The Difference Between Barrister and Solicitor

A barrister is someone who speaks in court and a solicitor is someone who advises you on legal matters. But the two professions do not always work together, and they are not always interchangeable. Barristers tend to be more like lawyers that specialize in courtroom advocacy while solicitors usually represent clients in court. This post discusses the difference between these two professionals and how they can help your business succeed.

The education process for a barrister is much more formal and structured than that of a solicitor

A solicitor will complete a course at law school in order to practice, however, the bar requires them to attend an Inns of Court School. The Inns are where students train in advocacy, drafting legal documents, and the traditions of their profession. They must pass written and oral examinations in order to be accepted into the program.

A barrister is only able to represent clients in court or present cases before a judge. A solicitor can also handle matters that do not require the presence of a judge.

A barrister will be able to speak on your behalf during trials, formal hearings, and disciplinary proceedings, but they are more limited when it comes to handling business transactions. Only solicitors will be able to handle matters such as buying and selling of property, drafting contracts, and resolving disputes.

There is a huge difference in how they are compensated

A solicitor is paid for their time and work on any matter that they deal with. Usually, the hourly rate for solicitors is based on experience, competence, location of practice, and the type of work involved.

A barrister is only paid when they are making a court appearance and their rates can vary widely depending on their expertise, how busy they are at the time, location, and other factors. And if they win your case, you will be responsible for paying their fee.

The way in which barristers and solicitors are regulated is quite different.

Solicitors are self-regulated while barristers are regulated by a professional body called the Bar Council. The Bar Council performs both educational and regulatory functions for all barristers who wish to practice law in England and Wales. It has an extensive set of rules for ongoing training, conduct, and discipline for all barristers.

To become a solicitor, you must complete articles with an existing barrister or law firm to receive your license to practice. There are no exams required before practicing as a solicitor so it is easier to become one than a barrister.

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Michael Wolkind QC is a top London-based defence barrister, dog lover, and writer. Learn more @