Have you ever wondered what the difference between a lawyer, barrister and solicitor is?
The word lawyer is a general term that we use for people who practise law.
BARRISTER AND SOLICITOR (ENGLAND AND WALES)
In England and Wales, the word lawyer is a broader term that encompasses both solicitors and barristers.
That means that both barristers and solicitors are lawyers, but they are different types of lawyers.
They have quite different training and expertise and do different types of legal work.
The basic difference between barristers and solicitors is that a barrister mainly defends people in court and a solicitor mainly performs legal work outside court.
In court, barristers are often visibly distinguished from solicitors by their apparel .The solicitor appearing in open court wears a robe (gown) but the barrister wears a robe and a horsehair wig.
A solicitor is the initial contact person for an individual or organisation that seeks legal advice or representation.
What do solicitors do?
Solicitors advise clients, conduct negotiations, draft legal documents, prepare cases for trial and represent clients in lower courts – magistrates’ courts and county courts. They retain (or engage) barristers on behalf of their clients for advocacy before higher courts. Since their activities make up the greater part of the work of lawyers, solicitors are many times more numerous than barristers.
Who do they work for?
Solicitors can work for a wide range of organisations, including law firms, the government, private businesses, banks and corporations.
Barristers are rarely hired by clients directly but instead are retained (or engaged) by solicitors to act on behalf of clients.
What do barristers do?
Barristers are the lawyers who represent litigants as their advocate before higher courts.
They speak in court and present the case before a judge or jury.
Who do they work for?
Unlike solicitors, most barristers are self-employed and work in Chambers* with other barristers so they can share costs of accommodation and administrators.
Chambers: the set of professional rooms used by a barrister or an association of barristers.
ATTORNEY AT LAW (USA)
In the USA and most other countries, lawyers don’t make this division – a lawyer is simply known as an attorney at law, or an attorney.
The D.A. or District Attorney is a lawyer in the U.S. who works for the state and prosecutes people on behalf of it. There are also, of course, defence attorneys in America who act on behalf of their clients.
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