Attorney vs. Lawyer

I'm sure you've heard both 'attorney' and 'lawyer', but do you know their differences? where can we use them? Well, we're about to find out.

"Attorney" vs. "Lawyer" in English

What Is Their Main Difference?

Both of these words are used to describe someone who studies law. In the United States, they are often used interchangeably. However, a 'lawyer' is one who has not passed the bar exam whereas an 'attorney' is one who has passed the bar exam successfully.


When someone has completed formal education in law school and has passed the bar exam, that person is called an attorney and also practices it in court. Look:

I could see a group of middle-aged attorneys in that corner.

Many people fancy the idea of becoming an attorney nowadays.

A lawyer is someone who has completed his/her education in law school but has not passed the bar exam yet. Lawyers may also work as consultants or advisors. Look below:

The defendant demanded to talk to her lawyer first.

The lawyer adjusted his coat and took his seat.


As stated above, both refer to someone who has studied law. Look at the following examples:

He always dreamt of becoming a lawyer one day.

All attorneys are expected to have gathered here a 5:00 p.m.

Are They Interchangeable?

Because of their similarities, many people use them interchangeably. However, if you want to be specific, it is recommended that you do not. Compare:

✓ She never thought she'd become a lawyer one day.

✓ She never thought she'd become an attorney one day.


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