Attorneys Are More Popular Than Lawyers

<p>The word "<span style="color: #ff0000;">attorney</span>" is searched for in Google with nearly three times the frequency of the term "<span style="color: #0000ff;">lawyer</span>", at least within the United States. I would have expected expected the inverse, based upon the frequency with which I hear those terms mentioned in casual conversation. This is good data if you're a practitioner engaged in marketing your services. Call yourself an attorney, not a lawyer.</p>


This chart was generated by Google, comparing the relative traffic of the word attorney (red) vs. lawyer (blue). The upper graph indicates that among actual searches, the attorney term is much more popular. it also appears to have a relatively steady demand. Attorney has more volatility than lawyer, and both exhibit some interesting temporal shifts. For example, both terms drop in popularity near the end of each year. Perhaps the holiday spirit cuts down on people's desire to initiate litigation, or people just stay out of trouble around Christmas, who knows!

When you look at the lower graph, there's not as much of a spread between the terms, as used by the news media. My hypothesis is that when people need representation, they search for an attorney. When the news is reporting on someone's bad behavior or about attorneys in general, the word lawyer is used as a pejorative. You hear a lot more lawyer jokes than attorney jokes. There also seems to be an increase in both by the media, and it doesn't seem to correlate strongly with economic indicators such as stock market performance. Simply put, although the demand for attorneys in the general population is more or less static, the media seems to pay increasing attention to our profession. Make of that what you will.