Notary public vs. lawyer: 5 differences and how to choose

In many legal matters, individuals often need assistance from legal professionals. However, when it comes to certain tasks like document authentication, confusion may arise when it comes to the discussion of notary public vs. lawyer.

While both professions deal with legal documents, they serve distinct purposes and have different scopes of practice. Understanding the differences between notary public vs. lawyer is crucial for making informed decisions in legal matters.

So that is going to be the focus of this article. We want to give you a comprehensive guide on the differences between these two professions and what each one can do in the legal area.

Notary public vs. lawyer: 5 main professional differences

Notary public vs. lawyer

1 – Role and function

A notary public is primarily responsible for witnessing and authenticating the signing of documents.

They verify the identities of signers and ensure that they are signing documents voluntarily and with an understanding of the contents. Notaries often administer oaths and affirmations and may certify copies of certain documents.

As for lawyers, also known as attorneys or counselors, they specialize in providing legal advice and representation to individuals, businesses, or organizations.

Lawyers are trained in the law and are authorized to represent clients in legal matters, including drafting legal documents, negotiating settlements, and representing clients in court.

2 – Education and training

Becoming a notary public typically requires completing a brief training course and passing an exam administered by the state. The requirements for becoming a notary vary by jurisdiction but are generally less rigorous than those for becoming a lawyer.

Becoming a lawyer involves obtaining a bachelor’s degree, completing law school, and passing the bar exam in the jurisdiction where one intends to practice. Law school typically involves three years of full-time study, and passing the bar exam demonstrates a lawyer’s competency in the law.

3 – Scope of practice

Notaries are limited in the types of services they can provide. They primarily deal with the authentication of signatures and documents and may not provide legal advice or representation.

Lawyers have a broader scope of practice and can provide legal advice, draft legal documents, negotiate on behalf of clients, and represent clients in court proceedings.

4 – Legal authority

Notaries have limited legal authority – their role is to serve as impartial witnesses to the signing of documents and to verify the identity of signers.

Lawyers have greater legal authority, including the ability to represent clients in legal proceedings, negotiate settlements, and provide legal advice on a wide range of matters.

Read also: What is power of attorney?

5 – Liability and accountability

Notaries can be held accountable for errors or misconduct in their duties, but their liability is generally limited to the notarial act itself.

Lawyers, on the other hand, have a higher degree of liability and accountability for their actions, as they are providing legal advice and representation to clients. They can be held responsible for negligence, malpractice, or ethical violations.

notary public vs. lawyer

Notary public vs. lawyer: which one should you choose?

Notary public services are essential when you need to authenticate documents. This includes verifying the authenticity of signatures, confirming the identity of signatories, and ensuring the document’s legality and validity.

Notaries are also crucial for witnessing signatures, particularly in situations where the authenticity of signatures needs to be certified. This can be necessary for contracts, agreements, wills, and other legal documents.

Lastly, notaries play a pivotal role in notarizing documents for various legal purposes. This includes real estate transactions, powers of attorney, affidavits, loan documents, and other legal instruments where notarization is required for validity.

But you should choose a lawyer when you need legal advice tailored to your specific situation.

Whether you’re facing a legal dispute, need guidance on legal rights and obligations, or require assistance in understanding complex legal issues, a lawyer can offer personalized advice based on their expertise.

If you’re involved in a legal dispute or facing litigation, hiring a lawyer is crucial for representation in court. Lawyers have the expertise to navigate legal proceedings, present arguments effectively, and advocate for your interests in front of a judge or jury.

Lawyers can also assist in drafting various legal documents, including contracts, agreements, wills, trusts, and other legal instruments. They ensure that these documents are legally sound, comply with relevant laws and regulations, and accurately reflect your intentions and interests.

How much does a mobile notary cost?

Notary public vs. lawyer: conclusion

While both notaries and lawyers play important roles in the legal system, they serve distinct functions and cater to different needs. Understanding the differences between the two professions is essential for ensuring that you receive the appropriate assistance for your specific legal requirements.

Whether you need a document notarized or comprehensive legal representation, knowing when to choose a notary public versus a lawyer can help you navigate legal matters with confidence and clarity.

And if you realize you need a notary and are currently in Orange, Seminole, Osceola, and Brevard counties, in Orlando and Central Florida, we here at Mobile Notary Orlando are ready to help you!

We can notarize any documents you need – from real estate documents to child travel consent forms. We work 24/7, so call or text us anytime at (407) 768-4427 to schedule the time and venue where we will meet, anywhere you are in the area!

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