What is the difference between a Lawyer, a Solicitor and a Barrister?
Many people don’t understand the difference between a lawyer, a solicitor and a barrister. Our blog aims to help you to distinguish these roles and take the first step in your legal matter.
What is a lawyer?
A lawyer is a term used to describe any person that is a Licensed Legal Practitioner qualified to give legal advice in one or more areas of law.
What is a solicitor?
A solicitor is a type of lawyer that provides expert legal advice and support to clients. They are the first port of call for people who need legal advice, and may refer a matter on to a barrister if needed.
What does a solicitor do?
Solicitors work across the whole legal field, but may specialise in areas such as estate planning, employment law, intellectual property law, taxation law and asset protection. Although their specific work activities will depend on their area of expertise, a solicitor’s job role can include:
- Creation of contracts and letters tailored to their client’s needs;
- Preparing documents for court;
- Negotiating between their client and another party to secure agreed objectives;
- Gather evidence;
- Calculate claims for damages, compensation and loss of earnings;
- Appearing in court (except when a barrister is needed); and
- Instructing a barrister or specialist advocate for expert evidence to appear in Court for a client.
A good solicitor should pay attention to detail, have good negotiation skills and communicate effectively. It is vital that you select a trusted solicitor for your legal matter as even small mistakes can be costly. Our solicitors are experts in commercial law and have years of experience practising as solicitors in Newcastle, Sydney and the Hunter.
What is a barrister?
A barrister is another type of lawyer who can represent clients in court or through written legal advice. They usually focus on one area of law in order to provide specialist legal advice. Barristers are usually engaged by the solicitor, rather than the client, and are generally not required until legal representation is required in court.
A key difference between a solicitor and a barrister is that barristers working within a chambers are all independent and can therefore work on different sides in the same legal dispute. Alternatively, solicitors working at the same law firm would be prevented from doing this as it would cause a conflict of interest. For more on this see our previous blog.