attorney vs. advocate

Discussion in 'Italian-English' started by flop, Dec 12, 2005.

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  1. flop

    flop Senior Member

    hi :)
    I can't understand the difference between "attorney" and "advocate", so I can't find an equivalence in Italian: the context is 1950s Southafrica and the sentence is:
    I was an advocate in South Africa in the 1950s (...) Nelson Mandela and Oliver Tambo ran a firm of attorneys in Johannesburg. There were very few black attorneys and no black advocates(...) It was a small firm and its clients were small people, all blacks. But occasionally they would brief an advocate to act for one of their clients"

    can anybody help me?
    thank you
  2. TrentinaNE

    TrentinaNE Senior Member

    English (American)
    According to wikipedia, advocate is another word for barrister, which means a lawyer (attorney) who is allowed to present a case in court, as opposed to a solicitor, who is an attorney that works directly with the client but does not represent him/her in court. I believe the distinction between barristers and solicitors is specific to common law systems, like that in Great Britain. We don't have that distinction in the U.S. If you're admitted to the bar (meaning you have a licence to practice law), you can appear in court.

    The passage you quoted is saying that in South Africa in the 1950s, there were a few black lawyers who must have been solicitors, because they had to work with non-black advocates on behalf of their clients who needed representation in court.
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