Stephen Hasner | Georgia Law | March 9, 2020
Most people use the terms “attorney” and “lawyer” interchangeably. If you read a law firm’s website, most law firms do not distinguish between the terms. For example, personal injury attorney and personal injury lawyer mean the same thing to most people.
However, there is a slight distinction between the words. A lawyer is someone trained in the law, such as a graduate of a law school. The person is typically referred to as a Juris Doctor or JD.
A person who has a JD and has been admitted to practice law by passing a state bar exam is an attorney. An attorney can give legal advice and represent a person in a legal matter and in court. Giving legal advice or representing someone in a legal matter without passing the state bar exam is considered the Unauthorized Practice of Law, which is a crime in Georgia.
When choosing a personal injury lawyer or other attorney, it is important to choose an attorney who is licensed to practice and in good standing with the Georgia Bar Association.
License Requirements for Attorneys in Georgia
Each state has its own licensing requirements for attorneys. The Georgia Supreme Court sets the rules governing admission to the Georgia State Bar. The Board to Determine Fitness of Bar Applicants and the Board of Bar Examiners has jurisdiction over the admission to practice law in Georgia.
The licensing requirements for Georgia attorneys are:
- Hold a bachelor’s degree by a CHEA accredited university or college;
- Have a JD or LLB from an American Bar Association or Georgia Board of Examiners approved law school;
- File a Fitness to Practice Application with the Board to Determine Fitness of Bar Applicants and pay the required filing fee;
- Receive Certification of Fitness to Practice Law;
- File an application to take the bar exam with the Board of Bar Examiners and pay the required fee;
- Take and pass the two-day bar examination; and,
- Receive a scaled score of 75 on the Multistate Professional Responsibility Examination.
A lawyer applying for his or her attorney’s license in Georgia must also be aware of the deadlines, application requirements, communication requirements of the Office of Bar Admissions, and other prerequisites and conditions for approval of admission to the Georgia State Bar.
Before being admitted to the bar, each lawyer must take an oath. The oath states that the attorney will act in accordance with the Georgia Rules of Professional Conduct, support and defend the Constitution of the United States and State of Georgia Constitution, and conduct himself or herself “justly and uprightly.”
In some cases, an attorney admitted to practice law in another state may be admitted to practice law in Georgia without the requirement of passing the Georgia bar examination. The eligibility requirements may differ depending on the jurisdiction where the person practices.
Choosing a Personal Injury Attorney in Georgia
When choosing a personal injury attorney, it is important to search for an attorney admitted to practice law in Georgia. Check with the State Bar of Georgia to ensure the attorney you choose is in good standing and admitted to practice law in Georgia. The Find a Lawyer feature allows you to search for lawyers by name.
An attorney in good standing with the State Bar of Georgia maintains his or her license through mandatory continuing legal education requirements. The attorney continues to meet all other requirements, including paying the required fees to maintain an attorney’s license with the State of Georgia.
You may obtain general information from the Georgia State Bar about the attorney, including complaints against the attorney. However, it is also wise to conduct an internet search for reviews and testimonials from clients. You may also find ratings from various legal organizations that can help you decide whether to hire an attorney.
When another party causes your injury, you want an attorney who has experience handling personal injury claims to represent you. You need a lawyer who understands Georgia personal injury laws, is familiar with the courts in the area, and has a lengthy history of winning cases.
Experience matters when choosing a personal injury attorney. However, having a strong legal team and the resources to investigate injury claims is equally important. Hiring the right law firm can make a significant difference in the outcome of your personal injury case.
Contact Atlanta’s Top-Rated Injury Lawyer
With over 80 years of combined legal experience, the attorneys of Hasner Law, PC fit all the requirements for an exceptional personal injury law firm. Contact our office for a free consultation with an injury lawyer near you. We handle personal injury claims and workers’ compensation matters.