Attorney is a term commonly used for a lawyer in the United States. It is used to describe a professional who advises individuals, businesses and agencies on legal matters and represents such in law courts. Attorneys research and apply legal theories, knowledge and rulings to protect the interests of their clients in legal settings. They present facts verbally and in writing to argue their cases on behalf of clients. They help with the preparation and filing of legal documents, such as lawsuits, appeals, deeds, and contracts. A person who desires to become a lawyer must undergo training in a law school after completing a four-year undergraduate degree program in a recognized institution. A bar exam must also be passed to get license to practice.
Orators of ancient Athens are considered probably the first people that could be called lawyers, in a sense a bit close to what we know today. There were also unregulated juriconsults and advocates who argued people's cases during the Roman Republic and early Roman Empire. But the profession only became well-established and regulated by the beginning of the Byzantine Empire.
A good number of attorneys work in private practice. But some also work for federal, state and local governments as prosecutor counsels. They work as public defense attorneys, corporate in-house counsels and arbitrators as well. While most will take just about any case, some specialize in certain areas. Specialists include family lawyers, securities lawyers, intellectual property lawyers, and environmental lawyers.
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