The Difference Between a Power of Attorney and Being an Attorney

There are a lot of sites on the internet to get answers when you are representing yourself in a lawsuit. One of these is JustAnswer, which you can access by the link on the sidebar. By doing so it helps us to keep this website up and running and…free.

However, there are a lot of bad websites out there as well. As we mention in several of our posts and in our instantly downloadable eBook, The Guerrilla Guide to Picking a Jury (you should buy this book if you are in a lawsuit so that you can start preparing in the event you want a jury) the bad websites appear to be filled with tons of wrong information, including that you can represent someone else in court or by filing papers with a court by using a Power of Attorney. This is not only wrong but it can lead to criminal charges.

Being an attorney generally requires years of law school, passing a bar exam, paying to be licensed, taking a required number of Continuing Legal Education courses each year to stay current on the law, paying a yearly licensing fee and bar dues, and sometimes even an extra Occupational Tax.

Having a power of attorney means someone filled out a form.

A power of attorney allows you to act for someone in their day to day affairs such as paying bills, collecting monies, and making financial and personal decisions for them including hiring an attorney. It does not allow you to prepare legal papers for them nor will it allow you to speak or represent them in court.

This misinformation likely came about as a result of not understanding the law or the wording because there is some case law out there that states that a power of attorney allows you to act as that person's representative, but it does not say their lawyer. Calling it a power of attorney is another archaic holdover and is probably the wrong name for this document but the wording isn't likely to change.

All that you need to understand is that having a power of attorney for someone does not equal being their lawyer in any way, not matter what a nut in a bunker in Idaho writes on the internet. 

By the way, The Guerilla Guide to Picking a Jury is also available on the Kindle.

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