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What Is The Difference Between An Advocate And A Lawyer?

calendar28 Jun, 2023
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What Is The Difference Between An Advocate And A Lawyer?

Advocate and lawyer are two phrases frequently used interchangeably, but they refer to different things. While lawyers and advocates work in the legal field, they have different roles and responsibilities.

Who is an Advocate?

An advocate is a legal professional representing clients in court or legal proceedings. They are often referred to as litigators or trial lawyers. Advocates are responsible for presenting their clients’ cases in court, arguing on their behalf, and ensuring they receive a fair hearing.

Advocates must have excellent advocacy skills, which means presenting a client’s case effectively, persuasively and efficiently. They must communicate well in written and verbal form and work hard to establish a good relationship with their clients.

Advocates are also experts in the law and must keep up to date with legal developments. They must research and analyse legal cases, precedents, and statutes and apply them to their client’s cases.

Who is a Lawyer?

A lawyer is a legal professional who guides and represents clients in legal affairs. Lawyers have a broad range of responsibilities depending on their area of specialisation. For example, a corporate lawyer advises businesses on legal issues such as mergers and acquisitions, contracts, and intellectual property. In contrast, a criminal defence lawyer represents clients in criminal cases.

Lawyers may also act as advisors, offering clients legal advice and helping them understand their legal rights and obligations. They may draft legal contracts and briefs and give legal opinions.

While advocacy is one of the core skills of a lawyer, not all lawyers are advocates. Some lawyers may spend most of their time working on transactional matters such as contract negotiation rather than in court advocating for clients.

The Major Difference Between Lawyer and Advocate

The main difference between an advocate and a lawyer is their role in the legal field. Advocates are primarily responsible for representing their clients in court or legal hearings, while lawyers may also act as advisors, offering legal advice to clients outside the courtroom.

Advocates typically have experience and skill in litigation, while lawyers may specialise in areas such as transactional work or advisory services.

Another difference is that advocates generally have more extensive courtroom experience than lawyers. Advocates must have excellent knowledge of the laws governing the specific area of litigation and be able to present the client’s case compellingly.

  Advocate     Lawyer
Represent clients in courts of law. Legally trained professionals who advise and represent individuals, businesses, or government agencies.  
Usually specialised in court appearances.   Have a broad range of legal practice areas.
Focuses on the litigation process. Can perform many legal tasks such as drafting legal documents, negotiating settlements, and providing legal advice.  
Has a duty to promote their client’s interests while maintaining the profession’s integrity.   Has a duty to the court and their clients, including confidentiality, avoiding conflicts of interest, and providing competent representation.
Generally, advocates are regarded as a type of lawyer in common law jurisdictions.   The term “lawyer” is generally used in countries following civil law tradition.

The Career of an Advocate and a Lawyer

The law profession has existed since time immemorial, and the role of a lawyer or advocate holds immense importance in ensuring justice within a society. In India, a lawyer’s career is highly respected and has opened avenues for many young aspirants who aspire to make a difference in society. This profession is not limited to appearing in courtrooms but caters to various sectors such as academics, research, and corporate.

One must have a law degree to become a lawyer for drafting contracts, briefs, and giving legal opinions. These can be a three-year LLB degree or a five-year integrated degree, including an undergraduate program and a law degree. The admission process requires a rigorous selection, including a written test and personal interviews. Once the law degree is obtained, one must enrol with the State Bar Council to practice as a court advocate.

The career of a lawyer or advocate in India is multifaceted, requiring not just legal knowledge but also excellent communication skills and perseverance. Lawyers and advocates represent clients in various legal proceedings, such as civil, criminal, and family courts. They serve as legal advisors to individuals, companies, and government agencies, providing guidance on legal matters and drafting documents such as deeds, agreements, and wills.

Apart from appearing in courts, lawyers and advocates in India also have the option of pursuing a career in academics, where they can teach law in various universities and colleges, or they can opt for research and writing in their areas of specialisation. Many lawyers in India also choose to enter the corporate sector, where they work as legal advisors and help companies navigate through various legal procedures and regulations.

A lawyer’s career in India can be financially rewarding, and the earning potential largely depends on their specialisation, work experience, and the number of cases they handle. Lawyers and advocates in India who specialise in corporate law, taxation, or intellectual property law obtain higher salaries than those who work in different areas, such as civil law or family law.

In addition to the financial rewards, the career of a lawyer or advocate in India also comes with a sense of social responsibility. Lawyers in India have played a crucial role in shaping the Indian legal system and seeking the rights of the marginalised parts of society. Many lawyers have also been involved in various pro-bono initiatives, providing legal aid to those who cannot afford legal assistance.

Thus, the career of a lawyer or advocate in India is rewarding and requires great dedication and hard work. It is a profession with financial rewards and social responsibility and offers many opportunities for those wishing to make a difference in society. With the ever-increasing demand for legal services, this profession will remain relevant and vital to India’s legal system.

The Laws and Legal Provisions Related to an Advocate and a Lawyer

Difference between an advocate and a lawyer are legal professionals who are vital in managing justice. They are entrusted with providing effective legal representation to their clients, ensuring their rights and interests are protected throughout the legal process. In India, the laws and legal provisions related to advocates and lawyers are governed by the Advocates Act, 1961[1], and the Bar Council of India Rules.

The Advocates Act 1961 is the primary legislation governing the legal profession in India. It regulates the admission, regulation, and discipline of advocates nationwide. The act defines an advocate as a person who has been enrolled as an advocate under the provisions of the act and also includes a person who has been admitted to practice law before any court in India.

The act lays down the eligibility criteria for enrolment as an advocate. A person must have completed a bachelor’s degree in law (LLB) from a recognised university and passed the bar examination conducted by the Bar Council of India. The act also provides for establishing the Bar Council of India, which is the statutory body responsible for regulating the legal profession in the country.

One of the act’s key provisions concerns advocates’ rights and duties. A person who has been enrolled as an advocate is entitled to practice law in all courts in India, including the Supreme Court, High Courts, and sub-ordinate courts. The act also lays down the duties of advocates, which include upholding the dignity of the profession, maintaining ethical standards, not accepting briefs from clients who cannot afford legal services, and providing effective legal representation to their clients.

In addition to the Advocates Act, various other legal provisions govern the conduct of advocates and lawyers. The Code of Civil Procedure, 1908, and the Code of Criminal Procedure, 1973, provide for the rights and duties of advocates during civil and criminal trials, respectively. The Indian Evidence Act 1872 lays down the rules of evidence applicable in courts of law.

Another important legislation related to advocates is the Legal Services Authorities Act 1987. This act provides for the establishment of legal services authorities at the national, state, and district levels to provide free legal services to the economically weaker sections of society. The act also provides for the appointment of legal aid lawyers to represent such persons in courts of law.

The Bar Council of India Rules are also crucial in regulating the conduct of advocates and lawyers. These rules lay down the standards of professional conduct and etiquette that advocates must adhere to. The rules also provide for the disciplinary proceedings that can be initiated against advocates for professional misconduct.

One of the most important rules of the Bar Council of India is related to the fee structure for legal services. The rule provides that advocates must charge a fair, reasonable fee commensurate with the services rendered. The rule also prohibits advocates from charging excessive fees or indulging in unethical practices, such as a fee based on the case’s outcome.

Thus, the laws and legal provisions related to advocates and lawyers in India are well-defined and aim to regulate the conduct of legal professionals and ensure that justice is delivered impartially. These laws provide for the proper functioning of the legal system in the country and ensure that the rights and interests of all parties to a legal dispute are protected. The Difference between an advocate and a lawyer must adhere to these laws and uphold the dignity of the legal profession.

Acts/ Provisions   Key Points  
Advocates Act, 1961   Defines the term “advocate” and regulates the legal profession in India. Only advocates are authorized to practice law in India.  
Bar Council of India Rules of Legal Education, 2008   Defines the eligibility criteria, qualifications, and training required to become an advocate, including completing a law degree and passing the Bar Council of India exam.  
Bar Council of India Rules on Standard of Professional Conduct and Etiquette, 1975   Sets out the ethical standards that advocates must adhere to in their law practice, such as maintaining confidentiality and avoiding conflicts of interest.  
Section 30 of the Advocates Act, 1961   Prohibits advocates from charging a fee or receiving any remuneration from anyone other than their client for their legal services.  
Section 33A of the Advocates Act, 1961   Permits advocates to engage in other occupations or businesses as long as they do not interfere with their professional duties as an advocate.  
Section 29 of the Advocates Act, 1961   Empowers advocates to appear and plead on behalf of their clients in any court in India, including the Supreme Court, High Court, and lower courts.  

Case Laws in India Relating to the Definition of an Advocate and a Lawyer

State of Punjab v. Ruchi Aggarwal (2019)

In the case of State of Punjab v. Ruchi Aggarwal (2019), the Supreme Court defined a lawyer as an individual qualified in law and licensed to practice law before any court in India.

Bar Council of India v. Bonnie Foi Law College (2018)

In Bar Council of India v. Bonnie Foi Law College (2018), the Supreme Court held that the term “advocate” includes any person who appears before a court of law on behalf of another, regardless of whether they have taken the Bar exam or not.

Indian Council of Legal Aid and Advice v. Bar Council of India (1995)

In the case of the Indian Council of Legal Aid and Advice v. Bar Council of India (1995), it established that individuals who provide legal advice or draft legal documents without appearing before courts may not be considered advocates.

In Re: V.C. Mishra (1998)

In the case of In Re: V.C. Mishra (1998), the Supreme Court clarified that only advocates enrolled with the Bar Council of India are authorised to practice law and represent clients in court.

S. Sukumar v. State of Tamil Nadu (2013)

In the case of S. Sukumar v. State of Tamil Nadu (2013), the Madras High Court held that individuals not enrolled with the Bar Council of India but hold law degrees may not use the title “Advocate” or any other similar title.

K.M. Nanavati v. State of Maharashtra (1962)

In the case of K.M. Nanavati v. State of Maharashtra (1962), the Bombay High Court defined advocates as persons who are qualified in law and whose primary function is to give legal advice and represent clients in court proceedings.

Registrar General, High Court of Judicature at Allahabad v. Suresh Chandra Verma (1981)

In the case of Registrar General, High Court of Judicature at Allahabad v. Suresh Chandra Verma (1981), the Allahabad High Court held that the term “lawyer” and “advocate” are interchangeable and refer to a person who is qualified in law and authorised to practice law before a court of law.

Conclusion

In conclusion, while the terms advocate and lawyer are used interchangeably, they refer to different roles in the legal profession. An advocate is a legal professional representing clients in court or legal proceedings, while a lawyer provides legal advice and may represent clients outside the courtroom those are the Difference between an advocate and a lawyer.

Read Our Article: What Is Litigation In India And It’s Types?

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