AskDefine | Define counsel

Dictionary Definition



1 a lawyer who pleads cases in court [syn: advocate, counselor, counsellor, counselor-at-law, pleader]
2 something that provides direction or advice as to a decision or course of action [syn: guidance, counseling, counselling, direction] v : give advice to; "The teacher counsels troubled students"; "The lawyer counselled me when I was accused of tax fraud" [syn: advise] [also: counselling, counselled]

User Contributed Dictionary




counseil, from Old French conseil, from Latin consilium; akin to consulere.


  1. The exchange of opinions and advice; consultation
  2. Advice or guidance so given
  3. A lawyer, as in Queen's Counsel (QC)




  1. To give advice, especially professional advice.
    The lawyer counselled his client to remain silent.
    Psychiatrists, psychologists, social workers and other mental health professionals counsel clients.
  2. To recommend


To give advice, especially professional advice
To recommend

Related terms

See also

Extensive Definition

A counsel or a counsellor gives advice, more particularly in legal matters.
The legal system in England uses the term counsel as an approximate synonym for a barrister-at-law or solicitor advocate, and may apply it to mean either a single person who pleads a cause, or collectively, the body of barristers or solicitor advocates engaged in a case.
The difference between "Barrister" and "Counsel" is subtle. "Barrister" is a professional title awarded by one of the four Inns of Court, and is used in a barrister's private, academic or professional capacity. "Counsel" is used to refer to a barrister or solicitor advocate who is instructed on a particular case. It is customary to use the third person when addressing a barrister or solicitor advocate instructed on a case: "Counsel is asked to advise" rather than "You are asked to advise".
The legal term counsellor, or, more fully, counsellor-at-law, became practically obsolete in England, but continued in use locally in Ireland as an equivalent to barrister, where a Senior Counsel (S.C.) is equivalent to the English Queen's Counsel (Q.C.}
In the United States of America, the term counselor-at-law designates, specifically, an attorney admitted to practice in all courts of law; but as the United States legal system makes no formal division of the legal profession into two classes, as in England, most US citizens use the term loosely in the same sense as lawyer, meaning one who versed in (or practising) law.
In the United States and Canada, many large and midsize law firms have lawyers with the job title of "counsel", "special counsel" or "of counsel". These lawyers are employees of the firm like associates, although some firms have an independent contractor relationship with them. But unlike associates, and more like partners, they generally have their own clients, manage their own files, and supervise associates. For more information, see the Law firm article.

Synonyms, Antonyms and Related Words

Dutch uncle, Polonius, admonisher, admonition, advice, advise, advise with, advisement, adviser, advising, advisor, advocacy, advocate, agent, aim, ambition, amicus curiae, animus, aspiration, attorney, attorney-at-law, backseat driver, bar, bargain, barrister, barrister-at-law, brief, briefing, brooding, buttinsky, call in, caution, caveat, coach, collogue, compare notes, confer, confer with, confidant, consideration, consult, consult with, consultant, consultation, contemplation, council, counselor, counselor-at-law, deliberate, deliberation, deputy, desideration, desideratum, design, desire, determination, direct, direction, discuss, discuss with, discussion, effect, exchange observations, exchange views, exhortation, expert, expostulation, fixed purpose, friend at court, function, guidance, guide, have conversations, hold conference, hortation, idea, instruct, instruction, instructor, intendment, intent, intention, intercessor, judgement, kibitz, kibitzer, lawyer, legal adviser, legal counselor, legal expert, legal practitioner, legal profession, legalist, lucubration, meaning, meddle, meddler, meditation, mentor, mind, monition, monitor, motive, mouthpiece, musing, negotiate, nestor, nisus, opinion, orienter, palaver, parley, plan, pleader, pleading, point, pondering, powwow, preceptist, prescribe, proctor, procurator, project, proposal, propose, prospectus, purpose, put heads together, reason with, recommend, recommendation, refer to, reflection, remonstrance, representation, resolution, resolve, revolving, rumination, sake, sea lawyer, self-styled lawyer, sit down together, sit down with, solicitor, speculation, striving, study, submit, suggest, suggestion, take counsel, take up with, talk over, teacher, thought, view, warning, weighing, will
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