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A person, who through a regular program of study, is learned in legal matters and has been licensed to practice his or her profession. Any qualified person who prosecutes or defends causes in courts of record or other judicial tribunals of the United States, or of any of the states, or who renders legal advice or assistance in relation to any cause or matter. Unless a contrary meaning is plainly indicated this term is synonymous with attorney, attorney at law, or counselor at law.

Each of the 50 states employs admissions committees or boards to review the backgrounds of prospective attorneys before they are admitted to practice. Each state also has adopted codes of conduct or disciplinary rules and has appointed adjudicative boards to address Attorney Misconduct. But these measures only weed out or discipline those who have violated laws or those who are otherwise unfit to practice law. They have done little to address the day-to-day civility and conduct of attorneys in their practice. In that regard, the behavior and conduct of peers and colleagues within the profession often impose more palpable influences on newly practicing attorneys than any standards or codes of ethics that they may have learned in law school.

A focus of a new movement in several states is not only to crack down on professional misconduct per se, but also to stem borderline conduct before it becomes an ethical violation. U.S. Supreme Court Chief Justice william rehnquist, addressing new graduates from the University of Virginia School of Law in June 2001, remarked that incivility remained one of the greatest threats to the ideals of American justice and to the public's trust in the law. The conduct of former president bill clinton was considered to have seriously contributed to the harming of public confidence and trust in the legal profession because of his subjective approach to answering questions under oath and other improprieties associated with the legal aspects of his administration.

The American Bar Association (ABA) and lawyers' groups in more than a dozen states have joined in the movement to improve not only civility and courtesy among lawyers, but also the public's perception of the profession. Ultimately, the goal of these efforts is to ensure that attorneys have an unequivocal, current, and realistic standard of conduct and ethics to rely upon as a valid guide for their profession.


noun avocat, advocate, attorney, barrister, counsel, counselor, iurisconsultus, iurisperitus, jurisconsult, jurist, legal advisor, legal advocate, legal consultant, legal practitioner, legist, member of the legal profession, solicitor
Associated concepts: admission to bar, attorney-client privvlege, bar association, character and fitness committee, code of professional conduct, grievance committee, work product
See also: advocate, attorney, barrister, counsel, counselor, esquire, jurist, practitioner, proctor, proxy, representative

LAWYER. A counselor; one learned in the law. Vide attorney.

References in periodicals archive ?
The heart of such a plan is a strategic alliance, spelled out in a contract, between the sole practitioner and another firm.
VIRGINIA SOLE PRACTITIONER John Gill has used technology not only to cut down on the time required for tasks such as tax research but also to open new marketing opportunities.
There were some interesting differences between sole practitioners and multiowner firms--as well as some similarities.
Christina McKinnon, 42, of Pembroke Pines, is a sole practitioner with the Law Office of Christina A.
Will a larger firm be able to provide the personal touch on which the sole practitioner has built the practice?
It is a shame that the Law Society feels the need to use the rhetoric it has when there is a pressing issue here that needs serious attention and focus, which is how to bridge the gap between the insurance market and the Law Society's own compensation fund in respect of sole practitioner fraud.
This may be attributed to the large pools of small clients requiring tax services (versus fewer who need audit assistance) and to the fact that the sole practitioner is better equipped to handle tax issues than audit engagements.
For a sole practitioner, the attorney-client relationship is like a marriage.
There is little question that the sole practitioner with low overhead can present a more acceptable bill to these clients than can a larger firm.
Rowe, 43, of Newberry, is a sole practitioner, in addition to being a Florida Supreme Court certified circuit civil mediator.