Definition for AT-TORN'EY

AT-TORN'EY, n. [plur. Attŏrneys. Norm. attournon; torne, id.; from tour, tourn, turn, change. One who takes the turn or place of another. See Attorn and Turn.]

One who is appointed or admitted in the place of another, to manage his matters in law. The word formerly signified any person who did business for another; but its sense is now chiefly or wholly restricted to persons who act as substitutes for the persons concerned, in prosecuting and defending actions before courts of justice, or in transacting other business in which legal rights are involved. The word answers to the procurator (proctor) of the civilians. Attorneys are not admitted to practice in courts, until examined, approved, licensed and sworn, by direction of some court; after which they are proper officers of the court. In Great Britain, and in some of the United States, attorneys are not permitted to be advocates or counsel in the higher courts; this privilege being confined to counselors and sergeants. In other states, there is no distinction of rank, and attorneys practice in all the courts. And in a general sense, the word attorney comprehends counselors, barristers and sergeants. In Virginia, the duties of attorney, counselor, conveyancer and advocate, are all performed by the same individual. – Wirt. An attorney may have general powers to transact business for another; or his powers may be special, or limited to a particular act or acts. Attorney General is an officer appointed to manage business for the king, the state or public and his duty, in particular, is to prosecute persons guilty of crimes. A letter or warrant of attorney is a written authority from one person empowering another to transact business for him.

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