What Is the Difference Between a Lawyer and an Attorney?

You may be searching for a personal injury lawyer if you were injured in an accident or other harm-causing situation. However, your search results include both attorneys and lawyers who practice personal injury law in Joliet, IL. How do you know whether you need a lawyer or an attorney to handle your personal injury case?

The truth is that the terms “lawyer” and “attorney” are often used interchangeably. However, there is a technical difference that is not often used in today’s legal community. Let’s examine the difference and learn how to find a Joliet personal injury attorney to help you with a claim.

Lawyers Have Earned a Law Degree From a Law School

The term lawyer refers to someone who has earned a law degree (Juris Doctor degree or J.D.) from an accredited law school. The American Bar Association (ABA) accredits law schools in the United States. Accreditation ensures that lawyers receive a similar education regardless of their law school. 

Attorneys Have Passed a Bar Exam To Receive a Law License 

An attorney is a lawyer who has taken at least one bar exam, passed the exam, and has been admitted to practice law. An attorney practicing law without a license can be fined according to the Illinois Attorney Act. Each state determines the qualifications and criteria for being admitted to the Bar to practice law in that state.

Becoming Licensed To Practice Law in Illinois

There are several requirements to become licensed to practice law in Illinois. The primary requirements to become a member of the state bar include:

The Illinois Bar Exam

The bar examination is administered by the Illinois Board of Admissions to the Bar. The bar exam has numerous sections that cover specific areas of law. The exam also covers other matters, such as conflicts of interest, evidence, and civil procedure.

An attorney should be familiar with all of the subjects on the bar exam, even if they intend to limit their law practice to a specific area, such as personal injury.

The Illinois Professional Responsibility Exam

In addition to passing the bar exam, a lawyer must also pass the state’s professional responsibility exam. The Illinois Rules of Professional Conduct govern how attorneys conduct business. The exam covers areas including conflicts of interest, fee agreements, and client confidentiality. An attorney could lose their license for violating the rules.

The Illinois Character and Fitness Exam

When an attorney applies to be a member of the Bar, they must pass a character and fitness examination. The exam thoroughly examines the attorney’s background, including education, employment, criminal record, residence, and other bar admissions. The character and fitness exam is designed to protect the public.

How Do I Choose the Best Joliet Personal Injury Lawyer for My Case?

When you hire a Joliet personal injury attorney to handle your accident or injury claim, there is a lot at stake. You want to be assured that you are hiring the right attorney to handle your case. However, it can be consuming and overwhelming when you are confronted with a long list of personal injury law firms in Joliet.

Some questions that can help you determine if an attorney is the best fit for your case include:

What Is Your Experience?

Ideally, you want to choose an attorney with significant experience handling personal injury cases similar to your case. The attorney should have a winning record of both settlements and jury verdicts. Ask about their success rate, how often they take cases to court, how long they have been practicing law, and if they hold any special certifications or awards.

What Is Your Fee Structure?

In Illinois, many personal injury lawyers accept cases based on a contingency fee basis. Instead of charging an hourly rate for legal services, they agree to accept a percentage of the amount they recover for your personal injury claim. Therefore, they are not paid until and unless they win compensation for your case.

However, not all contingency fee structures are the same. Attorneys may charge slightly different percentages, which may change depending on whether your claim is settled or goes to trial. Make sure you ask about the entire fee structure from beginning to end.

Who Will Handle My Case?

It is also important to know who will work on your case. The personal injury law firm you select should be able to dedicate the full force of its experience and resources to your case. Make sure that you know in advance the specific attorney whom you will be working with and that you’ll be able to contact them at any time as your case progresses.

Learn More by Scheduling Free Consultations

Searching for a personal injury lawyer can be challenging. An option is to research each lawyer online to narrow your list to potential choices. Then, meet with each attorney for a free consultation. Based on your meetings, you can narrow the list to the best personal injury lawyer in Joliet for your case.

Contact the Chicago Personal Injury Law Firm of Zayed Law Offices Personal Injury Attorneys for Help Today

For more information, please contact the experienced Chicago personal injury lawyers at Zayed Law Offices Personal Injury Attorneys today. We offer free consultations.

We proudly serve Cook County, Will County, Kendall County, and its surrounding areas:

Zayed Law Offices Personal Injury Attorneys – Chicago Office
10 S La Salle St STE 1230, Chicago, IL 60603
(312) 726-1616

Zayed Law Offices Personal Injury Attorneys – Joliet Office
195 Springfield Ave, Joliet, IL 60435
(815) 726-1616