Lawyers and Judges, for as different as their roles may be, still work in the same system, and share many skills, even if their jobs involve vary different application of said skills.

Thus, I'm curious, given these similarities, is there a common name for the role they both play, once you strip away the things that make the two different?


Human -> Boy

Human -> Girl

Thus: Boys and girls are both humans.

? -> Judge

? -> Lawyer -> Defence Attorney

? -> Lawyer -> Prosecuting Attorney

? -> Lawyer -> etc.

Thus: Judges and Lawyers are both ?

Thx in advance; sorry if I've horribly misunderstood how this stuff works.

  • 9
    This is not really a question about the Law but rather is a question about English. I suggest it be migrated to English se.
    – Dale M
    Commented Apr 30, 2017 at 21:08
  • 5
    @DaleM : Like all specialties, the field of law has its technical terminology. I wouldn't go to english (dot) stackexchange (dot) com to ask whether there is a term that encompasses both differential equations and difference equations. Commented May 1, 2017 at 2:36
  • 6
    This begs to have the answer "humans" filled in.
    – Joshua
    Commented May 1, 2017 at 3:26
  • 2
    What country are you referring to, as it may differ between US/UK/EU/Asia/etc...Or are you looking for something truly all-encompassing?
    – BruceWayne
    Commented May 1, 2017 at 6:22
  • 4
    The term you're looking for to describe a general word that covers multiple more specific words is hypernym, as in "What is the hypernym of lawyer and judge?" Commented May 2, 2017 at 15:00

8 Answers 8


Jurist (in the American sense) means a lawyer, judge, or other expert in law.

From Google Search:

jurist definition from google

  • 9
    That would be a less common definition. The more common definition of jurist would be restricted to judges.
    – ohwilleke
    Commented May 1, 2017 at 18:47
  • True, the wikipedia page makes it more clear: "Thus a jurist, someone who studies, analyses and comments on law, stands in contrast with a lawyer, someone who applies law on behalf of clients and thinks about it in practical terms" Commented May 2, 2017 at 0:10
  • 1
    @ohwilleke Actually, it historically includes judges and other experts and scholars of jurisprudence.
    – user2425
    Commented May 2, 2017 at 10:52
  • My concern is that it covers legal academics. Whether they count as "lawyers" varies. But if the OP is not after something exclusive, i.e. just a LHS for a series of productions, that's different. Commented May 2, 2017 at 14:09
  • 3
    Hopefully this isn't meant to be said to a layperson - I would confuse this with "juror".
    – Brilliand
    Commented May 2, 2017 at 20:54

Lawyers and judges are both Legal Professionals

  • 3
    Might they also both be jurists? Commented May 1, 2017 at 2:34
  • @MichaelHardy: Nope.
    – Joshua
    Commented May 1, 2017 at 3:25
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    I (English) would be far more likely to refer to a judge as a lawyer than a legal professional. I'm not sure that the judiciary counts as a profession - it certainly did not traditionally. That's why country of usage might be useful. Most judges were of course legal professionals at one time though that is not always true, so maybe. But aren't they elected to office in parts of the USA? Commented May 1, 2017 at 12:53
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    Would also bring in paralegal but still good answer.
    – paparazzo
    Commented May 1, 2017 at 13:33
  • 1
    @Joshua : Sometimes brevity is a very good thing. And sometimes it means omitting things upon which the value of your statement depends. See the posted answer by OldBunny2800. Commented May 1, 2017 at 17:17

The phrase officer of the court means (according to dictionary.law.com)

any person who has an obligation to promote justice and effective operation of the judicial system, including judges, the attorneys who appear in court, bailiffs, clerks and other personnel. As officers of the court lawyers have an absolute ethical duty to tell judges the truth, including avoiding dishonesty or evasion about reasons the attorney or his/her client is not appearing, the location of documents and other matters related to conduct of the courts.

This term thus may be over-inclusive for your purpose, as it includes “bailiffs, clerks and other personnel” along with lawyers and judges.

[After posting, I see this was previously mentioned in a comment.]

  • 2
    In England and Wales, the majority of lawyers who appear in court (barristers) are not officers of the court. Unfortunately the OP didn't give a jurisdiction, otherwise you are probably right for a merged jurisdiction like the USA. In England, solicitors are (and are enrolled by the court), barristers are not. Commented May 1, 2017 at 21:03

In American courts: Lawyers, Attorneys, or members of the Bar.

What you're probably thinking of by "Lawyer" as distinct from "Judge" is more precisely denoted Counsel.

While many judicial seats are full-time jobs, and some judges are appointed for life, there are "judges" who only work part-time and could also work representing clients (perhaps not in the same court). It is generally a prerequisite to have passed the bar exam (that is, to already be a "lawyer") in order to be appointed or run for office to be elected as a judge. There are also lawyers who work for the court system but are not judges; for example, the clerks of the Supreme Court. And there are lawyers who are retained or employed by a specific person or organization; for example, my city's City Attorney. In a particular case he might be counsel for the prosecution (if the city is charging a citizen with a misdemeanor), the defense (if the city and its officers are being charged with violation of federal or state law), the plaintiff in a civil lawsuit, or the defense in a civil lawsuit; but if there is no active litigation involving the city, he is still counsel for the city.


'jurisconsult' is not a COMMON noun for both professions, but is a noun that can denote experts in law of either profession.

  • If it can denote either of them, then how can it be that they don't share that description in common? Commented May 1, 2017 at 4:44
  • 2
    @MichaelHardy I suspect in this case common refers to the frequency of use.
    – jimsug
    Commented May 1, 2017 at 4:46
  • @jimsug : It seems perfectly obvious that it does NOT refer to frequency of use. Commented May 1, 2017 at 4:50
  • 2
    I don't see how you come to that conclusion. How does "is not a COMMON noun for both professions" suggest that it does not relate to frequency of use?
    – jimsug
    Commented May 1, 2017 at 5:58

In many jurisdictions, including the U.S., judges are a subset of lawyers, because almost all judges are required to be lawyers.

  • 3
    There are plenty of places in the US where judges are often non-lawyers. theatlantic.com/politics/archive/2017/02/…
    – ceejayoz
    Commented May 2, 2017 at 1:40
  • 2
    @ceejayoz That's why he wrote "In many jurisdictions(...)" and "(...)almost all judges(..:)".
    – Clearer
    Commented May 2, 2017 at 13:36
  • @Clearer the answer says "judges are a subset of lawyers", which is not true if some judges are not lawyers. Commented May 2, 2017 at 15:06

Also consider "Esquire"

In English law, a title of dignity next above gentleman, and below knight. Also a title of office given to sheriffs, serjeants [sic], and barristers at law, justices of the peace, and others.

from Black's Law Dictionary

Edit: Just to note, while the above mentioned "English law", the same applies in the USA as far as I know.

  • 5
    (1) Esquire was used in the 20th century by English people as an alternative to "Mr" so it is not a particularly safe term; (2) quite a few judges in England are not "esquires" even in this rather technical sense. Some are peers, others are knights/dames. Judges of the High Court of England and Wales are routinely knighted on coming to office. Also solicitors are not "esquires" in this sense and they make up the majority of UK lawyers. Attorney-at-law did not make you an esquire. Commented May 1, 2017 at 12:50

The first term that came to my mind was 'members of the judiciary'. Seems common enough and covers all bases.


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