Hip Recall Lawyer or Attorney?
Know the Difference

Introduction

Hip Recall Attorney or Hip Recall Lawyer?...

So here's the thing: you figure you need legal representation to help you through your hip replacement recall challenges - but do you need a lawyer or an attorney? And is there a difference between them? And does it matter?

There are many points to consider when selecting legal representation. I have included a number of resources elsewhere on the site to help people with preparation for this selection process.

However, before you get into any level of detail, you absolutely need to understand the difference between a lawyer, and an attorney.

The purpose of this page is to provide a simple explanation of what a Hip Recall Lawyer is and does; and to compare and contrast this with a hip recall attorney.

This page is particularly targeted to visitors to HRRH.com from the United States. Often the words lawyer and attorney are used interchangeably, but the two words actually mean different things. The difference is relatively small but it really does matter, particularly to US state bar associations!

Terms and names for legal practitioners vary from country to country, so please check with your local Law Society or Citizens Advice Bureau if you are unclear about the type of legal representation you require.

Hip Recall Lawyer

A lawyer is simply a person who has studied, and is trained in law. They may have studied at university, college or law school. They will have sat and passed some examinations, and gained accreditations and / or qualifications.

A lawyer can be employed by public or private sector organizations applying his legal skills and experience in the course of his employment.

In addition, a lawyer can set up or work for a legal practice and is trained and licensed to give legal advice to clients.

However, a lawyer will not have passed the relevant state bar exam, and consequently is limited in how he can practice law - in that he cannot represent his clients in court.

So, a Hip Recall Lawyer will be trained and have experience in supporting and giving legal advice to clients who have suffered injuries related to hip replacement surgery - either defective medical product (product liability law) or medical malpractice.

The lawyer can give advice; assist a client in assessing whether they have a case; oversee and research the preparation of a legal case… pretty much every activity except appear in court to represent his client.

Hip Recall Attorney

An attorney is also a lawyer (see summary above).

In addition, an attorney (sometimes referred to as an 'attorney at law') will have studied and passed the state bar examination of a particular jurisdiction, and will have been admitted to practice law in that jurisdiction.

The crucial distinction is that an attorney is licensed to act as the agent of the client in court, effectively providing legal representation to defend or prosecute cases.

So, a hip recall attorney is able to represent his client in court, prosecuting a case where the client has (allegedly) been injured by a defective or recalled hip implant product.

In summary, an attorney is also a lawyer...

but a lawyer can only be an attorney if he has passed the appropriate bar examinations, and been admitted to practice law (as an attorney) in a particular jurisdiction.

By way of context, there were c. 1.2 million licensed attorneys in the United States (2012).

So what does all of this mean - in Practical terms?

When an injured party is seeking 'a lawyer', the fine distinctions summarized above all boil down to one key consideration:

  • Is my case likely to go to court?...
  • And if so, who will represent me in court?

If the case does progress to court, then very simply, an Attorney will be required to prosecute the case and represent the client in court.

If the hip recall lawyer originally appointed is not licensed to act on behalf of his client in court, and the case ultimately goes to court, then the client will (in addition to the lawyer) need an Attorney to represent him.

This would essentially constitute a separate and additional appointment of another legal representative.

The Attorney will need to invest time getting up to speed with the details of the case, and will need to get paid his fees and expenses…

Conclusion

The distinction between hip recall lawyers and attorneys is marginal, but is of critical importance.

When interviewing and selecting legal representation in a hip injury case, the client should discuss this particular distinction (Lawyer v Attorney) and be very clear on the status and licensing of the individual who will be appointed.

If the subsequent (and additional) appointment of an Attorney can be anticipated, then common sense might suggest that an Attorney should be appointed from the start.

Advice and guidance on this matter should always be taken from an appropriately qualified legal adviser.