In general knowledge, a “lawyer” is a professional in the legal field who gives legal advice to their clients. Their advice comes in different forms which can be making legal arguments inside a courtroom, managing legal requirements within a business or a corporation, and they can also help in writing the law and interpret them, develop programs, and establish enforcement procedures.
It is of basic knowledge that in the field of law, it can get complex and complicated. Some people get confused with terminologies or jargon. Most people also get confused with practitioners in the legal field and their roles which is why some people get confused about what type of lawyer should they seek help in handling legal matters.
In this article, we will be answering your questions about what is the difference between a solicitor and a lawyer in order to alleviate further confusion of the profession.
What is a Solicitor in Australia?
In continuation for before, solicitors, are also practitioners in the legal field. They work in litigation or bringing legal actions to the court. Solicitors work directly with clients with their cases, deal with the paperwork, are also responsible for communicating between sides, and lastly, solicitors also resolve a case on their clients’ behalf.
Australians tend to get confused with the Australian court system especially between the two terms which are “barrister” and “solicitor” and the difference between the two is that a barrister practices their advocacy in a courtroom while a solicitor is mostly responsible for the paperwork (this article will mostly focus on the latter and elaborate further details regarding the profession). In the continent of Australia, the term “solicitor” in Australia is used as an exchange for the term “lawyer” when it comes to describing someone who provides advice and is qualified in the legal field.
Just like what is mentioned before, a solicitor is a type of lawyer with a specific responsibility or purpose in the legal field. Clients will seek the help and legal advice of a solicitor if they are facing a serious legal matter and the solicitor will comply by assisting their clients in their legal matters and affairs. Solicitors are responsible for a range of obligations and duties within the legal field and they also offer advice or a plan to their clients regarding the handling of an issue. A solicitor can also help someone in arranging their Will by advising the client about obligations or other factors that are necessary for executing a will.
Roles of a Solicitor on a Daily Basis
- Solicitors are mainly workers in the office so their roles include handling E-mails and telephone communications with clients, colleagues, or other law firms.
- They are also responsible for drafting court documents or preparing any written legal documents such as a letter, a brief, memos, or a contract.
- Solicitors also handle negotiations outside of the court or in technical terms, Alternative Dispute Resolution (ADR), they try to settle arguments or disputes outside of the courtroom.
- This type of lawyer is also responsible for managing a client’s legal files, for example, non-disclosure agreements, corporate bylaws, and loan agreements.
- Lastly, solicitors also work together with barristers by advising and instructing them on behalf of the client they will be presenting at court.
Where Do Solicitors Specialize?
Every solicitor also have their own legal specialties and the following are some of the examples:
- Family lawyers. Solicitors who specialize in this field mostly deal with legal affairs within a family such as processing divorce files, family estates, or adoption.
- Personal injury lawyers. For personal injury lawyers, they deal with clients who wanted to address the matter that harmed them physically. For example, medical malpractice, sexual assault, or a vehicle accident.
- Immigration lawyers. Immigration solicitors process their client’s immigration papers, emigration, visas, or green cards.
Take note: When hiring a solicitor in handling a person’s legal documents or affairs, whether they have a specialty or not, a client should make sure to hire a solicitor with experience in handling a case they specifically need help for.
Where are Solicitors Employed?
A solicitor’s workplace will depend on the work or specialization they do and the following are the types of workplaces for the lawyers:
- Private law firms.
- Legal departments that are enclosed by large organizations
- Government Legal Services. Solicitors who work here handle affairs regarding the government such as improvisation or the development of a government and also implementing policies.
Can a Solicitor Practice in Court?
The answer to that question is, “yes”. A solicitor can appear at court on behalf of their client although they usually have a barrister to handle the appearance at court and they have already advice the barrister about how to handle the case.
A solicitor could only appear in the court for the preliminary and interim hearings while they leave the argument segment to the barristers. Although there are some solicitors who would not have to retain a barrister since the Law Society of NSW (New South Wales) gave every solicitor the entitlement to practice both roles of a solicitor and a barrister in New South Wales, Australia. This simply means they could still perform the roles of a barrister at court.
Just like in other professions such as a doctor, has also different types of medical practitioners under the category, with different specializations from one another but they are still considered as doctors. Now that it is all clear, to sum it all up, the term, “lawyer” is a generic term for a licensed professional in the legal field and this profession encloses a variety of practitioners of law which include solicitors, barristers, and legal executives. Each and every kind of lawyer have their own responsibility and specialization when it comes to practicing the law, giving advice to clients, and ensuring justice at court that every person deserves.
Hopefully, this article clears any confusing information and answers your questions about our excellent professionals in the legal field!