Find the right lawyer now

Who Is a Lawyer?

Find a Local Products & Services Lawyer near You

Who Is a Lawyer and What Does a Lawyer Do?

A lawyer is a professional who has been educated and trained to practice law. Lawyers generally attend about three years of law school after their undergraduate studies, and undergo internship trainings in between law school years. After graduating law school, they are generally required to pass a state bar examination in order to practice law. Lawyers perform a variety of tasks, including:

  • Researching laws and statutes for clients
  • Creating legal arguments for court trials
  • Filing court documents
  • Examining evidence to be used in trial
  • Reviewing the facts of the client’s case
  • Arguing in court for the client’s rights
  • Participating in appeals or follow-up hearings
  • Engaging in mediation and other alternative dispute resolution processes

Also, lawyers can provide legal advice to clients, and help them determine which legal options will best serve their interests. Lawyers can practice either on their own in a solo firm or with other lawyers in a legal group or law firm.

Is There a Difference Between "Lawyer" and "Attorney"?

Most people use the terms "lawyer" and "attorney" alternatively. But traditionally, the term "lawyer" referred to any person who had some form of legal education or training, regardless of whether they were practicing at the moment. In comparison, the term "attorney" was generally reserved for a professional who was licensed and currently practicing law and representing clients in court.

Modernly, the terms "lawyer" and "attorney" may be broken down further by specialization (i.e., "criminal lawyer", "personal injury attorney", etc.)

Are Lawyers Allowed to Practice in Multiple States?

Yes, lawyers can practice in more than one U.S. state. However, they must pass the bar exam for each individual state where they wish to practice at. Each state has a different board exam since the laws are different in each state.

In some cases, there may be arrangements where the lawyer can practice in a different state without completing the bar exam for that state. However, this is often done for a temporary time on a limited basis, and instructions regarding such setups can vary by state.

Should I Hire a Lawyer for My Legal Issues?

Some legal issues require the assistance and representation of a qualified lawyer. If you have any issues or concerns with the laws in your state, you may need to hire a lawyer to help you with your case. Your attorney can help you file your case with the court, and can also see to it that your case is managed properly from beginning to end.

Photo of page author Jose Rivera

, LegalMatch Legal Writer

Last Modified: 01-10-2014 12:47 PM PST

Law Library Disclaimer
  • No fee to present your case
  • Choose from lawyers in your area
  • A 100% confidential service
What is LegalMatch?

We've helped more than 4 million clients find the right lawyer – for free. Present your case online in minutes. LegalMatch matches you to pre-screened lawyers in your city or county based on the specifics of your case. Within 24 hours experienced local lawyers review it and evaluate if you have a solid case. If so, attorneys respond with an offer to represent you that includes a full attorney profile with details on their fee structure, background, and ratings by other LegalMatch users so you can decide if they're the right lawyer for you.