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MilkyWay's avatar

What difference is there in the work of a Solicitor and a Barrister?

Asked by MilkyWay (13745points) August 31st, 2012

What kind of work do they do? How is it different to one another?
What kind of skills are needed to do one or the other?
Point to note: I’m talking about the UK. Not the Solicitors in the USA… :P

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5 Answers

Pied_Pfeffer's avatar

GQ. I have wondered about this as well.

The historical difference between the two professions – and the only essential difference in England and Wales today – is that a solicitor is an attorney, which means they can act in the place of their client for legal purposes (as in signing contracts) and may conduct litigation on their behalf by making applications to the court, writing letters in litigation to the client’s opponent and so on. A barrister is not an attorney and is usually forbidden, either by law or professional rules or both, from “conducting” litigation. This means that while the barrister speaks on the client’s behalf in court, he or she can do so only when instructed by a solicitor or certain other qualified professional clients, such as patent agents. Source

MilkyWay's avatar

Thanks @Pied_Pfeffer :)
So, from my understanding, the skill sets needed aren’t too different. Am I right?

Pied_Pfeffer's avatar

Girl, I don’t know the answer to that. It sounds as if they both need the same general legal training, and then specialize. From what I understand, the solicitors are the ones that do all of the legwork for the client, as well as hire or recommend a barrister, if one is needed. For example, I needed to get a document notarized. We had to go to a solicitor in order to do that, as it was just paperwork. A barrister would be needed if a courtroom case was involved.

wundayatta's avatar

I always had the impression that because the Barrister could argue in court, they were considered the higher skilled operative. But that could be wrong.

In any case, the work outside of court is research. It is legwork. If you like that kind of thing, then it’s for you.

The work in court is making a case. It is being persuasive. It is more acting and carving beautiful word sculptures. If you like the challenge of making a case to a judge or a jury, then the Barrister’s job is for you.

But yes, I’m sure they both have the same training for the most part.

zenvelo's avatar

Rumpole of the Bailey is barrister, he represents a case in court. The barrister firms have chambers )offices) in the court, and the solicitors choose which barrister will argue their case.

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