Barrister vs. Solicitor

The difference between a barrister and a solicitor

A barrister is often called a barrister at law. This person has passed the required courses for a law degree and is called to the bar so that he/she is able to plead cases in court in front of a judge and jury. A solicitor is also a lawyer, but one who provides advice to clients regarding matters of the law, draws up legal documents, such as contracts, prepares cases for barristers who are arguing cases in the higher courts and sometime represents clients in lower courts.

A barrister and a solicitor both refer to lawyers, but the distinction lies in the duties they carry out and the training they receive. There is also a difference in the amount of pay they receive. They both need the same qualifications in order to receive a law degree, but there is a difference between them in the type of training that they do after they receive the law degree.

The training they receive after the law degree depends on their aspirations. A barrister is expected to become a member of one of the four inns of the Court. These are the Garyi’s Inn, Lincoln’s Inn, Middle Temple and Inner Temple. Once he has become a member of one of these, then the barrister has to attend either twelve dinners or twelve weekend residential courses. It is important to meet the judges and others who are influential in the court and this is one of the main advantages of attending the dinners.

A solicitor goes through a different style of training after graduating from law school. He/She would complete a vocational course for one year that is called a Legal Practice Course. During this course, a solicitor is paid a stipend. This helps the solicitor become skilled in advocacy so that he can advocate before the court. Other parts of this training include learning how to draft business and solicitor accounts. This course is very demanding.

A barrister also has to go through a year of training, but it is more practical in nature. It is called the Bar Vocational Course to help the solicitor hone the skills needed for advocacy in order to handle civil and criminal litigation cases before the courts.

A barrister practices under the supervision of a senior lawyer in the firm. This is also for a period of one year and after this time, the barrister is able to open his/her own practice. During this year, the pay is very low. It is very beneficial for a solicitor to also do the training under the supervision of a qualified solicitor. A solicitor is usually hired by a firm.

Summary

  1. A solicitor provides advice to members of the public. A barrister argues civil and criminal cases in a court of law.
  2. There is a contract between a solicitor and a client. A barrister usually handles the paper work.