I am often asked what the difference is between an attorney and a lawyer. My response is usually pretty simple: There is none. But to my internal embarrassment I was never really sure whether that was the case, except that both my parents are also Lawyer/Attorneys, so I do know that the words are often used interchangeably. So for this week's post I decided to not only publicly announce my ignorance but remedy it through researching the origins of these two words. This eases my conscience in two ways, first, of potentially misleading people and of the greater sin of acting like I knew something when I did not. (I'm sure none of you have ever done this and I apologize for my absurdly base behavior) FYI, by "research" I mean google. And by "Google" I mean "Bing." (But whoever wants to say "I binged it" that is just crazy, grade A, jib-jab, nonsensical, foolishness! Yeah. All of those things.... ) (but I digress, I'm losing focus... and its not because of the exorbitant amount of NyQuil I have been taking to try and get over my cold...ok maybe it is related.... what was I writing about? My editor is gonna kill me)....
(editor = sober Me)
("sober" meaning off my NyQuil buzz)
(Yes, I do try to re-read and edit these before I post, and yes, I miss stuff. Thanks for pointing it out.)
(Just kidding earlier, by the way, I don't drink (NyQuil) and blog.)
(Although, it worked for Hemingway and Absinthe, and I may be persuaded to believe that NyQuil is absinthe re-marketed.)
(Just sayin' the stuff messes with you.)
Ahem, the results of my bing/google search on attorney/lawyer etymology (*big word high five*) are as follows:
Webster believes them to be synonyms. *sigh of relief*
straightdope.com (which I believe to be a most reputable source) says that while they are used similarly, in the past they had slightly different connotations, a lawyer is one who can give legal advice and has been trained in the law, while an attorney is one who is legally empowered to represent someone (ei power of attorney rather than power of lawyer...) straightdope also notes that the Brits also have different terms for lawyers. A solicitor for example is one who does mostly office work, like drafting documents and such, while a barrister is one who does trial work. (Silly Brits, making up weird words for stuff. Like they invented the language or something. Next they will be calling french fries chips and fish... er... fish... the last one is, admittedly, not a great example.)
WikiAnswers says they are interchangeable terms. Boring. But it does give me a link to a DUI defense attorney. Spot on. Exactly what I needed internet-side-links-that-are-loosely-related-to-subject-matter-of-my-search. (Whoa that was way to many words strung together. I apologize. I'm out of breath just reading it to myself. Do yourself a favor and don't read that last strung together part out loud. You might die. Fair warning.)
WiseGeek.com says the word "attorney" has French origins (eh oui oui Monsieur ...eh...Baguette.... Ennui.... Ben Mooneyham knows what I'm talking about. ) and means an agent or person acting for another. Lawyer is, apparently, from Middle English....
Anyone know the Russian word for Lawyer? More on that later.
Blog post concluded.