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What Makes an Attorney and a Lawyer Different?

What Makes an Attorney and a Lawyer Different?

While the terms are often used interchangeably, there is a difference between an attorney and a lawyer. The two terms refer to legal professionals. Most people mistakenly believe that an attorney and a lawyer are the same things. However, this is not entirely true. There are some differences between these two legal professionals who have been educated in the field of law. Although the terms have different meanings, the terms are often used interchangeably. Read on to find out the difference between attorney vs. lawyer.


Definition of an Attorney

An attorney is a shortening of “attorney at law.” To become an attorney, one must graduate from law school, have passed the bar exam in their state of practice, and be a member of the State Bar Association in that state. To put it simply, an attorney is someone who practices law.


A St. Louis attorney can:

  • Represent their clients in court
  • Interpret state and federal laws to meet clients’ needs
  • Provide legal advice directly related to their client’s situation
  • Provide consulting services to businesses or individuals.


Communications between an attorney and a client are protected by attorney-client privilege, making such communications confidential unless the privilege is waived by the client or an exception applies.

At some point in the process of hiring a St. Louis attorney, you will hear the term attorney fees. An attorney’s fee is the amount billed to a client for services rendered on their behalf. You may be charged hourly, on a flat fee, or on a contingency basis. Attorney fees are often set by legal services agreements or, in certain types of cases, by statutes or by courts.



What Is a Lawyer?

Lawyers are people with a Juris Doctor (JD) degree who have completed law school but have not passed the bar exam. A lawyer who has not yet passed the bar exam in the state where they wish to practice law will not be able to represent clients in court. Passing the bar exam is required to practice law, provide legal advice, and represent a client in court. Even if a person has not yet passed the law exam, they can provide legal information but cannot interpret federal and state laws about their legal matters. 



How Can the Attorneys at Bruntrager & Billings Help You?

At Bruntrager & Billings, all of our lawyers are licensed to practice law. We work in a variety of different practice areas, including criminal defense, personal injury, business law, real estate law, and estate planning. In addition, we are able to represent you in alcohol and traffic-related matters. Some of the specific ways we can help you include:

  • Evaluating your situation
  • Advising you as to your legal options
  • Drafting various legal documents
  • Representing you in court



Contact Us Today to Speak with a St. Louis Attorney

Since 1954, our attorneys have served clients in the St. Louis metro area. Our attorneys work closely with clients at every step, finding efficient solutions with your best interests in mind. Contact a St. Louis attorney today for a free initial consultation.