You have an important case that you want to be resolved as quickly as possible. Who do you call for help? Should you go to a lawyer, solicitor, or barrister?
To answer that question, it’s important to know the differences between these professions.
First, both solicitors and barristers are lawyers. A lawyer is a generic term that describes someone with legal qualifications and legal training. Some people refer to a lawyer as an attorney, but there is a slight difference.
A person who has studied law is called a lawyer, but not all lawyers practice law. This applies only to those who have passed the bar exam. An attorney is qualified to prosecute and defend clients in court, whereas a lawyer is not. Thus, all attorneys are lawyers, but not all lawyers are attorneys.
Both barristers and solicitors are licensed legal practitioners who can give legal advice. At present, there are about 15,000 barristers and 154,170 solicitors in England and Wales.
But there are differences too. To become a solicitor, a person must complete a vocational one- to a two-year course called the Legal Practice Course (LPC) after getting a Legum Baccalaureus (LLB) or Bachelor of Law degree or a graduate diploma in law (GDL). That individual must also pass the Solicitors Qualifying Exam.
A solicitor normally prepares the legal documents for the client during a court case. This person performs most of the legal work in a law firm or office.
While there are exceptions to the rule, most solicitors work behind the scenes in a law company or commercial organisation. They advise people, groups, or private companies who come to them for legal help, negotiate and hold discussions between parties to reach a legal agreement, and draft and review legal documents.
Solicitors deal with the paperwork and communication regarding their clients’ cases. Among others, they write contracts, documents, and letters. They also prepare papers for court.
As such, solicitors are regular employees with job security and other benefits. They work directly with clients, and their duties depend on their level of expertise. They can handle personal injury cases, family law issues, criminal law, and other cases.
In contrast, barristers must complete the vocational component of bar training after getting their LLB or law conversion course. They are required to work for a year under another barrister before they can work in chambers. This is the private office of a judge or judicial officer.
Unlike solicitors, barristers can represent or defend clients in court. While some solicitors can do this, they often hire barristers to handle complex issues. Barristers specialise in certain aspects of law like entertainment, sports, and family law.
Most barristers are self-employed, which means they have no job security. They work in offices called chambers which may be shared with other barristers. Law firms or organisations employ some.
Clients can’t approach self-employed barristers directly unless they go through a solicitor. The only exception is when the barrister is a member of the Public Access Scheme, which means people can go straight to them for legal advice.
Still, confused about these terms? Don’t hesitate to consult the friendly lawyers of DV Solicitors in Bedford, UK. We will carefully look at your cases and give you the right advice and attention you deserve. No problem is too big or small for us.