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attorney

n. 1) an agent or someone authorized to act for another. 2) a person who has been qualified by a state or federal court to provide legal services, including appearing in court. Each state has a bar examination which is a qualifying test to practice law. The examinations vary in difficulty, but cannot be taken until the applicant is a graduate of an accredited law school (with a three-year minimum course of study) or in seven states has fulfilled extensive other training. Passage of the bar examination qualifies the attorney for that state only and for the federal courts located in that state (and other federal courts upon request). Some states will accept attorneys from other states, but many will not grant this "reciprocity" and require at least a basic test for out-of-state attorneys. Attorneys from other states may practice in a limited way, but cannot appear (except on a single case with court permission) in state courts (but in federal courts). Graduation from law school does not make one an attorney. There are also patent attorneys who can practice in federal patent courts only and have both legal and engineering training. Most patent attorneys today are regular attorneys who specialize.

See also: court  reciprocity 

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The People's Law Dictionary by Gerald and Kathleen Hill Publisher Fine Communications