Learn the difference between lawyer and advocate in the US

We often use the words lawyer and advocate interchangeably. It is pertinent to understand that these two have different meanings.

What’s the key difference between lawyer and advocate? Basically, any person who has a degree in law and has been trained in the same field is referred to as a lawyer. On the flip side, advocates are also lawyers but of a different kind. They are eligible to represent their client and appear in court. Generally, the law is confusing to regular people. Hence, they don’t know to whom they should go when a legal matter comes up. Are lawyers, advocates, solicitors, and attorneys the same? Read the next lines as we have distinguished them in the simplest ways to find out.

2 seconds summary:

An attorney can be called a lawyer, but a lawyer cannot be called an attorney because:

  • Anyone who has a degree in law is a lawyer, but an attorney must pass the bar and get training to represent a client in court after earning a law degree. Lawyers give legitimate advice but don’t have the authority to appear in court.

What is the difference between lawyer and advocate?

As mentioned earlier, a lawyer is someone who has training and a degree in law. While advocates, attorneys, and solicitors are the different categories of lawyers. They have specialized in different fields.

While the term advocate means speaking on behalf of someone. This is exactly what advocates do. They speak in the court of law on behalf of their clients to bring the wrongdoers to justice. Not all lawyers can appear in court to speak on behalf of their clients. However, advocates have the authority to do so.

What is the difference between Attorney and Solicitor?

Attorneys have French origin. Its meaning is somewhat similar to an advocate as they act in court on behalf of others. An attorney is equally skilled and trained as an advocate. In the United States, attorneys are the practitioners in courts. They are legally qualified to defend actions and prosecute when defending or pleading a case.

While Solicitor is the term used for law professionals in the United Kingdom and other countries, apart from having a specialization degree in the field of law, they practice legislation in client-facing matters. Typically, their duties involve documenting letters, wills, and contracts, networking with other professionals. They can also show up in lower courts in some cases.

What is the difference between Barrister and Counsel?

Barrister is common terminology used for lawyers in the UK and some other countries. Their primary task is to stand for a client in the court of law, more specifically in complex cases. To become a professional, they must fulfill specific training and academic requirements as well as some standard formalities.

Counsel is a term used for a lawyer or a group of lawyers representing a client. Typically, counsel is a second word for a lawyer used in the US. However, the same word can be used for a group of attorneys as well.

Comparison between Lawyer and Advocate





A lawyer is a broad term that can be assigned to anybody who practices law. A specialist, attorney, or counsel can be called a lawyer.

An advocate, on the contrary, is a law practitioner who represents clients in the courtroom.

How they deal with their clients

Lawyers can not be admitted to the bar because they have just studied law and are not trained enough to get admitted to the bar.

Advocates have not just a law degree but are also trained and specialized in communicating and representing their clients in the courtroom.


They offer legal guidance to their clients for a handsome amount. However, they cannot assist them in the courtroom.

An advocate cannot be arrested in civil cases. They can give suggestions and make amendments to the parliamentary bills. They can meet their client in jail.


Pay for a counselor or a lawyer is lower than advocates as they cannot prosecute in a court due to a lack of essential ability and skills.

Advocates charge a much higher fee than other legal specialists due to their ability to deal with their clients on a broad assortment of legal issues.


In short, the main difference between lawyer and advocate is that lawyers don’t represent their clients in court while advocates do. It is important to understand the difference between the two as it will help you during your legal matters. Another essential thing to understand is that lawyers and advocates can have different meanings in different regions. So it’s always better to get a brief idea of their job descriptions before you hire them.

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