lawyer

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An individual who is authorized to practice law. A lawyer is also called an attorney or attorney-at-law.

The court in the Savings Bank v. Ward case deftly illustrates various qualities and duties of an attorney. The opinion mentions that attorneys:

  • Are officers of the court, but are not officers of the United States
  • If acting without reasonable care, may be liable for damages stemming from negligence
  • If acting with skill, reasonable care, and to the best of their knowledge, will not be held liable for every mistake that may occur in legal practice
  • Claim to be reasonably well acquainted with the law, rules, and court practices
  • Do not claim to know all the law or to be incapable of making errors or mistakes in applying the law to facts
  • Are generally obligated to their clients rather than to a third party, with exceptions

[Last updated in June of 2020 by the Wex Definitions Team]