If you are searching for personal injury legal representation online, you are probably seeing results for attorneys and lawyers. While these terms are often used interchangeably, is there, in fact, a difference between them? The legal team at Hall Law Personal Injury Attorneys breaks down these terms and more in the sections to follow.
What Is a Lawyer?
There are many different definitions of the term “lawyer.” The American Bar Association defines a lawyer as a “licensed professional who advises and represents others in legal matters.” Lawyers are often known as people who have earned a law degree or Juris Doctor (JD). Minnesota defines a lawyer as a “person admitted to practice law in this state pursuant to the Rules for Admission to the Bar.”
What Is an Attorney?
Minnesota law prohibits anyone other than those admitted and licensed to practice as attorneys at law to practice law, which includes:
- To appear as an attorney in a legal action or proceeding in any court in the state
- To give legal advice
- To prepare legal documents
- To furnish services of a lawyer to others
- To prepare a will or other estate planning document
An attorney must complete law school and has obtained licensure. Attorneys advocate for their clients and protect their interests.
The Difference Between a Lawyer and an Attorney
Some publications indicate differences between lawyers and attorneys. For example, Indeed states that attorneys can represent clients in court and other legal proceedings, but lawyers cannot. Some publications state that an attorney has passed the bar exam while a lawyer may not have.
Despite this, most of the time, the terms “lawyers” and “attorneys” are used interchangeably. And in Minnesota, specifically, the two terms mean essentially the same thing due to the way the state defines “lawyer” as described above. The Minnesota Rules of Professional Conduct govern the actions of the practice of law and uses the term “lawyer” throughout.
How Do You Become an Attorney in Minnesota?
To become an attorney (or lawyer) in Minnesota, you must meet a number of requirements, including the following:
- Be at least 18 years of age
- Be a person of good character and fitness
- Have graduated with a J.D. or LL.B. degree from a law school approved by the American Bar Association, a bachelor’s degree from an institution accredited by the United States Department of Education or foreign equivalent, or a J.D. degree from a law school after completing undergraduate studies, or be licensed to practice law in another state or been engaged in the practice of law as their principal occupation for 60 of the last 84 months or licensed in another state for at least 10 years
- Receive a passing score on the written exam
- Have a scaled score of 85 or higher on the Multistate Professional Responsibility Examination
- Not be currently suspended or disbarred from the practice of law
Lawyers must complete an application, pay fees, and be approved by a Board of Examiners to receive their license.
There are special circumstances when a licensed lawyer can file a motion to appear as a lawyer in a legal matter in the state when they are not licensed in Minnesota.
Questions To Ask a Lawyer or an Attorney
If you have been hurt in a personal injury like a car accident or defective product incident, you may want help from an experienced lawyer who can protect your interests and help you pursue compensation for your medical expenses, lost wages, and other damages.
Our personal injury attorneys offer a free, no-obligation case review where you can learn about your legal rights and options. You might want to prepare a list of questions to get to know your lawyer and see if you might be a good fit, such as:
- How many years of experience do you have in personal injury law?
- Have you handled cases like mine before? What was their outcome?
- How often do you go to court?
- What is your rate of settling cases?
- How will I get updates about my case?
- Who will work on my case?
- How do you charge for your services?
- What expenses will I be responsible for?
- Can I talk to some of your former clients to find out more about you?
You have nothing to lose by contacting an attorney and requesting a free case review. In addition, we work on a contingency fee basis, meaning we only receive attorney’s fees if we settle or win your case.
Contact the Minnesota Personal Injury Law Firm of Hall Law Personal Injury Attorneys For Help Today
For more information, please contact an experienced personal injury lawyer at Hall Law Personal Injury Attorneys to schedule a free initial consultation today. We have three convenient locations in Minnesota, including Minneapolis, St. Cloud, and Edina.