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Non-legal folk often uses the terms attorney and lawyer interchangeably. And even though they both signify somebody who is licensed to practice law, attorneys and lawyers do have different powers. Also, while all attorneys are indeed lawyers, the opposite is not true. Let’s take a look at the differences that come with carrying each title, as well as how one can spot the good ones that would do a really good job.
What Does A Lawyer Do?
In short, lawyers are professionals who have studied law and are trained to practice it. They might or might not be performing the associated legal duties, but having attended Law school entitles them to call themselves by the title. Their skills, however, will be limited, until they take and pass a bar exam in the specific jurisdiction where they wish to operate. If you’d like to learn more, there is a great reference in this article.
This means that a lawyer can serve as a government advisor or consultant, but should not attempt to represent somebody in court in the legal sense of the word. Handling certain legal jobs will be permissible only after they have successfully passed a bar exam in the area they intend to operate afterward.
What Does An Attorney Do?
Attorneys are lawyers too. They also attend Law school with the intention of pursuing a legal career. They do necessarily pass the bar exam, which enables them to go beyond serving as lawyers and authorizes them to offer individual representation to people in court. They are supposed to delve deeply into the legal matters of the person they are representing and provide strategies on the basis of their client’s specific needs.
Apart from executing the basic functions of a lawyer, they can serve their clients by representing them in a court of Law on their behalf and to their best interest, instead of just interpreting a specific legal case or matter. Basically, attorneys can do everything a lawyer can, with the additional option of representational services.
Referrals, the Best Way to Find a Lawyer
Probably the smartest way to find a good lawyer or attorney is by word of mouth, or through websites like https://www.beckerlawyers.ca/ and the good old referral. Ask your family, friends, acquaintances or colleagues who they have had positive experience and results with. Since these people will have no financial or another kind of interest in recommending a particular lawyer or firm, you can rest assured the references you are getting are objective in nature.
Even if you feel tempted to hire a family member or friend who is working in the legal field that might not always be the best idea. In case they practice in a field that diverges from your needs, chances are they might only be partially competent, which makes their services unsuitable for addressing your specific legal matter.
Lawyers Know Their Colleagues’ Competences
It is no secret that legal professional circles are small. This means that lawyers know their colleagues well and can guide you to a professional who is best suited to provide you with guidance and/or representation for their area of practice. Be wary of referral bonuses or fees, however, because they are likely to influence a decision to recommend one colleague over another.
Internet resources with the same purpose can be your solution in case you are worried about getting an objective referral. There are numerous online directories which require a small fee and provide extensive legal information and contacts in return. You will be able to learn about both the reputation and skills of the lawyer or law firm you intend to hire.
Perform the Good Old Background Check
You might not be aware of this, but you could contact the legal agency in your area and find out how a certain lawyer stands as a member of the bar. This is how you can perform a background check on any potential legal representative. This is especially important to do if you tracked down the lawyer you are considering from the internet, and not by word-of-mouth.
Reviews and peer rating will paint an objective picture of a legal professional’s ethical standards and skills, as evaluated by other bar members and the judiciary. Such evaluations can and will tell you enough to judge properly.
Take a Tour of Their Office
Last but not least, the law office an attorney keeps will tell you quite a lot about them. Watch out for red flags such as disarray, nobody at reception to take phone calls, rude or unfriendly staff, to name a few.
These things might appear to lack connection with the subject matter but they will tell you a lot about the lawyer’s attitude towards their present and future clients, as well as whether or not you can rely on the professional skills they offer.