Lawyers and Attorneys
Is there a difference between the words Lawyer and Attorney? The term attorney can denote a person who has graduated from law school, whether or not that person is licensed to practice law. The term lawyer usually denotes attorneys who have passed a State bar exam and who practice law. The vast majority of attorneys do not practice law but choose to work for the government, large corporations in a management capacity or in other jobs where a law degree (J.D.) is equated to an MBA degree. However, in the United States the two terms are often used synonymously.
Lawyers who file lawsuits and appear in courtrooms are often referred to as trial lawyers. The term “trial lawyers” has been given an even more specific use in U.S. politics in reference to lawyers who represents consumers against corporations. Towards that end, the Republican Party is harshly critical of “trial lawyers” because of their pursuit of corporations engaged in civil wrongdoing.
Lawyers working at law firms who practice “trial law” are not necessarily the lead trial lawyer in cases before a court of law. Some lawyers spend most of their time in a law library preparing legal briefs and appeals. Other lawyers specialize in depositions and discovery or other aspects of the legal process.
Personal injury trial law is even narrower division of the practice of law. Personal injury trial lawyers represent individuals who have been injured do to the neglect of others, including other people and businesses. However, personal injury trial lawyers represent people who are not physically injured but are economically damaged. For example, trial lawyers have represented individuals for non-injury claims against Enron, Verizon, Stockbrokers, toy manufacturers and many other companies that have unlawfully damaged consumers.
Trial lawyers prosecute civil wrongdoers much in the same way as district attorneys prosecute criminal wrongdoers. Without trial lawyers, people would have no recourse against other individuals and companies that have negligently or intentionally injured them or cheated them out of money. Justice in American has two parts, criminal justice and civil justice. Without trial lawyers, there would be no civil justice. The first step towards a totalitarian state is to first do away with all trial lawyers.
Big Business would like to do away with the “peoples’ lawyers” and they have unlimited funds to spend on advertising, public relations and media buying. The next time you hear someone bashing trial lawyers, think of what they have to gain and how much more they have to gain by casting doubt and prejudice at trial lawyers. Trial lawyers are the guardians of individual liberty and justice.
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