In almost everyone’s life, there comes a stage when they need legal advice or services. And most of the time, when people find themselves in need of legal representation, they get confused about who should they go for assistance: a lawyer or solicitor?
Like many other people, we often get confused about one thing, and that is what’s the difference between lawyer and solicitor? Is there really a difference, and who is the best to help you?
Usually, many terms are used to describe legal practitioners. Among them, the two most common are lawyer and solicitor. Though many people think that they all do the same thing, there are some very subtle differences between them in terms of their training, work process, how they are regulated or controlled, etc.
In this guide, we’ll discuss all the differences between a lawyer and a solicitor so that you can better understand the concept. So, let’s have a look-
What’s The Difference Between Lawyer And Solicitor?
When you’re looking for legal advice or services, it’s crucial to ensure that you’re working with the right professionals to get the right support that you need. But, before that, you need to know what exactly solicitors and lawyers are and their differences.
In general, when people think of a solicitor or a lawyer, they imagine that two well-dressed people are fighting a legal battle in a courtroom. However, in reality, it is not just about what wigs and gowns they wear.
Therefore, here we’ll take a closer look at what’s the difference between lawyer and solicitor.
Who Is A Lawyer?
A lawyer is a generic term used to represent licensed practice law or members of the legal profession. Lawyers provide legal advice and can also represent clients in court. This term includes solicitor, barrister, attorneys counselor, etc. In general, a lawyer practically applies abstract legal knowledge and theories to solve client problems.
Who Is A Solicitor?
A solicitor is a person who provides legal support, advice, and representation in a variety of matters to the client with a practicing certificate. There are criminal law, business law, property law, and Family Law Solicitors. They typically deal with the documents or paperwork and communication that are required for the client’s case.
Solicitors ensure the validity of all procedures, provide legal advice, and prepare documents for the court when needed. However, solicitors generally stay out of the court to do the paperwork, but they appear in court to represent a client unless a barrister is required.
Roles Of Lawyer Vs. Solicitor
Roles of lawyers: The role of a lawyer is distinct; they represent individuals in civil or criminal matters moving from one legal jurisdiction to another. Usually, a lawyer is permitted to carry out the following responsibilities-
- Oral argument in the courts in front of the judge or jury members.
- Research and drafting of court papers before the proceeding
- Advocacy in administrative hearings (both written and oral),
- Client acceptance and counseling regarding pending cases
- Legal advice (application of abstract principles of law) to the clients.
- Protecting patents, trademarks, industrial designs, and other forms of intellectual property.
- Negotiating and drafting contracts
- Conveyancing the documents necessary for the transfer of real property
- Carrying out the intent of the deceased
- Prosecution and defense of criminal suspects
Roles of Solicitors: Traditionally, solicitors deal with all the legal matters except conducting court proceedings. Though there are some minor cases where solicitors do conduct proceedings, those are exceptional cases. In general, the roles of a solicitor are following:
- Listening to the client’s case and needs to understand the situation
- Creating and managing all the necessary paperwork regarding the case
- Collecting necessary details and information relating to the situation
- Providing accurate and impartial legal advice to the client
- Communicating and negotiating with the opponent parties
- If necessary, prepare papers for court related to the case
Qualifications Of A Solicitor Vs. A Lawyer
Lawyer’s Qualification: A person must complete a bachelor’s or postgraduate law degree to be a lawyer. Once receiving the bachelor’s degree, he/she must obtain their Graduate Diploma of Legal Training (GDLP).
Then they need to get admission to the legal profession board of their jurisdiction to pass the bar exam. To become a lawyer, a person must graduate from law school and be licensed to practice law.
Solicitor’s Qualification: To become a solicitor, a person must undergo and complete a normal undergraduate law degree. After that, he or she needs to complete a one-year course called LPC (the Legal Practice Course) and then a two years apprenticeship (training contract) with a solicitor.
Once completing the above degrees and courses, he or she becomes a solicitor and should be admitted to the roll. The term ‘roll’ implies a list of qualified people to be a solicitor. It is a must to be admitted to the roll to practice and registered as a solicitor on the Law Society register of Solicitors.
Regulation For Solicitors And Lawyers
Lawyers are regulated by the State Bar Association (U.S.). Some countries, such as New Zealand, Japan, and Belgium, recognize and regulate lawyers at the national level so that once a lawyer is licensed, he or she can argue in any court of the country. Some countries license non-resident attorneys who may appear regularly on behalf of foreign clients.
Solicitors are regulated by the Solicitors Regulation Authority (in England and Wales). Here they have to pay the law society a practice fee every year. If they stop paying the fees, they may not give legal advice to the public. In Ireland, solicitors are regulated by the Legal Services Regulatory Authority (LSRA).
Access To The Public Of Lawyer Vs. Solicitor
Lawyers offer legal advice and represent individual clients or entities in legal matters.
Whereas a Solicitor deals with clients or corporations directly and can advise them legally.
So, we’ve come to the end of this guide. We hope, now you know what’s the difference between lawyer and solicitor? Simply put, a solicitor is a type of lawyer who deals with the clients directly to solve their issues.
Whereas a lawyer is a legal practitioner who is qualified to offer legal advice in one or more areas of law. It totally depends on your situation who you need to fight for your case. From this guide, now you may know who to choose and discuss the specifics of your case.