Law careers is one of the top most preferred fields that people love to take up as career. It’s broad and varied nature coupled with high earning potential, makes it a very popular, though competitive, sector. But, one of the most important questions to be addressed while considering a career in law is whether you want to become a barrister or solicitor. Speaking in laymen terms, Solicitor is the one who works in a law firm while barrister appears in a court. However, the difference is far more complex.
All about the Solicitor-
Law careers path:
After, completion of LLB, if a person wishes to become a solicitor, then he will need to complete the LPC (Legal Practice Course) for one year full-time. For a Non-Law graduate first a conversion course (Graduate Diploma in Law) is required before commencing the LPC. After, the completion of the LPC, a two-year contract with a firm of solicitors will be the next stage.
The person becomes officially qualified after the satisfactory completion of the training contract and the Professional skills course (PSC).
Solicitors directly interact with the clients by providing them with the legal services. Clients can be individuals, businesses, public bodies and other organizations. They manage and deal with the case by advising the legal steps needed to proceed until the completion of the case. Even at times they do instruct the barrister, i.e. if a specialist opinion or advocacy is required.
Key duties of a solicitor include:
- Meeting and interviewing clients for establishing the firm’s suitability along with providing necessary advice and services.
- Drafting documents, letters and contracts as per clients need.
- Researching and analyzing documents and case law.
- Coordinating the work of the involved parties.
- Hiring barristers or specialists advocate for representing client in court.
All about the Barrister:
After completion of LLB, if a person wishes to become a barrister, then he will need to complete a full-time course of the BPTC (Bar Professional Training Course) for one year. For the Non-Law graduates completion of a conversion course (Graduate Diploma in Law) is a necessity before commencing BPTC.
A person then has to seek out a much sought after ‘pupillage’ with a set of chambers after the completion of BPTC. At the end of the pupillage, a person then needs to find a set that he or she wants to join as a tenant.
A barrister represents the cases in court or tribunals, on behalf of clients. The work profile requires special skills in research and analysis, time management to handle caseload.
A fewer number of barristers are employed in-house by companies, public bodies or law firms otherwise most of them are self-employed. They work in groups called ‘sets’, sharing premises (chambers) and practice managers. They do not work for the ‘set’ instead they work as a ‘tenant’. They give a percentage of their earnings to the clerks and administrators thus, contributing to the upkeep of the chambers.
Key duties of a Barrister include:
- Taking instructions from clients and their solicitors.
- Mastering and managing of legal briefs.
- Undertaking legal research into relevant points of law.
- Holding client conferences, preparing legal arguments for preparing the cases for court.
- Advising clients on matters of law and evidence and strength of their case.
- Summing up all the reasons that may lead for the support of client’s case in court.
- Drafting of legal documents.
Despite some similarities in the roles of both, a different set of skills is required for both the profiles. While a solicitor need to be a good team manager with good interpretation skills. Whereas, the barristers need be self dependent and confident for strongly representing the client’s case in the court.
The field of law demands a considerable commitment over a number of years. So, research as much possible about Law as career. Talk to people in the profession and try to get some work experience. Make sure that you are the right person for the profession and the profession is right for you.