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Solicitors vs Barristers

This video from The University of Law explores the differences between solicitors and barristers.
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So the key differences between a solicitor and the barrister are quite easy to explain and the way we like to explain it is a little bit of an analogy using a doctor surgery. So if you imagine when you’re first reading a little bit unwell, you would go to your GP, that’s different than of the solicitor so they’re the first point of call that you go to if you have a legal matter or a legal inquiry. If your solicitor then decides that your case is too vague, then or it might need some support from the courtroom, your solicitor would refer you on to a barrister.
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And that’s the equivalent of your doctor referring you onto a specialist, or referring you onto hospital if they believe that your illness is too big for them to maintain or look after. The key differences between a solicitor and the barrister is that a solicitor generally spends most of their time in an office situation and then a barrister will generally spend most of their time in a courtroom situation. The barristers are designed to be either prosecution or defense. So they will spend their time either defending a client who they believe may have been wrongly accused of something or prosecuting, so essentially trying to get somebody convicted for a particular matter.
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Solicitors will spend more of their time as I said in the office and will assist with case load they will assist with bundles and initial interviews of witnesses. But the job role of a solicitor very much depends on the type of work that they are doing. So for instance, if a solicitor is qualified in conveyancing and that is the assistance for people buying or selling a property. So if you’re doing that then you won’t be interviewing witnesses. You’ll spend a lot more of your time dealing with contracts, going between different parties to understand what’s required.
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However, if you’re a sensitive for a large corporate or commercial firm, you may spend a lot of your time dealing with big businesses and assisting with different multi-million pound deals. The actual nature of your day to day role will depend on what type of solicitor you are and what type of work you do. Whereas the barristers are very much generally based in the courtroom, either defense or prosecution. You can become what’s called a Solicitor Advocate. And this means that you have done additional training on top of your solicitor training, and that then means that you can go up in court and can do some representation of clients.
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You can’t do everything that a barrister has the ability to do, but you are able to do small amounts of it.

Let’s now find out a bit more about the two types of lawyers: barristers and solicitors. What are the main differences between the two careers? Watch this video from Hannah from our Guildford Campus to find out more.

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