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Legal Dictionary

lawyer

Legal Definition of lawyer

Noun

  1. A person that has been trained in the law and that has been certified to give legal advice or to represent others in litigation. Also known as a "barrister & solicitor" or an attorney.

Related terms


Definition of lawyer

Etymology

    From Middle English lawyer, lawer, equivalent to law +‎ -yer.

Pronunciation

Noun

lawyer (plural lawyers)

  1. A professional person qualified (as by a law degree and/or bar exam) and authorized to practice law, i.e. conduct lawsuits and/or give legal advice.
  2. By extension, a legal layman who argues points of law.

Synonyms

Derived terms

Further reading

A lawyer, according to Black's Law Dictionary, is "a person learned in the law; as an attorney, counsel or solicitor; a person who is practicing law." Law is the system of rules of conduct established by the sovereign government of a society to correct wrongs, maintain the stability of political and social authority, and deliver justice. Working as a lawyer involves the practical application of abstract legal theories and knowledge to solve specific individualized problems, or to advance the interests of those who retain (i.e., hire) lawyers to perform legal services.

The role of the lawyer varies significantly across legal jurisdictions, and so it can be treated here in only the most general terms.

Terminology

In practice, legal jurisdictions exercise their right to determine who is recognized as being a lawyer; as a result, the meaning of the term "lawyer" may vary from place to place.

  • In Australia the word "lawyer" is used to refer to both barristers and solicitors (whether in private practice or practising as corporate in-house counsel).
  • In Canada, the word "lawyer" only refers to individuals who have been called to the bar or have qualified as civil law notaries in the province of Quebec. Common law lawyers in Canada may also be known as "barristers and solicitors", but should not be referred to as "attorneys", since that term has a different meaning in Canadian usage. However, in Quebec, civil law advocates (or avocats in French) often call themselves "attorney" and sometimes "barrister and solicitor".
  • In England and Wales, "lawyer" is used loosely to refer to a broad variety of law-trained persons. It includes practitioners such as barristers, solicitors, legal executives and licensed conveyancers, ; and people who are involved with the law but do not practise it on behalf of individual clients, such as judges, court clerks, and drafters of legislation.
  • In India, the term "lawyer" is often colloquially used, but the official term is "advocate" as prescribed under the Advocates Act, 1961.
  • In Scotland, the word "lawyer" refers to a more specific group of legally trained people. It specifically includes advocates and solicitors. In a generic sense, it may also include judges and law-trained support staff.
  • In the United States, the term generally refers to attorneys who may practice law; it is never used to refer to patent agents or paralegals.
  • Other nations tend to have comparable terms for the analogous concept.

Responsibilities

In most countries, particularly civil law countries, there has been a tradition of giving many legal tasks to a variety of civil law notaries, clerks, and scriveners. These countries do not have "lawyers" in the American sense, insofar as that term refers to a single type of general-purpose legal services provider; rather, their legal professions consist of a large number of different kinds of law-trained persons, known as jurists, of which only some are advocates who are licensed to practice in the courts. It is difficult to formulate accurate generalizations that cover all the countries with multiple legal professions, because each country has traditionally had its own peculiar method of dividing up legal work among all its different types of legal professionals.

Notably, England, the mother of the common law jurisdictions, emerged from the Dark Ages with similar complexity in its legal professions, but then evolved by the 19th century to a single dichotomy between barristers and [[solicitors[[. An equivalent dichotomy developed between advocates and procurators in some civil law countries, though these two types did not always monopolize the practice of law as much as barristers and solicitors, in that they always coexisted with civil law notaries.

Several countries that originally had two or more legal professions have since fused or united their professions into a single type of lawyer. Most countries in this category are common law countries, though France, a civil law country, merged together its jurists in 1990 and 1991 in response to Anglo-American competition. In countries with fused professions, a lawyer is usually permitted to carry out all or nearly all the responsibilities listed below.

  • Oral argument in the courts
  • Research and drafting of court papers
  • Advocacy (written and oral) in administrative hearings
  • Client intake and counseling (with regard to pending litigation)
  • Legal advice
  • Protecting intellectual property
  • Negotiating and drafting contracts
  • Conveyancing
  • Carrying out the intent of the deceased
  • Prosecution and defense of criminal suspects

Source: Wiktionary. Published under the Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License.


Translation of lawyer in Malay

Peguam

Noun

professional person authorized to practice law

  1. Peguam



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