Interested in law but confused by choice between barrister and solicitor?


Are you currently studying law but don’t know the difference between Solicitor and Barrister? This article will help you see the difference and make the right choice for your future career.

First of all, we have to define clearly what is a barrister and a solicitor.

  • What is a barrister?

The origin of this word comes from late Middle English: from the noun ‘bar’, perhaps created on the pattern of ‘minister’. A barrister is a person called to the bar and entitled to practise as an advocate, particularly in the higher courts.

  • What is a solicitor?

The origin of it comes from late Middle English too but from Old French solliciteur, from solliciter. A solicitor is a member of the legal profession qualified to deal with conveyancing (the legal process of transferring property from one owner to another), the drawing up of wills, and other legal matters. A solicitor may also instruct barristers and represent clients in some courts.

  • What do their jobs stand for?

Barristers represent clients in courts and tribunals and the time they spend in court will vary according to the area of practice. Being a barrister asks advocacy skills: you need to be a clear and confident speaker to be compelling in order to defend your client.

Solicitors, in contrast, may go to court if they work in a dispute team or a specialist criminal firm but they will be sat behind the barrister and won’t speak directly to the judge or jury.

Moreover, barristers will tend only to be involved in contentious work. When something has gone wrong, or is hired to give a second legal opinion on difficult matters.

But if you’re more interested in the day-to-day aspects of your chosen area of work, then with the exception of criminal law you will see a greater range of work as a solicitor. Indeed, a solicitor will cover the whole process and all types of work within their area of expertise. For example, commercial solicitors will draft documents for all types of legal relation in their area (for example: employment contracts, pension schemes, mergers and acquisitions, tender bids, etc.)

  • How do they work?

A barrister tends to work alone or with a pupil barrister. They need to be able to work on their own initiative and manage their own work to a greater extent.

Conversely, solicitors tend to work in teams with more administrative and research support from paralegals and secretaries, so you’re not quite on your own as much.

  • How to manage your legal career?

The only way to really know which is best for you is to get as much experience as possible: spend time in courts and tribunals and see if you’d enjoy being there on a regular basis or looking for schemes with alternative employers. You can also speak to careers advisors at university, and tutors or mentors if you know one you can speak to. Indeed, all experiences and testimonials are good to make up your mind! Then, the important thing you have to know is that all legal careers are highly competitive including stress and hard work.

  • Now you can make your personal choice: Which one did you choose?

If you need help with applying to a university to study law, get in touch with our expert advisors. There are many universities where you can study law, but only one of them will be the perfect one for you!

We have used this article as our inspiration.

Enjoy your legal career! 🙂


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