. For example, the February 2022 Florida bar exam had a 44% pass rate. Fortunately, Florida doesn’t limit how many times a person can take the test. 

To Become an Attorney in Florida

If a person has graduated from an accredited law school, passed the state bar, and also passed the professional responsibility exam, they can become a member of the Florida Bar Association. As a member of the bar association, the new attorney will be expected to comply with the established rules of professional conduct and a code of ethical behavior. 

Once officially a member of the state bar, an attorney can provide legal services throughout its borders. If you need legal services in Florida, it’s essential that you hire a lawyer who is licensed in the state. Providing legal assistance without being licensed is a crime, specifically a third-degree felony. 

To find out whether someone has been licensed in Florida, you can look them up on the Florida Bar Association website. The site will tell you if the person is currently licensed and in good standing with the Florida Bar. It will also tell you if there have been any disciplinary actions taken against them in the last ten years. 

What’s an Esquire?

Esquire is the title attorneys use after their names in written communications. It is not conferred by the state or any regulating body. Just because someone uses Esquire doesn’t necessarily mean they are a practicing attorney. 

What’s the Difference Between a Solicitor and a Barrister?

Solicitors and Barristers are types of lawyers in the United Kingdom. Solicitors give legal advice and prepare documents, but they don’t typically go to court. If a solicitor’s client needs someone to represent them in court, the solicitor will contact a barrister. 

The barristers are the lawyers who wear powdered wigs in court. The solicitor will help the barrister prepare for trial, but the barrister will be the one who actually prosecutes or defends the case. So a client doesn’t directly approach a barrister. They would approach a solicitor who would then connect with the barrister. 

If you need legal advice, it’s smart to call an experienced lawyer. Many attorneys offer a free initial consultation to review your case.

Contact the Lakeland Personal Injury Law Firm of Winters & Yonker, P.A. for Help Today

For more information, please contact Winters & Yonker, P.A. to schedule a free consultation with a personal injury lawyer in Lakeland today. We have five convenient locations in Florida, including Tampa, Clearwater, St. Petersburg, New Port Richey, and Lakeland.

We proudly serve Hillsborough County, Pinellas County, Pasco County, Polk County, and its surrounding areas:

Winters & Yonker, P.A. – Tampa Office
601 W Swann Ave, Tampa, FL 33606
(813) 223-6200

Winters & Yonker, P.A. – Clearwater Office
600 Bypass Dr Suite 224-D, Clearwater, FL 33764
(727) 493-4418

Winters & Yonker, P.A. – St. Petersburg Office
111 2nd Ave NE Suite 350, St. Petersburg, FL 33701
(727) 314-5988

Winters & Yonker, P.A. – New Port Richey Office
5006 Trouble Creek Rd Unit #206, Port Richey, FL 34652
(727) 910-5060

Winters & Yonker, P.A. – Lakeland Office
1543 Lakeland Hills Blvd Suite 18, Lakeland, FL 33805
(863) 251-6196

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