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dnooman
02-27-2005, 10:15 PM
A friend of mine has completed law school, but has not yet passed the bar, he still insists that he's a lawyer. Is this true? If so, that seems a bit misleading, since he can't practice law. Right?

dnooman
02-27-2005, 10:17 PM
A friend of mine has completed law school, but has not yet passed the bar, he still insists that he's a lawyer. Is this true? If so, that seems a bit misleading, since he can't practice law. Right?
The title should finish with ...after passing the bar?

In case that wasn't obvious, of course.

bump
02-27-2005, 10:24 PM
I'm not a lawyer, but I tend to think that if you have a Juris Doctorate and haven't passed the bar, you're just some lazy slob with a JD, not a lawyer.

He can call himself a lawyer, but no real attorney will take him seriously until he passes the bar.

Cunctator
02-27-2005, 10:43 PM
The distinction in Australia is generally between those who have successfully completed law degrees (an LLB) and those who have then gone on to do the necessary practical exams and work experience to be admitted as barristers or solicitors of the appropriate state Supreme Court. The latter are generically "lawyers". The former merely have law degrees.

AmyG
02-27-2005, 11:33 PM
There were three steps, at least for me, in becoming authorized to practice law:

1. Gain a J.D. from an accredited law school (a few jurisdictions in the U.S., I believe, allow for limited exceptions to this).

2. Take the bar, and pass it. I did not start working for a law firm until after I took the bar. When I started work, I had to have the caveat 'Awaiting Admission' after my name in any professional correspondence, so as not to give the impression that I was an admitted attorney. The only practical effect this had on my work was that I couldn't be listed on court papers or appear in court (not that you get a lot of opportunities for court appearances your first few months at a big firm).

3. Fill out a lot of paperwork, pay a fee, and go for a character interview. Once the interviewer gave me the thumbs-up, I went to the courtroom, got sworn in, and was officially admitted to practice in New York State. The only immediate changes were: (i) I got to take that 'Awaiting Admission' off my correspondence; (ii) I got my business cards; (iii) my name went on the signature block for court papers I worked on (below the partner, of course); and (iv) the firm put my name up on the website.

cainxinth
02-28-2005, 03:31 AM
AmyG's got it, but to sum up:

You're not a lawyer, that is not permitted to practice law in any state, until you have been admitted to its bar association. Most states, with the notable exception of California, require a degree from an accredited law school as well as a character review before letting you take their bar exam.

I'm a lowly first year law student. Which means I'm about as close to being a lawyer as your common garden slug.

Cliffy
02-28-2005, 10:26 AM
he still insists that he's a lawyer. Is this true?

No. AmyG's experience is similar to my own. A person isn't a lawyer until she is admitted to a state Bar. Typically that requires 1) a law degree fron an accredited law school, 2) passage of the state's Bar Examination, 3) passage of some sort of good character test (in Virginia it's all on paper but you need to get references; other states require interviews) and 4) an official swearing in by a judge or other state officer.

There are some exceptions (Virginia and other states allow people who have apprenticed in law offices to sit for the Bar Exam even without a degree; Wisconsin doesn't require the Exam if you graduate from an accredited Wisconsin school) and in many cases once you're admitted to one state Bar you can "waive in" to the Bars of other states, but without exception you're not a lawyer until you've been sworn in, and in most cases you don't get sworn in until you've met the other three requirements.

--Cliffy, Esq.

Max Torque
02-28-2005, 12:08 PM
Yeah, for my money, you're not a lawyer until you're licensed. That means getting your JD, pasing the bar exam, getting a passing score on the multistate professional responsibility exam, doing anything else that's required, paying your license fee and other associated taxes, getting your license, and taking the oath. Until that license is received and effective, you're not a lawyer.

smiling bandit
02-28-2005, 04:41 PM
Related question: when did they start requiring JD degrees? Many lawyers used to not have have them, because passing the bar was considered enough. Why do they now require you to have a specific degree?

Billdo
02-28-2005, 06:30 PM
Related question: when did they start requiring JD degrees? Many lawyers used to not have have them, because passing the bar was considered enough. Why do they now require you to have a specific degree?

I've posted this before, and I'm sure I'll post it again:

The American Bar Association has published a Comprehensive Guide to Bar Admission Requirements (2003) (http://abanet.org/legaled/publications/compguide2003/compguide2003.html). Chart III PDF File (http://abanet.org/legaled/publications/compguide2003/legalstudy.pdf) indicates the states which permit Bar admission based on "Law Office Study" rather than study at a law school (either ABA approved or not). Some of these states require some law school along with law office study.

According to the chart and accompanying notes, one can be admitted to the bar without attending any law school in Vemont, Virgina, and Washington. If you're interested in this option, you should check the law and regulations of the particular jurisdiction.

Flipshod
02-28-2005, 08:28 PM
After law school, but before you can say you're a lawyer, your state bar folks get enough information on you to re-create your life from scratch.

The overwhelming breach of privacy is a humiliating and draining act of submission to the State.

Then again, in exchange for that, you get the ability to participate in and rely upon the violence and authority of the State .

It's really odd when you think of it in its rawest terms

Cliffy
02-28-2005, 10:12 PM
After law school, but before you can say you're a lawyer, your state bar folks get enough information on you to re-create your life from scratch.

Not true, although it is onerous. But a "breach of privacy? Definitely not -- it's a perfectly voluntary act, and since one of the trade-offs is that we become governmental officers with certain vested state powers, not an unreasonable one IMO. YMMV.

--Cliffy

Muffin
03-01-2005, 02:48 AM
A friend of mine has completed law school, but has not yet passed the bar, he still insists that he's a lawyer.He should return his degree and ask for a refund. That a person could finish law school and not realize that he is not yet a lawyer is remarkable.

bump
03-02-2005, 11:59 AM
Finally... something half-conclusive.

I asked my girlfriend, who's a duly licensed attorney here in Texas, and she said definitively, "Not licensed, not a lawyer."

She added (by way of an astoundingly lawyerly answer) that to call yourself "attorney at law", you have to be licensed, and calling yourself a "lawyer" is implying "attorney at law", and is not right.

pravnik
03-02-2005, 04:41 PM
Finally... something half-conclusive.

I asked my girlfriend, who's a duly licensed attorney here in Texas, and she said definitively, "Not licensed, not a lawyer."

She added (by way of an astoundingly lawyerly answer) that to call yourself "attorney at law", you have to be licensed, and calling yourself a "lawyer" is implying "attorney at law", and is not right.

Not only is it not right, if you do it intending to be paid for something, it's a serious crime under the Texas Penal Code:

§ 38.122. FALSELY HOLDING ONESELF OUT AS A
LAWYER. (a) A person commits an offense if, with intent to obtain
an economic benefit for himself or herself, the person holds
himself or herself out as a lawyer, unless he or she is currently
licensed to practice law in this state, another state, or a foreign
country and is in good standing with the State Bar of Texas and the
state bar or licensing authority of any and all other states and
foreign countries where licensed.
(b) An offense under Subsection (a) of this section is a
felony of the third degree.
(c) Final conviction of falsely holding oneself out to be a
lawyer is a serious crime for all purposes and acts, specifically
including the State Bar Rules.

Somebody who says they're a lawyer before they've been admitted to the bar may end up never being one.

Walloon
03-02-2005, 04:46 PM
it's a perfectly voluntary act, and since one of the trade-offs is that we become governmental officers with certain vested state powers, not an unreasonable one IMO.Since when are all lawyers "governmental officers"? This is new to me. Being licensed by the state doesn't make you a governmental officer, any more than a licensed beautician is a governmental officer.

pravnik
03-02-2005, 04:59 PM
Since when are all lawyers "governmental officers"? This is new to me. Being licensed by the state doesn't make you a governmental officer, any more than a licensed beautician is a governmental officer.

Beauticians don't have ethical obligations to the judicial system, though. The State Bar of Texas, to which all licensed attorneys belong, is an administrative agency of the judicial branch in Texas. If you're admitted to the bar, you're an "officer of the court," and when you're sworn in you take an oath as such to uphold the law and the justice system.

Cliffy
03-02-2005, 05:03 PM
Since when are all lawyers "governmental officers"?

Since forever. Yes, being licensed by the state generally doesn't make you a governmental officer, but being licensed as a lawyer does -- I'm an Officer of the Court, I have professional obligations to the Court that trump my personal feelings or even the interest of my clients, I have the power to issue subpoenas without recourse to a judge, and I had to take an oath to defend the Constitution. Obviously it's not the main aspect of being a lawyer, but in the U.S. (well, I don't know about Louisiana) lawyers are minor state officers.

--Cliffy

Cunctator
03-02-2005, 05:03 PM
Since when are all lawyers "governmental officers"? This is new to me. Being licensed by the state doesn't make you a governmental officer, any more than a licensed beautician is a governmental officer.

All solicitors and barristers are automatically officers of the Court under s5 of the Legal Profession Act (NSW) 1987: "a legal practitioner is, on and from admission, an officer of the Supreme Court".

I imagine that similar legislation exists in the various US states.

SCSimmons
03-02-2005, 07:02 PM
Are you considered to be a lawyer after finishing law school, or after passing the bar?

What, no laywer jokes yet?!

Ahem ...

"As soon as you finish signing your name in blood on the pact with Satan."

Thank you. You may now return to your interesting and informative thread.

Atticus Finch
03-02-2005, 07:25 PM
I'd like to disagree slightly with my learned Sydneysider friend. In Victoria, and I believe that the process is similar in most states, to be considered a legal practioner in most Australian states, you must hold a practising certificate. This certificate must be reissued every year, based on your completion of the educational / experience requirements (LLB, articles of clerkship), as already mentioned. However, there are additional requirements such as trust fund reporting and audits, as well as compliance with the ethical rules of the profession, and a fairly nominal fee.

So, a major ethical breach, or a bit of embezzlement, and you'll lose your certificate and can no longer be considered a legal practioner. It's possible to be readmitted, but I don't know the process. If you've lost your practising certificate (I knew one semi-retired lawyer who merely let his lapse), you can still perform certain quasi-legal tasks eg the drafting of wills under certain conditions, but you cannot give legal advice.

Cliffy
03-03-2005, 08:03 AM
A similar regime exists in the States, Atticus; you are a lawyer when you're admitted to the Bar, but ethical breaches can get you booted therefrom, and you're not allowed to practice then.

--Cliffy

Orville mogul
03-23-2005, 08:32 AM
Which means I'm about as close to being a lawyer as your common garden slug.

must...resist... temptation ....for... joke about....slugs

wildkoala
05-08-2013, 11:28 AM
I know someone who also brags that she is a lawyer and boasts about her undergraduate law degree. She has every excuse under the sun why she can't complete the bar exam ('ooh....I have a disability and it's therefore too hard for me because they won't make allowances'), but apparently gives legal advice at a free legal aid place as a volunteer.....and apparently pays some registration or other to the Law Institute of Victoria for the privilege.

Can someone please confirm that she is NOT a lawyer? This is a person whose truthfulness in many contexts leaves much to be desired (I've caught her out in several porky pies), and frankly I'm a little sick of her fabrications. Next time she calls herself a lawyer, I would like nothing better than to say, 'But that's not quite truthful, is it - because you know very well that you're NOT a lawyer'. But I need to get my facts straight.

So please someone, confirm that she isn't a lawyer......and how it is that she can volunteer to give out advice at a free community legal aid place. Because that will be her next move, to mention that.

The person concerned knows even less about some areas of the law than I do....and my degrees certainly weren't in law. You will really make my day if you can confirm that she isn't a lawyer!!!

Muffin
05-08-2013, 02:00 PM
Plug in her name at the bottom of this page. (http://lsb.vic.gov.au/lawyer-search/register-of-legal-practitioners-law-practices/)

wildkoala
05-08-2013, 04:46 PM
That explains a lot.

She's listed as a legal practitioner, but only as a volunteer. I clicked on a link to read the conditions under which they can practice. And she can be given a licence to practice as a volunteer in a community legal centre, but is prohibited from working outside the bounds of that licence.

So she is a lawyer - but only barely, in the most technical of technical senses, and would cease to become so if she gave up that volunteer role. And can't practice in a real law firm. And hence why she can't look for a law job in the private sector, though she maintains that she only wants to work in the public service. But of course that is not a law job either, I have discovered, but one open to anyone without a law degree. She recently fabricated an entire stream of experience in her current paid job to get a law-related job in the same department......and then discovered that checks would be made and when she asked whether her supervisor would back up her lies, the supervisor said she wouldn't sacrifice her own integrity to cover this person's back. She never got the job.

I noticed that she has told me lies about how much she pays for her licence as well. She told me she pays in excess of $800 per year.

I do not know how she got around the mental health conditions, as she has more than one psychiatric illness, but it does explain why she goes to such lengths to lie and conceal the extent of her dysfunction, which became very apparent to me as an educator who has worked with disabilities and clued in to certain maladaptive behaviours. She acknowledges some (ones that wouldn't interfere with law practice), but I suspect there are more serious underlying ones based upon the abnormal attention seeking behaviour, manipulation and lying. The more I've been noticing and paying attention to the disconnects, the nastier she has got in her attitude towards me when she thinks no-one is around. I believe there has been a bit of shifting between counsellors. Perhaps moving on if someone gets too close?

Thank God she is only a volunteer. Mental note to self: never seek legal advice from a centre which is desperate enough to take her on as a volunteer!

wildkoala
05-08-2013, 04:54 PM
She may not be a lawyer after all. Reading the following from the LIV:

Section 2.2.2(2) of the Act provides limited exceptions to the prohibition in section 2.2.2(1) and enables a person who is not an Australian legal practitioner to engage in legal practice in Victoria in the following specified circumstances:

under the authority of a law of this jurisdiction or of the Commonwealth;
as an incorporated legal practice in accordance with Part 2.7;
as a community legal centre in accordance with Part 2.9;
as an Australian-registered foreign lawyer practising foreign law in accordance with Part 2.8 (see below);
as a person who prepares an enterprise agreement or agreement-based transitional instrument within the meaning of the Commonwealth Fair Work legislation on behalf of a party or proposed party to the agreement;
as a licensee under the Conveyancers Act 2006who performs conveyancing work in accordance with that Act;
as a person who represents another person in proceedings before a court or tribunal with leave of the court or tribunal;
a person who does anything in the course of their employment with the Crown or a public authority or in the performance of duties under an appointment by the Governor in Council.

I guess if I am in doubt there is one sure way of finding out: ring the Law Institute of Victoria and ask!

barbitu8
05-08-2013, 05:33 PM
There were three steps, at least for me, in becoming authorized to practice law:

1. Gain a J.D. from an accredited law school (a few jurisdictions in the U.S., I believe, allow for limited exceptions to this).

2. Take the bar, and pass it. I did not start working for a law firm until after I took the bar. When I started work, I had to have the caveat 'Awaiting Admission' after my name in any professional correspondence, so as not to give the impression that I was an admitted attorney. The only practical effect this had on my work was that I couldn't be listed on court papers or appear in court (not that you get a lot of opportunities for court appearances your first few months at a big firm).

3. Fill out a lot of paperwork, pay a fee, and go for a character interview. Once the interviewer gave me the thumbs-up, I went to the courtroom, got sworn in, and was officially admitted to practice in New York State. The only immediate changes were: (i) I got to take that 'Awaiting Admission' off my correspondence; (ii) I got my business cards; (iii) my name went on the signature block for court papers I worked on (below the partner, of course); and (iv) the firm put my name up on the website.

When I got my law degree in 1966, I did not have to get a JD. An LLB would suffice. (I do have a JD, BTW). Perhaps things have changed. Also, I did not have to undergo a personal interview to determine my character. Affidavits by others that I was of good character sufficed. I don't believe zombies can get licensed to practice, but many do get law degrees. :)

deltasigma
05-08-2013, 08:13 PM
I'm not sure this will be of interest so I'll keep it short. Requirements probably vary a lot by state. In NJ, part of the JD requirement is a residency requirement. I recall it as being 6 semesters of 12 credits or more, but that's obviously wrong or incomplete since many people went part time.

The background check can be a little scary if you have any "skeletons" that are a matter of public record (in which case they aren't really skeletons I guess). And they also fingerprint you. All this after you've managed to survive a 2-day bar exam. Oh the indignity.

Finally there is the swearing in ceremony which also makes you a member of the bar for the 3rd Circuit, or something like that. Never really did figure out how that works.

NJ also requires practicing attorneys to take a certain number of credits each year from ICLE or other recognized sources of continuing legal education. Too many attorneys don't keep up with changes in law so I guess this is meant to help ameliorate that problem. If you're retired or fall into one of a couple other categories, you're excempt.

You also have to pay into the Client's Security Fund each year. This is set up to help compensate clients who have been ripped off. It's also the best way to see if someone is actually admitted to practice in the state.

wildkoala
05-09-2013, 12:08 AM
That makes sense. Most professions would require a certain amount of professional development each year. In my own profession, I have to in order to be a fully registered practitioner.....yet someone who just has a working with children licence (ie not a professional) doesn't. Worth checking that out, too.

The Second Stone
05-10-2013, 08:35 PM
The public understands a lawyer to be someone who is licensed to practice law.

Black's law dictionary Fifth Edition (there are now several newer editions, but that is the one I have) says:

"Lawyer. A person learned in the law; as an attorney, counsel, or solicitor, a person licensed to practice law. Any person who prosecutes or defends causes in courts of record ot other judicial tribunals of the United States..."

In the sense that your law school student or graduate is a person learned in the law, they are in a very narrow sense a lawyer. They are not a lawyer in the sense that anyone who is not a law student or unlicensed grad or someone outside of the legal studies industry would contemplate. My friends who were lawyers but now are retired refuse to call themselves lawyers, even though they are learned. It is misleading to virtually everyone outside legal studies for unlicensed people to call themselves lawyers.

Speaker for the Dead
05-10-2013, 08:48 PM
Hijack, since the question's been mostly answered:

Why do JDs not call themselves "doctor"? Today, at least in Canada, an MD is basically an undergrad degree (at most a Master's), yet MDs get to use the title Doctor.

Muffin
05-10-2013, 09:32 PM
Hijack, since the question's been mostly answered:

Why do JDs not call themselves "doctor"? Today, at least in Canada, an MD is basically an undergrad degree (at most a Master's), yet MDs get to use the title Doctor.
Why would one want to be confused with a paltry academic? ;)

More seriously, why would one want to be confused with an MD?

Muffin
05-10-2013, 11:09 PM
Why JD rather than LL.B.? Well why not? As a generalization, PhDs run our universities, JDs run our legal systems, and MDs keep us alive. (Well, to be honest, the reality is that grad students run our universities, clerks run our legal systems, and nurses keep us alive, but that's another thread.) Regardless of what academic hoops professionals have or have not gone through, they all end up with a high honorific: doctor. Why then do physicians use the honorific while lawyers do not? Because a lawyer wandering about insisting on being called Doctor would end up being sent to a doctor to figure out what was wrong with him. General usage by regular folks is not to be messed with.

Think of the title Doctor as used in a first professional degree as an honorific that is a reflection of the place that profession holds in society. For example, in England an MD degree is an advanced academic degree, whereas the first professional degree for doctors (i.e. physicians) there is a Bachelor of Medicine. For open your mouth and say ah doctors in England, Doctor is strictly honorific. (It gets even odder, in that doctors in England who go on to become surgeons then drop the doctor honorific and go back to being called Mr. as a nod to their roots as barbers.)

So let`s say that you are running a university faced with professionals running about being called Doctor by everyone their grandmother and their dog simply as a courtesy, despite not actually holding an academic doctorate? If you are a practical Scotsman, you recognize the obvious and start naming degrees to match reality. Look back at the ancient universities: Oxford, Cambridge, St. Andrews, Glasgow, Aberdeen, Edinburgh, Dublin. The Scottish ones started the pattern of awarding an MD as a first professional medical degree. The USA took up this pattern, and in fact professional doctorates in medicine and law were being handed out in the USA before research/academic doctorates. For example have a boo at what Yale was awarding: http://oir.yale.edu/1701-1976-yale-book-numbers .

It`s interesting to note that in England the first professional degree for a lawyer is an LL.B., and one enters into it as a first university degree, whereas in the USA the first professional degree for a lawyer is a JD and one enters into it as a graduate degree after completing an undergraduate degree. In Canada, the LL.B is being (or has been – I`m not up to date on this) phased out in favour of the JD, for in Canada almost all entrants into the first professional law degree program already have an undergraduate degree, and much more significantly, it confuses the hell out of American clients when they need to hire lawyers for Canadian matters and for trans-boundary American matters. Quite simply, the change from LL.B. to J.D. in Canada has been primarily driven by practicality, rather than academic technicality. As you can guess, practical Scots from our first Prime Minister McDonald on down have played a very significant role throughout Canada`s history.

Hello Again
05-10-2013, 11:31 PM
Back to the OP

A friend of mine has completed law school, but has not yet passed the bar, he still insists that he's a lawyer. Is this true? If so, that seems a bit misleading, since he can't practice law. Right?
Not only is he not a lawyer, what he's doing specifically against the law in Ohio (http://codes.ohio.gov/orc/4705.07).

In my state fraudulently holding yourself out as a lawyer before you are licensed is widely believed to be the only absolute bar to admission (I'm not sure if it's true or not, but it's what people say).

Rhythmdvl
05-11-2013, 02:09 AM
I graduated law school and passed both the MPRE and the NY Bar. While waiting my results I took on a policy assignment or two and never finished the paperwork, never paid my monies, and never looked back. My wife occasionally refers to me as a lawyer or some such in casual conversation or with clients, and my hair stands on end. I AM NOT A LAWYER! Not from an aversion to the thought, but because until I send in the paperwork, finish the interview, and pay my fees, I am not a lawyer.

Darth Panda
05-11-2013, 02:48 AM
I have a law degree and never sat for the bar (did a joint MBA, decided to go the business route).

I'm not a lawyer, period.

That doesn't necessarily mean that I can't work in some legal functions though.

I was once a certified legal intern in Indiana, which meant that I could practice under a supervising attorney's license and was even able to represent my employer (a city) in court.

I also interned at a large corporate law firm, where I drafted legal briefs, reviewed contracts, wrote memos to clients, etc. Of course, some licensed attorney's name shows up on any relevant document, after they review the work and sign off on it.

After finishing law school, I joined a company through a rotational program and actually did a rotation in one of the legal departments, where I drafted contracts, helped with witness preparation, provided legal advice to internal clients, and did the same type of work as other attorney's in the company. Of course, I couldn't represent anyone in court, or sign off on any external documents, etc.

So, having a law degree doesn't make you a lawyer, but you don't also have to be a lawyer to do things that most people would consider practicing the law.

But, and this is the important part, if you have a law degree and are not licensed, you need to be super careful about what you do. When I was working in that legal group, I always made it very, very clear to people that I was not a licensed attorney. It's the "holding yourself out to be an attorney" part that is the most important.

Spoons
05-11-2013, 05:26 AM
In Canada, the LL.B is being (or has been – I`m not up to date on this) phased out in favour of the JD, for in Canada almost all entrants into the first professional law degree program already have an undergraduate degree, and much more significantly, it confuses the hell out of American clients when they need to hire lawyers for Canadian matters and for trans-boundary American matters. Quite simply, the change from LL.B. to J.D. in Canada has been primarily driven by practicality, rather than academic technicality.The LL.B. is being phased out in Canada. It makes sense; with very, very few exceptions, everybody admitted to a Canadian law school has a bachelor's degree at the very least, as their American counterparts do. Canadian law schools follow the Langdellian system, as American law schools do. Calling a Canadian first professional degree in law a "bachelor's," when the Canadian first professional degree in medicine is a "doctorate," is silly.

I did have a few American clients who had a hard time wrapping their heads around the fact that I had the same education as an American lawyer. It was the "Bachelor of Laws" degree that confused them, for the reason you said.

That being said, my law school offered me the chance to "trade in" my LL.B. for a J.D. I think I'll stick with my LL.B. I don't do much transborder business any more, and the LL.B. is still understood as a proper law degree here in western Canada.

Muffin
05-11-2013, 04:15 PM
Mine's been sitting on the to-do list for a few years. I guess it's safe to say that it isn't high on the priority list.

alphaboi867
05-11-2013, 05:12 PM
The LL.B. is being phased out in Canada. It makes sense; with very, very few exceptions, everybody admitted to a Canadian law school has a bachelor's degree at the very least,...

My understanding is that Quebec is the major exception; CEGEP (junior college) graduates can enter professional programs like law (or even medicine) directly, without needing to get a general undergrad degree first. Of course Quebec's education system has major differences from the rest of North America, mainly due to the aforementioned college-level in between school (which only goes up to grade 11) and university (most bachelor's degree programs being 3 yrs rather 4).

deltasigma
05-11-2013, 05:29 PM
Although technically you can practice once you've been admitted, I think that would be a very reckless thing to do unsupervised. And that is pretty much the accepted wisdom. So it's puzzling that some sort of internship isn't required like it is for physicians.

NJ used to have a basic skills and methods course you had to complete which I know they have beefed up substantially, but AFAIK, there is still no mandatory internship period. It's not always necessary depending on what you do with your degree, but if you will have direct contact with the courts, just learning your way around the court rules can be overwhelming. I got a copy of the annotated rules last year which includes legal commentary, ethics rules and other things and IIRC (it's in the other room) it's well over a thousand pages.

Beyond that, anyone who goes into practice on their own without some sort of errors and omissions insurance is certifiable. You can't escape personal liability, even with an LLC or some other device, so you had better have something to cover your ass.

Northern Piper
05-11-2013, 09:31 PM
My understanding is that Quebec is the major exception; CEGEP (junior college) graduates can enter professional programs like law (or even medicine) directly, without needing to get a general undergrad degree first. Of course Quebec's education system has major differences from the rest of North America, mainly due to the aforementioned college-level in between school (which only goes up to grade 11) and university (most bachelor's degree programs being 3 yrs rather 4).

That's correct. Which is why I've been contacted by the law school where I got my common law LL.B. with offers to convert to J.D., same as Spoons and Muffin, but not from the Quebec law school where I got my civil law LL.B. - as far as I know, they're not converting to J.D.

Like Spoons and Muffin, I have no intention of converting: (1) it won't make any practical difference to me; (2) I earned an LL.B., not a J.D., dammit! None of this academic penis-envy stuff: (3) I like the rhythm of "N. Piper, LL.B., LL.B."

Northern Piper
05-11-2013, 09:38 PM
Although technically you can practice once you've been admitted, I think that would be a very reckless thing to do unsupervised. And that is pretty much the accepted wisdom. So it's puzzling that some sort of internship isn't required like it is for physicians.

It is in Canada - generally, all applicants for the Bar have to serve a year of articles, for just that purpose.

However, there is a drawback to that, same as for interning: what if you're perfectly qualified, but times are tough, economically, and you can't find a position? If firms aren't hiring, you don't get articles. But if you don't serve articles, you can't hang out your own shingle.

That's why Ontario is experimenting with a two-track process, the traditional articles, plus a non-articling process. I don't know how it works, but it will be interesting to see if it spreads to other provinces.

Northern Piper
05-11-2013, 09:45 PM
For a take on the difficulties caused by the interning requirement, see this thread: He didn't match for interning and we're really upset (http://boards.academicpursuits.us/sdmb/showthread.php?t=683186).

deltasigma
05-12-2013, 03:10 AM
Maybe not mandatory. I mean for an MD, sure, not everyone practices on live patients, but even for ancillary occupations like medical research I imagine the experience would at least be useful.

For lawyers, there are plenty that practice w/o ever seeing a client. I was one, mostly. I did research and writing almost exclusively. When I did see clients it was usually perfunctory - jail visits, arraignments, depositions, etc. But honestly, I never should have been at some of those depo's. I didn't know my ass from my elbow.

Melbourne
05-12-2013, 10:00 AM
I noticed that she has told me lies about how much she pays for her licence as well. She told me she pays in excess of $800 per year.

Victoria AUS? Or Victoria CA?

In AUS That would be the licence fee + insurance.

She doesn't need to 'pass the bar exam' to be a lawyer. Australia maintains a distinction between Barristers and Solicitors. Only Barristers need to take a Bar exam before they will be called to the Bar. The Bar is that bit of the court that separates the public (including other lawyers) from the judge.

She needs a practice certificate to practice as a lawyer. I would say that, in Victoria, if she is practicing as a lawyer, in a legal practice, with a (limited) practice certificate, then she seems to be entitled to call herself a lawyer.

But for other people: there is only a very limited number of things you aren't allowed to call yourself in AUS, and that's things like Donald Bradman, a member of the Police or Military, Honours, and a few things like that. "Lawyer" isn't on the restricted list.

Saintly Loser
05-12-2013, 01:18 PM
Obviously the question in the OP has been answered, well and exhaustively, by people more knowledgeable than I.

One more data point, though: At the very large law firm where I work (IANAL), first-year associates who have been hired out of law school but who have not yet passed the bar (whether they have not yet taken it, or have taken it and failed to pass) are referred to as "law clerks," never as lawyers. This appears on their stationery, in their email sigs, and anywhere else their name appears, on paper or electronically.

Lawyers who have been admitted to the bar in a given jurisdiction, but who are, for some reason, working in an office of the firm not in that jursdiction, have a disclaimer wherever their name appears saying something like "Admitted only in [Jurisdiction]. Practicing under the supervision of [some senior lawyer admitted in the relevant jurisdiction]" or something like that.

Edit: This is a U.S. firm, with offices in several states, and overseas offices as well.

Saintly Loser
05-12-2013, 01:23 PM
After law school, but before you can say you're a lawyer, your state bar folks get enough information on you to re-create your life from scratch.

The overwhelming breach of privacy is a humiliating and draining act of submission to the State.

Then again, in exchange for that, you get the ability to participate in and rely upon the violence and authority of the State .

It's really odd when you think of it in its rawest terms

IANAL, but given that lawyers can act for their clients, sign papers for them, hold their money in the lawyer's escrow account, issue subpoenas dragging people into court or forcing them to produce documents, and all kinds of stuff like that, a bit of investigation to determine if they are trustworthy seems entirely appropriate.

robert_columbia
05-12-2013, 01:36 PM
The title should finish with ...after passing the bar?

In case that wasn't obvious, of course.

In Boston, lawyahs who have passed the ba are allowed to pahk theiah cah in Hahvahd yahd.

barbitu8
05-12-2013, 04:49 PM
Slightly off the topic, I got my JD and passed the Ill. bar in 1966, but never practiced law. However, I needed to be a lawyer for the work I did. I examined title to r e for CTI and later became a staff attorney for SSA, OHA, never applying for an ALJ, but becoming a supervisory staff attorney before I retired in 1992. If you are licensed to practice law in any state you can be an attorney for the federal government in any state. If you are licensed in one state, you can not practice law in any other state without first passing that state's bar.

dnooman
05-15-2013, 10:30 PM
I started this thread 8 years ago? Damn, I feel old.

My friend eventually passed the bar for those of you waiting with bated breath these past 8 years.

kurtisokc
05-16-2013, 09:45 PM
The way it was explained to me in law school was that a lawyer is someone who is learned in the law, while an attorney (at law) is authorized to represent clients in court. Thus, law students are, technically, lawyers, but not attorneys (until they pass the bar and admitted to practice.) Of course, in everyday speech, the terms are used interchangeably.

UltraVires
05-16-2013, 09:53 PM
I started this thread 8 years ago? Damn, I feel old.

My friend eventually passed the bar for those of you waiting with bated breath these past 8 years.

In those 8 years, I have finished by bachelors degree and graduated from law school...Well, on Saturday I graduate. But I'm definitely not eligible to practice law until I've passed the bar exam, passed the character and fitness interview (and yes, it is absolutely humiliating to have to disclose every time you didn't send your Mom a birthday card), and then be sworn in before the state supreme court. Then I get to practice law...

dnooman
05-17-2013, 01:34 AM
Gratz on you getting your J.D.?

Spoons
05-17-2013, 03:06 AM
The way it was explained to me in law school was that a lawyer is someone who is learned in the law, while an attorney (at law) is authorized to represent clients in court. Thus, law students are, technically, lawyers, but not attorneys (until they pass the bar and admitted to practice.) Of course, in everyday speech, the terms are used interchangeably.Here in Canada, as explained above, graduates from a law school have to article. It's basically a one-year apprenticeship when you practice under the supervision of an experienced lawyer, and study for and write the bar exams. So we have some interesting terminology for each step of the way:

-- When you attend law school, you are a "law student."
-- When you are articling, you are a "student-at-law," or an "articling student."
-- When you are admitted, you are a "barrister and solicitor," or simply a "lawyer."

Interestingly, we don't use the term "attorney" to refer to a person admitted to the bar.

alphaboi867
05-17-2013, 06:14 AM
But you do have things like (provincial & federal) Attorneys-General and Crown Attorneys.

Acsenray
05-17-2013, 07:18 AM
When I got my law degree in 1966, I did not have to get a JD. An LLB would suffice. (I do have a JD, BTW). Perhaps things have changed.

Mostly what has changed is that is it, for the most part, not possible to get an LL.B. in the United States. Almost all law schools call their initial law degree "J.D."

The way it was explained to me in law school was that a lawyer is someone who is learned in the law, while an attorney (at law) is authorized to represent clients in court. Thus, law students are, technically, lawyers, but not attorneys (until they pass the bar and admitted to practice.) Of course, in everyday speech, the terms are used interchangeably.

I don't know whether or how many people make this distinction as stated by Kurt, but it's pretty nonsensical.

A lawyer is someone who is authorized to practice law. An attorney is a person's representative or agent. An attorney at law is a lawyer who represents someone. You are a lawyer when you are admitted to the bar. You are someone's attorney when you get a client.

But you do have things like (provincial & federal) Attorneys-General and Crown Attorneys.

Those are specific job titles.

Northern Piper
05-17-2013, 10:00 AM
The way it was explained to me in law school was that a lawyer is someone who is learned in the law, while an attorney (at law) is authorized to represent clients in court. Thus, law students are, technically, lawyers, but not attorneys (until they pass the bar and admitted to practice.) Of course, in everyday speech, the terms are used interchangeably.

There may be difference here between different countries. As Spoons has said, that definition of lawyer wouldn't be used in Canada; someone who has a law degree but hasn't been called is not a lawyer, they're just someone with a law degree.

In fact, in some Canadian provinces, the term "lawyer" is restricted by statute to individuals who have been called, and it is an offence for someone who has not been called to refer to themselves as a lawyer. See the Saskatchewan Legal Profession Act (http://qp.gov.sk.ca/documents/English/Statutes/Statutes/L10-1.pdf):

Eligibility as lawyer
24(1) Any person may apply to the society to be admitted as a lawyer, and the society may admit that person as a member if that person:

(a) produces evidence satisfactory to the benchers of service as a student-at- law or practice as a lawyer;

(b) produces evidence that the person has completed a legal education program that is prescribed in the rules;

(c) complies with the rules; and

(d) fulfils any other requirement that the benchers may prescribe.
...
False pretences
32(2) No person who is not a member in good standing shall use the designations “barrister”, “solicitor”, “barrister and solicitor”, “lawyer” or “attorney”.

As well, we would definitely not use the phrase "learned in the law" to describe someone who has a law degree but has never been called. "Learned in the law" is the catchphrase used to describe someone who has been appointed a Queen's Counsel, which normally requires at least 10 years experience at the bar, and often more like 20.

Northern Piper
05-17-2013, 10:02 AM
But you do have things like (provincial & federal) Attorneys-General and Crown Attorneys.

Those are specific job titles.

That's correct. And "Crown Attorney" is not used in all jurisdictions, nor at the federal level. "Crown prosecutor" or "Crown counsel" are the more common terms. In my province, the only person with "Attorney" in their job title is the Attorney General.

Muffin
05-18-2013, 04:59 AM
Where I am, an attorney is someone who acts on behalf of someone (i.e. an agent), and does not have to be a lawyer. For example, the attorney of a Power of Attorney could be your tap dancing uncle Fred Mertz. Back in Merry Old, a solicitor would act as your attorney in legal matters (i.e. attorney-at-law), whereas a barrister would not act as an attorney and instead would simply present the case on behalf of the attorney. That’s why it makes perfect sense that in Ontario, Canada, a solicitor usually must hold the degree of Barrister-at-Law (Fred, cue the rim-shot).

barbitu8
05-18-2013, 04:44 PM
Where I am, an attorney is someone who acts on behalf of someone (i.e. an agent), and does not have to be a lawyer. For example, the attorney of a Power of Attorney could be your tap dancing uncle Fred Mertz. Back in Merry Old, a solicitor would act as your attorney in legal matters (i.e. attorney-at-law), whereas a barrister would not act as an attorney and instead would simply present the case on behalf of the attorney. That’s why it makes perfect sense that in Ontario, Canada, a solicitor usually must hold the degree of Barrister-at-Law (Fred, cue the rim-shot).

In the States, this is called an attorney-in-fact under a power of attorney. Anybody can be appointed under a power of attorney, but the power ends when the grantor dies or revokes it.

kurtisokc
05-18-2013, 05:12 PM
I don't know whether or how many people make this distinction as stated by Kurt, but it's pretty nonsensical.




I don't agree that it is nonsensical, though it may not fit the Canadian context. I admit that I was not as precise in my use of words as I should have been. Instead of "represent clients in court" I should have said "practice law."


As well, we would definitely not use the phrase "learned in the law" to describe someone who has a law degree but has never been called. "Learned in the law" is the catchphrase used to describe someone who has been appointed a Queen's Counsel, which normally requires at least 10 years experience at the bar, and often more like 20.

Again, I should have been more careful with my choice of words. I momentarily forgot that the phrase is a term of art in certain contexts. I believe in the United States being "learned in the law" is a qualification for taking the bar in certain states, and basically means having graduated from an accredited law school. (In the past it could have meant having "read the law", that is, having studied and practiced under the supervision of a licensed attorney, sort of like an internship. But that practice is mostly obsolete, still being an option in only a hand-full of states.)


Where I am, an attorney is someone who acts on behalf of someone (i.e. an agent), and does not have to be a lawyer. For example, the attorney of a Power of Attorney could be your tap dancing uncle Fred Mertz. Back in Merry Old, a solicitor would act as your attorney in legal matters (i.e. attorney-at-law), whereas a barrister would not act as an attorney and instead would simply present the case on behalf of the attorney. That’s why it makes perfect sense that in Ontario, Canada, a solicitor usually must hold the degree of Barrister-at-Law (Fred, cue the rim-shot).


Technically, this is absolutely correct. However, as I have already mentioned the term "attorney" without qualifier is universally assumed in everyday speech to mean "attorney at law," and is considered synonymous with "lawyer." As far as authorization to use the term goes, I think anyone who holds himself out as a "lawyer" would probably get in trouble if it is done in a way that is deceptive. A guy who is preparing to take the bar exam is not going to be in trouble with the bar association for mentioning that he is lawyer at a cocktail party. He would be in trouble if he set up shop and started soliciting business as a provider of legal services. Of course, anyone who does that would be engaging in unauthorized practice of law, whether or not he holds himself out as a lawyer or attorney.

Leo Bloom
05-19-2013, 12:03 AM
...I'm an Officer of the Court, I have professional obligations to the Court [...] I have the power to issue subpoenas without recourse to a judge...

--Cliffy
Huh? Or, huh :eek: ?

... For example have a boo at what Yale was awarding: http://oir.yale.edu/1701-1976-yale-book-numbers ....
The meaning is clear but this is the first I've seen this expression.

O say o non-American, from what land do you hail?

Muffin
05-19-2013, 03:45 AM
The non-American end of Hwy 61, where a couple having a shag sell tickets to the general public to attend.

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