Solicitor Vs Barrister: What’s The Difference?


Solicitor vs barrister? What is the difference? Students studying to become often think that there are two main jobs in the legal field. They can choose to be barristers or be solicitors.

Even though both types of legal work seem very important, there are similarities and differences between them.

This article explores and explains the concepts of solicitor vs barrister. We will carefully examine the roles that both play, the perks they enjoy, and the stark differences.

Thus, let us begin our journey!

What Is A Solicitor Vs Barrister?

Now, let us find out the basic definitions of each.

In England and Wales’ legal system, solicitors and barristers still have separate roles and duties.

However, the main difference lies in how barristers represent individuals in court. Yes, barristers usually make use of public speaking and advocacy. On the other hand, solicitors handle legal matters outside court.

However, there are exceptions to this division.

Nowadays, more solicitors try to get qualifications in order to become solicitor advocates. Thus, these professionals are fully qualified as solicitors. So, you can hire them to look into an embezzlement claim or for business litigation. Moreover, they possess the same rights as barristers to represent clients in court.

Solicitor Vs Barrister

Now let us look at the basic definitions of solicitor vs barrister.

What Best Defines a Solicitor?

A solicitor is a certified legal professional. Additionally, they hold the authorization to get instructions from clients to guide a case.

Moreover, they offer guidance on legal actions to take. Their responsibilities include tasks like the following.

  • Giving legal counsel.
  • Creating contracts.
  • Carrying out the settlements of negotiations.
  • And more.

In A Court Case

When a court case arises, a solicitor is the one who prepares all legal paperwork. They specialize in advising clients on various types of legal issues. Moreover, they can also categorize them as the following.

  • Contentious cases.
  • Non-contentious cases.

Where Do Solicitors Work?

A solicitor typically works at a law firm or as a part of an in-house legal team. Moreover, solicitors also work in close interaction (directly) with clients. The kind of client that a solicitor pick may vary.

Therefore, you can be an individual, a group, a public sector entity, or even a private business. In all of these cases, you can hire a solicitor for their legal needs.

What Best Defines a Barrister?

A barrister typically specializes in advocacy within the limits of courtroom advocacy. Therefore, you will mostly see them handling litigation.

Moreover, their role involves drafting legal statements and providing expert legal advice.

You will also see a barrister delving deep and doing their research into the theory of law. This mostly happens when the case demands it. This is a concise list of their activities.

  • They present cases in court.
  • Sometimes, they argue legal aspects.
  • Lastly, the examine and cross-examine witnesses.

Did You Know?

Commonly in court, barristers tend to be dressed in traditional wear wigs and gowns.

Rules Of A Barrister’s Practice

The practice of barristers falls under the governance of specific rules and guidelines. Therefore, these outlined rules are present in the Bar Standards Board Handbook. These rules also set up limitations on a barrister’s conduct.

Additionally, they also include the fundamental responsibilities and a set of do’s and don’ts. 

Bar Standards Board Handbook

Thus, these regulations also dictate the professional conduct of a barrister. For example, there are actions for barristers that are illegal or unprofessional during working hours. Moreover, the handbook also states disciplinary measures in case a barrister violates the code of conduct rules.

Now, let us take a step forward in the Solicitor vs Barristers discussion.

What Falls Under The Job Description Of A Solicitor?

A solicitor works to safeguard the legal interests of their clients. This is a major addition to the solicitor vs barrister scenario. Moreover, they offer legal guidance on various matters.

  • Let us check out the responsibilities of a solicitor.
  • Advocating for individuals’ rights.
  • They ensure fair treatment by public or private organizations.
  • Assisting businesses in fair and transparent personal transactions.
  • Supporting individuals in civil litigation
  • Providing constant and personalized legal advice to those going through divorce proceedings.
  • Handling matters of immigration and asylum.
  • A solicitor’s tasks are generally categorized into:

What Is Contentious And Non-Contentious Work?

A solicitor resolves conflicts between parties. Therefore, to do that, they may function through a Court or tribunal setting. This classifies as contentious legal work.

They look into the details of the legal aspects of a client’s business. Thus, this may include going through their personal matters. For example, they may oversee the forming of a company merger, assist in will creation, etc. All of this classifies as non-contentious legal work

  • Therefore, to successfully carry out their responsibilities, a solicitor may do the following.
  • Carrying out client communication with other legal professionals.
  • They may carry out legislation research for the sake of a case.
  • Moreover, it is their job to draft letters, contracts, and legal documents.

Lastly, they also represent clients in Court or at tribunals. 

Solicitors Vs Barristers: What Does A Barrister Do?

So, let’s compare solicitor vs barrister responsibilities.  A solicitor hires a barrister to represent a case in Court. Therefore, the barrister makes a Court appearance, when necessary, in the litigation stage. They advocate a case on behalf of a client. In doing so, they may take instructions from the client’s solicitor.

Barristers focus on speaking in Court and giving legal advice. Moreover, most of them work alone or with other barristers in chambers. Some work for the government or in legal departments of companies.

What Do They Do?

A good barrister takes instructions from clients and solicitors into consideration.

  • They carry out legal research.
  • Advising, writing opinions, and guiding other professionals also fall under responsibilities.
  • Prepare cases for Court, meet clients, and make legal arguments
  • They advise clients on legal matters and case strengths.
  • Representation of clients in Court and argument of their cases.
  • Questioning witnesses during trials.
  • Additionally, they explain why judges and juries should support a client’s case.
  • They negotiate agreements or settlements.

Final word

Choosing between the solicitor vs barrister debate can be tough. In England and Wales, both take different paths after finishing law studies.

Solicitors go through exams like the SQE and training contracts. Moreover, they often work directly with clients in law firms. They may also work through apprenticeships.

However, barristers complete the BPTC and gain practical experience by working in chambers. Next, they function through the Bar by the Inns of Court. They may take on cases through solicitors and focus on court presentations.

However, solicitors often work set hours. Having varied responsibilities, they earn between £34,700 to over £140,000. Whereas barristers are mostly self-employed. They may earn between £40,300 to over £200,000.

Thus, barristers are used to having more flexibility. Hence both professions require different skills and offer diverse work environments!

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