- June 6, 2023
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 counsellor-at-law) and lawyer. As of April 2011, there were 1,225,452 licensed attorneys in the United States. A 2012 survey conducted by LexisNexis Martindale-Hubbell determined 58 million consumers in the U.S. sought an attorney in the last year and that 76 percent of consumers used the Internet to search for an attorney. 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 (such as those of the United Kingdom which distinguishes between solicitors who do not plead in court and the barristers of the English & Welsh system and advocates of the Scottish system who do plead in court), and civil law jurisdictions (such as Italy and France, which distinguish between advocates and civil law notaries). 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 may be addressed by the post-nominal letters Esq., the abbreviated form of the word Esquire.