What Is the Difference Between Lawyer and Attorney?

When you search for a personal injury lawyer on the internet, you will probably find results for both “lawyers” and “attorneys.” In the United States, most people use these two terms interchangeably.

If you do not have much experience with the legal system, you might think that there is a difference between “lawyer” and “attorney.”

Below, we will examine the differences between lawyers and attorneys. We will also discuss some ways to choose the best attorney to represent you.

The Difference Between a Lawyer and an Attorney

Most people are unaware about the distinctions between the meanings of these two terms. 

Historically, a person who earned a Juris Doctor (JD) was called a “lawyer.” However, just because someone earned a law degree did not mean they could practice law in Florida. Practicing law required further accreditation.

An “attorney” was someone who had a JD and also has passed the bar examination in their state. In order to practice law in Florida, you must be licensed by the Florida Board of Bar Examiners. Attorneys function as legal advocates for their clients. 

Today, the terms lawyer and attorney are interchangeable. They both tend to refer to a professional who has earned a law degree and is licensed to practice law in their state.

The duty of a lawyer/attorney is to protect the best interests of their clients. Acting in the client’s best interest does not mean telling the client anything that they want to hear.

Instead, an attorney should be honest about the client’s legal options in their specific situations.

Attorney Licensing in Florida

To practice law in the state of Florida, a person must have a JD and pass the bar examination. But these are not the only qualifications for attorney licensing in Florida.

Applicants must also provide evidence of strong moral character, as well as a knowledge of the values inherent to the profession. 

Those who have been previously disbarred or suspended are not eligible. This helps to ensure that attorneys work in the best interests of their clients, rather than just for personal gain.

How to Find the Best Attorney for You

If you have suffered an injury in a car accident, falling mishap, or another incident, it is important to hire a legal representative. With the help of a personal injury attorney, you can pursue financial compensation from the liable party.

To find the best attorney to represent you, make sure to hire a specialist. Only those with plenty of experience in personal injury cases should represent you following an accident.

Schedule an initial consultation with any attorney you are considering. Ask the following questions to help you decide whether they are a good fit for you:

  • How long have you been practicing law?
  • Do you have experience with personal injury cases like mine?
  • Have you taken many cases to the courtroom?
  • What is your current case success rate?
  • Will you discuss my case with me regularly?
  • Do you believe I can win this case?
  • How much do you believe that my case is worth?

If you feel that the attorney does not adequately answer any of these questions, keep looking. You should never hire a legal professional unless you feel completely confident in their abilities.

Many victims schedule consultations with multiple firms before deciding about which one to hire. When you need representation in a personal injury case, it is important to find an attorney and not only a lawyer.