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Attorneys

An attorney-at-law in the United States is legally qualified to prosecute and defend actions in courts of law on behalf of and on the retainer of clients. Alternative terms include counselor (or counselor-at-law) and lawyer.

The United States legal system does not draw a distinction between lawyers who plead in court and those who do not, unlike many other common law jurisdictions. An additional factor which differentiates the American legal system from other countries is that there is no delegation of routine work to notaries public.

Attorneys-at-law are licensed to practice law within a given geographical jurisdiction, so if you're looking for one, you'll need to find one licensed in your state.

The types of legal services provided by an attorney may vary, with many attorneys choosing to focus their practice on a particular portion of law. Some states grant formal certifications recognizing specialties.

Different types of attorneys in opposition to each other exist as well. Examples include: Outside counsel (law firms) versus in-house counsel (corporate legal department), plaintiff versus defense attorneys (some attorneys do both plaintiff and defense work, others only handle certain types of cases like personal injury, business etc.), transactional (or "office practice") attorneys (who negotiate and draft documents and advise clients, rarely going to court) versus litigators (who advise clients in the context of legal disputes both in and out of court, including lawsuits, arbitrations and negotiated settlements) and trial attorneys (who argue the facts) versus appellate attorneys (who argue the law).

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