District Attorney vs Lawyer 【Differences 2023】

 In the United States, everyone often uses the terms lawyer and attorney the same way. These terms are even sometimes used synonymously although they aren’t the same. This made people question; what’s the difference between a district attorney and a district lawyer? 

Although these terms are used to speak of the same persons both the terms have entirely different meanings. And these differences are crucial for people to understand.

A district attorney is a type of lawyer who would represent the state in local criminal cases. Whereas a lawyer is a licensed professional who represents and counsels others in legal affairs. Although this is the basic difference between a district attorney vs. a lawyer there is still a lot for you to find out. All that is discussed below.

Key Differences Simplified

If we would like to summarize these terms more. Then precise and simplified definitions of lawyer versus attorney would be:

  • Lawyer: A person who is trained in law & legally allowed to represent. These people have most probably taken and passed the bar exams too.
  • District Attorney: Also known as DA in law is a municipal official who is appointed or elected to represent their state in the criminal judiciary by going to a specific judiciary court or a district.


LawyerDistrict Attorney
A person who is legally qualified to represent individuals & entities in the courts of law.A lawyer who has been elected to represent the state in legal matters. 
The word lawyer has originally originated from “Middle English Origin.”District Attorney originated from French origins

Difference in Duties

The difference between both professions i.e District attorney vs. Lawyer is more visible in their duties and responsibilities. To the question of what does a district attorney do that makes him/her a different lawyer; then all of their tasks and duties are mentioned below:

District Attorney

  1. They review all the police reports and collaborate with them in all the criminal investigations.
  2. They need to prepare the criminal prosecutions to report professionally. As this report plays a major role in representing the state in court.
  3. They consult and communicate with the alleged culprit, judges, victims, and the law of reinforcement.
  4. One of their duties is to prepare and file the pre-trial motions.
  5. They keep their team of associates in charge of everything by overseeing and guiding them.
  6. DA is also known as prosecutors also make documentaries about trial preparations, procedures, and evidence.


  1. Their main duty is to give legal guidance and counsel to their client.
  2. One of the major differences between a lawyer and a prosecutor would be after completion of a degree, a person doesn’t have to practice law in court to be a lawyer.
  3. They also make contracts and meet with their clients in person.
  4. Their profession also obligates them to attend the court hearing from time to time.
  5. They sometimes also have to read the witness statements to reach conclusions.

Salary Differences

District Attorney vs Lawyer salary

The confusion “Is an attorney and a lawyer the same thing?”, can also be cleared after knowing their salary differences.

  • The DA law earns approximately $12,410 monthly or $148,910 annually.
  • The salary of a lawyer is somewhat around $130,490 annually. However, the government lawyer earns relatively less than the self-employed or private ones.

Is the attorney the same as the lawyer? 

Is attorney same as lawyer

No, they both aren’t the same. In the US people often regard them as similar professions but their duties are quite different.

Who does the district attorney represent?

Who does the district attorney represent

They represent criminal cases of state in the court. This is the main difference between an ordinary Lawyer vs District attorney.

Are district attorneys good lawyers?

Yes, they are considered to be a very good lawyer as they are trained in the way that they learn to fight for their cases in the best way possible.

Do Check District Attorney vs Prosecutor

Which lawyer is the highest-paid lawyer?

Tax attorneys are usually the highest-paid lawyer type. Although their income is really dependent on the type of clientage they have.

Also Check Attorney vs. Prosecutor

Is a District Attorney a judge?

No, the job of a District Attorney is different from a federally appointed District Judge with quite a different set of duties & responsibilities. Although both are elected/appointed constitutionally.

E.A. Gjelten
Latest posts by E.A. Gjelten (see all)