An attorney at
law (or attorney-at-law) in the United
States is a practitioner in a court of law
who is legally qualified to prosecute and
defend actions in such court on the retainer
of clients. Alternative terms include
counselor (or counselor-at-law) and lawyer.
The degree earned by
prospective attorneys in the United States is
generally a Juris Doctor.
Once admitted to
practice by the highest court of a state, a function
sometimes administered by the state's bar
association, an American attorney may file legal
pleadings and argue cases in that state court,
provide legal advice to clients and draft important
legal instruments such as wills, trusts, deeds and
Arguing cases in the federal courts requires
In some states, real estate
closings may be performed only by attorneys, even
though the attorney's role in a closing may involve
primarily notarization of documents and disbursement
of settlement funds through an escrow account.