Attorney at law is a legal term used to describe the practice of law by an attorney who is licensed by the state bar. This is different from a lawyer, who is not authorized to practice law. It also differs from an agent, who is not necessarily licensed to do so.
An agent is someone who acts on behalf of another person. They can do this either under a power of attorney or under a written agreement. However, a valid power of attorney is not enough for an agent to practice law.
Attorneys at law are legal practitioners who advise clients on legal matters pertaining to their business transactions and contracts. Some of their areas of expertise include business, litigation, real estate, taxation, securities, and family law.
The term attorney at law is a nod to the legal profession, which is a field of study that has been in existence since ancient Greece. In France and Quebec, the term avocat is used instead. A lawyer in England is referred to as a solicitor.
An attorney is someone who is trained in law and whose duties include advising clients and conducting research. It can be difficult for the average citizen to navigate the complex legal jargon and nuances of a dispute on their own. That is why a lawyer is typically necessary.
The terms attorney and lawyer are often used interchangeably. They are two different professions, though, and there is no definitive answer to whether or not they are identical.