Are all lawyers notaries? Exploring the distinct roles

The legal system encompasses a diverse array of professions and specialties, each serving unique functions within the legal system. One common misconception is the assumption that all lawyers are notaries or vice versa. But are all lawyers notaries?

In this article, we want to explore not only the answer to this question but the general differences in each of those roles.

Are all lawyers notaries?

So, are lawyers and notaries the same thing?

The simple answer is no, they are not. While there may be some overlap in skills and responsibilities, being a lawyer and a notary are distinct roles with different purposes and requirements.

Let’s talk in depth about these roles and their differences.

The role of lawyers

Lawyers are highly trained and licensed professionals dedicated to the practice of law. Their multifaceted role encompasses providing legal counsel, representing clients in court proceedings, crafting intricate legal documents, and facilitating negotiations to reach settlements.

They often choose to specialize in specific areas of law, reflecting the diverse nature of legal practice.

Specializations may include criminal law, where lawyers defend individuals accused of crimes; family law, dealing with matters such as divorce, child custody, and adoption; corporate law, focusing on legal aspects of business transactions and corporate governance; and many more.

The overall goal of lawyers is to advocate for their clients. This involves not only representing clients in courtrooms but also providing astute legal advice, guiding them through complex legal processes, and formulating effective strategies to protect their rights and interests.

Moreover, the legal profession is characterized by a commitment to upholding ethical standards and professional conduct. Lawyers are bound by a code of ethics that demands integrity, confidentiality, and loyalty to their clients.

The role of notaries

Notaries fulfill a distinct and vital function that revolves around the authentication and certification of various legal documents.

A notary is a government-appointed official vested with the authority to witness and authenticate the signing of significant documents, administer oaths, and validate the legitimacy of signatures. The primary objective of a notary is to safeguard against fraudulent activities by confirming the true identity of the individuals involved in the document-signing process.

The scope of a notary’s responsibilities extends to a diverse array of legal instruments, such as wills, real estate transactions, and power of attorney forms.

In the context of wills, for example, notaries play a crucial role in verifying the testator’s identity and ensuring that the testamentary instrument complies with the requisite legal formalities.

In real estate transactions, notaries facilitate the execution of deeds and mortgages, adding an extra layer of assurance regarding the authenticity of the parties involved.

To maintain the integrity of the notarization process, notaries adhere to specific guidelines and regulations prescribed by the state.

These guidelines often encompass stringent protocols for identity verification, record-keeping, and the application of official seals. Notaries must exercise diligence and impartiality to uphold the validity and legality of the documents they notarize, thereby fortifying the public’s trust in the legal system.

Key differences between lawyers and notaries

Education and licensing


Lawyers undergo a rigorous educational journey. The primary educational requirement for lawyers is the attainment of a Juris Doctor (JD) degree, typically earned through the completion of a three-year postgraduate program at an accredited law school.

The JD curriculum encompasses a broad range of legal subjects, providing students with a comprehensive understanding of the law and legal procedures.

Upon completing their JD, lawyers face the bar exam. The bar exam is a standardized test that evaluates a candidate’s knowledge of legal principles, application of legal reasoning, and understanding of specific state laws.

Successful passage of the bar exam is a prerequisite for obtaining a license to practice law in a particular jurisdiction. Additionally, some jurisdictions may require lawyers to meet other specific criteria, such as character and fitness assessments, before being admitted to the bar.


In contrast, the path to becoming a notary is generally less extensive than that of a lawyer. The educational requirements for notaries typically involve completing a notary training course, which covers the basic responsibilities and duties of a notary public.

After completing the required training, aspiring notaries must pass a notary exam. State-specific requirements for notaries can vary, so individuals must familiarize themselves with the regulations in their jurisdiction. Additionally, notaries may be required to undergo a background check and submit to other eligibility criteria established by their state.

Scope of practice


Lawyers serve as advocates and counselors for their clients. Their primary responsibilities encompass providing legal advice, conducting legal research, drafting legal documents, and representing clients in various legal proceedings.

In addition to courtroom representation, lawyers may also engage in alternative dispute resolution methods, such as negotiations and mediation, to resolve conflicts outside of court.


Notaries serve as impartial witnesses who verify the identities of individuals involved in legal transactions. Their responsibilities include witnessing the signing of important documents, administering oaths, and certifying the authenticity of signatures.

Notaries may also be responsible for maintaining a record of notarial acts and adhering to strict ethical standards to uphold the integrity of the notarial process. Their services contribute to the reliability and legality of documents within the legal system and are essential for cross-border transactions and international legal recognition.

Legal representation


Lawyers can provide legal representation for their clients in many specific situations, often specializing in different areas of law, such as criminal, civil, family, corporate, or environmental law, among others.


Notaries are not allowed to provide legal representation, their responsibilities are centered around verifying and ensuring the proper execution of legal documents. However, they can act with Power of Attorney on some occasions, according to the client’s needs.

Hiring the right professional for your needs

While both lawyers and notaries operate within the legal realm, they fulfill distinct roles with different responsibilities.

Lawyers are legal professionals who provide legal advice and representation, having undergone extensive education and training. Notaries, on the other hand, focus on verifying the authenticity of signatures and ensuring the proper execution of important documents.

Understanding the differences between lawyers and notaries is essential for individuals seeking legal assistance or requiring the services of a notary public. It is crucial to engage the right professional based on your specific legal needs to ensure the proper handling of legal matters and the authentication of important documents.

We here at Mobile Notary Orlando are often called to act upon legal matters that would in fact be the role of a lawyer. We have seen this confusion many times, and that’s what inspired us to write this article.

If you need notary services around Orlando and Central Florida, we are ready to provide you with it. All you need to do is call or text us at (407) 669-2090 to schedule a time and place to meet, and we will take care of the rest.

We are available 24/7, so we are ready to help you any day, any time.

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