From the Raleigh News & Observer:
Ronald Newton, a candidate for the Democratic nomination for lieutenant governor, represents himself as a lawyer even though he acknowledges he has never taken the bar exam and is not licensed to practice law anywhere.
The distinction, according to Newton, who runs a tax firm in Durham, is that anyone who graduates from law school is a “lawyer,” and those who pass the bar and are licensed are “attorneys.”
“I’m not a tax attorney; I’m a tax lawyer,” Newton said this week. “There’s a difference. I think this is a common error people make.”
The error is his, according to the N.C. State Bar, which regulates the practice of law.
The terms are used interchangeably, for purposes of regulation, according to David Johnson, who is in the State Bar section that investigates the unauthorized practice of law.
“Simply graduating from law school is insufficient to be called a lawyer or an attorney,” Johnson said in an email.