A lawyer is a person who provides legal services; usually one licensed to practice law. The scope of the actual duties of persons called lawyers varies among sovereign nations and so a layperson must take care to understand just what is meant by the term in a given country.
Lawyers may handle contracts, disputes, negotiations or court proceedings. Some of the terms used for people actually licensed to practice law are advocate, solicitor, attorney-at-law, barrister and counselor. In some countries, notaries or legal conveyancers, legal executives and paralegals may also be called lawyers.