Is there any difference between an attorney and a lawyer?
To answer this one, Diane Simpson, president of the Douglas County Bar Assn., referred to the fifth edition of "Black's Law Dictionary."
That dictionary defines a lawyer as "a person learned in the law; as an attorney, counsel or solicitor; a person licensed to practice law. ... '' It further defines the term as a person who prosecutes or defends cases in court and who gives "legal advice or assistance in relation to any cause or matter whatever.''
Black's defines an attorney in its most general sense as denoting "an agent or substitute, or one who is appointed and authorized to act in the place or stead of another.''
Simpson said anyone can give another person a "power of attorney" to act on his or her behalf in such matters as real estate transactions. People who are married often grant their spouses "general power of attorney'' to transact some types of business. In such cases, Simpson said, the person receiving such power simply has the authority to act in specific situations on behalf of the person granting them the power.
Both Simpson and the dictionary noted that in its most common usage, the term attorney means "attorney at law.''