attorney

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attorney

attorney, 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 (see Justice, United States Department of).

Bibliography

See M. Mayer, Lawyers (1967); K. L. Hall, ed., The Legal Profession (1987).

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The following article is from The Great Soviet Encyclopedia (1979). It might be outdated or ideologically biased.

Attorney

 

in Anglo-Saxon countries, the representative of another person who appears in his place and in his name to conclude agreements or other acts outside of court. Until 1873 the lowest category of lawyer in England (corresponding to the French scrivener) was also called attorney. In accordance with the English Act Governing the Administration of Justice (1873), all persons permitted to conduct cases in court, aside from barristers, were called solicitors. In the USA the attorney is an official who serves in the court which admitted him to the bar and carries out all functions connected with conducting cases in court.

The Great Soviet Encyclopedia, 3rd Edition (1970-1979). © 2010 The Gale Group, Inc. All rights reserved.

attorney

1. a person legally appointed or empowered to act for another
2. US a lawyer qualified to represent clients in legal proceedings
3. South African a solicitor
Collins Discovery Encyclopedia, 1st edition © HarperCollins Publishers 2005
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