Advocate vs Lawyer: What’s the Difference?
Taking the plunge into law can be a daunting prospect. Assessing which path to take – advocate or lawyer – can be overwhelming, with each role offering unique responsibilities and opportunities. In this article, we’ll take a detailed look at the differences between an advocate and a lawyer, delving into qualifications, litigation and advocacy in the courtroom.
Advocate vs Lawyer: A Detailed Overview
Law is a diverse field, encompassing a number of specialties, career options, and technical terms. When it comes to the distinction between an advocate and a lawyer, the key difference lies in the individual’s ability to appear in court. In the United States, lawyers are permitted to present cases in both federal and state courts, while an advocate may typically function similarly within a restricted area.
What Does an Advocate Do?
An advocate is a licensed and certified legal professional who represents clients before a court in a specific jurisdiction. The advocate can research and draft up legal documents such as contracts or wills, and can provide legal advice to clients. They also conduct research to prepare their cases, such as finding relevant statutes and case law, and interviewing witnesses. Moreover, the advocate will appear in court to argue their case, present evidence, and cross-examine witnesses. They serve as a representative of their client’s interests, and they are typically responsible for presenting the strongest version of their client’s case in order to elicit a favourable outcome.
What Does a Lawyer Do?
A lawyer is a qualified professional who has been certified by a state or federal court to practice law. This includes being able to represent clients in both federal and state courts, draft and interpret legal documents, and deliver legal counsel. Lawyers also conduct legal research and advise clients on their legal options. In addition to legal research, lawyers must also be capable of providing court representation. This encompasses presenting the case, presenting evidence, cross-examining witnesses, and making and responding to legal arguments.
The qualifications for becoming an advocate and a lawyer vary greatly. To become an advocate, one must typically complete a period of supervised apprenticeship and pass the relevant bar exam. In contrast, a lawyer must pass the bar exam after completing a specialized law degree, such as an LLB or a Juris Doctor (JD). Furthermore, a lawyer is generally qualified to represent their clients in all courts, while an advocate is typically limited to a particular court. For instance, an advocate in the United Kingdom must obtain an authorized practicing certificate (APC) from the Bar Council of each state.
Advocacy in the Courtroom
In the courtroom, an advocate will argue and defend their client’s case using a variety of tactics. These can include presenting evidence, utilizing legal precedents, and making effective arguments. An advocate may also provide legal counsel, both in court and out of court, as they are responsible for presenting a convincing and accurate version of their client’s case.
Litigation in the Courtroom
A lawyer’s focus is on presenting a case in litigation. This includes obtaining a favourable outcome in the court proceedings by proving or disproving facts, interpreting the law, and utilizing relevant precedent. A good lawyer will possess an in-depth knowledge of the law, the legal system and understand the minutiae of courtroom proceedings.
Limitations of an Advocate
The primary limitation of an advocate is that they cannot appear in out-of-jurisdiction courts. However, an advocate can, in some cases, provide legal representation in other states or countries. It will depend heavily on the laws and regulations of those jurisdictions, such as whether an advocate who is certified in one state may represent their client in another state.
Exploring the Difference in Practice
In practice, the roles of advocate and lawyer may overlap. Both roles require a demonstrable level of knowledge of the relevant law and mandate representation in a court of law. In some countries, a single lawyer may perform both functions should the court demands it.
Closing Thoughts on the Advocate vs Lawyer Debate
The comparison between advocates and lawyers can be tricky. Fundamentally, advocates are typically more specialised, specializing in a particular set of laws and appearing in court to defend a client for those laws. With that said, lawyers can do much of the same but handle a much larger scope of court proceedings. Numerous aspects go into choosing a legal professional, including a career path, qualifications, and courtroom experience, but ultimately the needs of the client will dictate which route they choose. Whichever path you decide to take, you can rest assured that your legal needs will be protected.