In continental Europe, public notaries are law professionals and at the same time public servants.
In Spain, lawyers must pass special competitive Civil Service examinations to become notaries. In view of this requirement, notaries cannot sell or transfer their business.
In Wales and England, solicitors have many of the same functions as notaries in continental Europe. However, solicitors are not public servants.
In contrast, in the United States of America, a notary public is simply a person who has obtained a licence to authenticate or legalize signatures.