Attorney Definition

Definition of an Attorney: An agent put in place of another to manage particular affairs of the  principal. An attorney in fact is an agent who conducts business under authority  that is controlled and limited by a written document called a letter, or power,  of attorney granted by the principal.

An attorney at law is an officer of a  court of law authorized to represent the person employing him (the client) in  legal proceedings. England retains the distinction between the attorney as  agent, the solicitor , who deals directly with the client but does not act as an  advocate in court, and the attorney as pleader, the barrister (called advocate  in Scotland), who presents the case in court. Most senior and distinguished  barristers are designated King's (Queen's) counsel.


The distinction between  agent and pleader also exists in Europe. In the United States, a similar  distinction was formerly made in some states between a counselor at law, who  argued the case in court, and an attorney, who prepared the case but did not  argue it; but that distinction has now generally disappeared.

Today an attorney  at law is authorized to exercise all the functions of a practicing lawyer. The  growth of large business corporations, beginning in the 19th cent., has brought  into existence a large group of attorneys who rarely or never act as trial  lawyers yet are among the most influential members of the profession. They work  directly for corporations or are members of large law firms and specialize in  areas of commercial law. All of them must, however, like the ordinary attorney,  be admitted to the bar. The term attorney is also used for county, state, and  federal prosecuting officers, as county attorney, district attorney, and  attorney general.

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14 May 2018