August 6, 2007


I wrote before about Jeri Thompson, Presidential non-candidate Fred Thompson’s smoking-hot wife and the subject of the “ogling” non-controversy.  Now, it turns out I got a detail wrong (although it also turns out I’m in plenty of good company): apparently, Jeri Thompson is not a lawyer.  She worked at a law firm, but in the capacity of a PR consultant, the same as when she worked for Burson Marsteller (one of the largest PR houses in the country).  She may be very smart and Thompson and his non-campaign staff insist that she’s more than a trophy wife, but she isn’t licensed to practice law.


zzi said...

Harold Ford Jr. referred to himself as a lawyer, but the congressman has not passed the bar exam.

Is there a difference between a "lawyer" and an "attorney". In a courthouse I call everyone an attorney.

Burt Likko said...

An "attorney" is a person who represents and acts for another person in their stead. You may have heard the phrase "power of attorney," which would more properly be called "designation of agency" but I'm not responsible for the evolution of these phrases.

A "lawyer" is a person who has attained a high level of formal education in the law. That typically means someone who holds a juris doctorate degree (or its equivalent).

So it's possible Congressman Ford is a lawyer, but might not be an attorney. And you are right to use "attorney" to describe litigators, although you would be equally right to use "lawyer," since they necessarily must be both of those things.