The word lawyer is frequently used in the UK to describe someone who is licensed to practice the law and provide legal advice
Describing a professional as a lawyer is a generic description of their skills. More precisely the term “lawyer” is a generic one that can be used for both solicitors and barristers.
What does a solicitor do for clients?
Many solicitors specialise in a particular area of law and advise their clients as such. A solicitor will provide legal advice and draft documents such as contracts, prepare papers for court as well as communicate with the other parties in a case on behalf of their client.
Some solicitors are qualified to appear in court to represent their clients but most do not and instead instruct a barrister to carry out court room work for them.
How do solicitors work?
The general process of getting a solicitor to handle your legal requirements is as follows:
- Discuss with potential clients their needs and the suitability of the solicitor(s) to provide the correct legal advice
- A solicitor will then be instructed by the client to carry out the legal services required.
- Advice will be provided to the clients on the law and how it relates to their specific circumstances.
- If there is paperwork to be drafted or court papers to prepare, a solicitor will generally co these.
- Negotiations with the other parties involved are carried out by the solicitor.
- Solicitors can and do appear in court although in highly complex cases a barrister is instead instructed.
In conclusion, the difference between a lawyer and a solicitor is really one of terminology. A lawyer isn’t a solicitor, but a more general term given to someone who practices law in the UK and can also cover barristers as well.