An attorney at law in the United States is a practitioner in a court of law

Who is legally qualified to prosecute and defend actions in such court on the retainer of clients. Alternative terms include counselor (or counsellor-at-law) and lawyer. As of April 2011, there were 1,225,452 licensed attorneys in the United States.A 2012 survey conducted by LexisNexis Martindale-Hubbell determined 58 million consumers in the U.S. sought an attorney in the last year and that 76 percent of consumers used the Internet to search for an attorney.

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Each US state and similar jurisdiction (e.g. territories under federal control) sets its own rules for bar admission (or privilege to practice law), which can lead to different admission standards among states. In most cases, a person who is "admitted" to the bar is thereby a "member" of the particular bar.
In the canonical case, lawyers seeking admission must earn a Juris Doctor degree from a law school approved by the jurisdiction, and then pass a bar exam administered by it. Typically, there is also a character and fitness evaluation, which includes a background check. However, there are exceptions to each of these requirements.

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