Home Blog Barrister vs Solicitor (Legal Definition: All You Need To Know)

Barrister vs Solicitor (Legal Definition: All You Need To Know)

What is the difference between Barrister vs Solicitor?

What do the terms barrister and solicitor mean?

What are the essential elements you should know!

Keep reading as we have gathered exactly the information that you need!

Let’s dig into our legal profession knowledge!

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Barrister vs Solicitor

What is the difference between a “barrister” and a “solicitor”?

The role of a barrister and a solicitor is different.

However, in modern times, the differences are becoming more and more blurry.

In the UK, there are differences in the function of a barrister versus solicitation.

However, in the United States, the legal professional is generally referred to as a “lawyer” or “attorney” without making any particular distinction between solicitors and barristers.

A barrister is a lawyer who is specialized in representing a person or entity in court (like a trial lawyer).

In essence, a barrister is a lawyer who understands the court rules of procedure and pleads before the courts.

A solicitor is a lawyer who provides legal advice to clients but does not necessarily represent the client before a court.

A solicitor is a legal professional handling all the legal work at the law firm or at the law office, in most cases.

What Is A Barrister

A barrister is a lawyer or legal professional who is legally authorized to provide legal advice and represent a client before a tribunal.

We see this type of lawyer in common law jurisdictions like the UK.

This means that a barrister will have the specialization to understand a legal issue, define the legal framework related to the legal issue, provide the client with guidance on the matter, and eventually advocate for the person in court.

In the UK, Barristers are regulated by the Barrister’s Association.

Barristers will generally specialize in a particular area of the law like criminal law, personal injury law, family law, housing, and property law, or others.

Out of approximately 15,500 barristers in England & Wales, about 80% of them are self-employed.

What Is A Solicitor

A solicitor is a legal practitioner who is specialized in an area of law and provides legal advice to clients.

Typically, a solicitor does not represent a client before a court.

The main function of a solicitor is to handle the legal documentation, review, and advice in contentious and non-contentious matters at all stages leading up to a lawsuit.

The main duties accomplished by solicitors are:

  • Legal contract and document drafting
  • Letter drafting
  • Negotiations and settlement discussions 
  • Managing the client’s legal file
  • Legal advice on applicable laws
  • Out-of-court negotiations 

Solicitors will tend to specialize in a specific area of the law so they can provide better guidance and advice to their clients.

They can be personal injury solicitors, property solicitors, contract law solicitors, commercial transactions, and so on.

Solicitor vs Barrister Differences

What are the differences between solicitors and barristers?

The role of a solicitor and barrister is technically different in the way they perform professional duties, in their legal training, where they work, what they wear, and how they interact with the public.

Professional Duties

Typically, barristers are legal professionals who represent clients before the court.

They carry out their duties advocating for clients or defending client rights in court.

On the other hand, solicitors are legal professionals who handle legal work in an “office” setting by providing legal advice to clients, research, negotiate, draft legal agreements, handle paperwork, and other legal duties.

In some exceptional cases, solicitors may obtain the “right of audience” giving them the ability to represent clients in court.

Legal Training

To become a solicitor, an individual must complete a vocational course called the Legal Practice Course (LPC) after obtaining a bachelor’s degree in law (LLB) or graduate degree in law (GDL).

Following that, the person must complete a two-year training contract.

To become a barrister, a person will need to complete a vocational component of the bar training after getting a bachelor’s in law.

Then, you need to do a 1-year pupillage involving the shadowing of a barrister to get practical experience.

Work Setting

Solicitors are generally employed by law firms or companies as in-house counsel.

Barristers are generally self-employed and may work with other self-employed barristers.

Barristers can also be hired by law firms and organizations as well depending on their needs.

Legal Attire

Barristers are generally seen wearing a long black robe (and sometimes a wig).

Solicitors do not have to wear traditional court attire.

As a result, solicitors wear what is typically expected of a professional white-collar worker.

Public Access

The members of the public can generally reach out to solicitors and provide them with a legal mandate.

Barristers are not as readily accessible by the public but can be directly instructed for straightforward cases.

Generally speaking, solicitors are the ones who provide the details of a case to the barristers in the event a case needs to go to court.

As such, the public does not directly mandate or instruct a barrister to go to court.


So what is the legal definition of Barrister vs Solicitor?

Let’s look at a summary of our findings.

Solicitor vs Barrister

  • Solicitors are legal professionals that may be specialized in any area of the law and will provide legal services and advisory outside of a courtroom
  • Barristers are legal professionals who primarily represent clients, advocate for their client rights, defend clients, and plead in court
  • Consider the solicitor to be a lawyer working out of an office and a barrister wearing a black robe and wig representing individuals and entities in court 
General counsel 
In-house counsel
Law career 
Law school
Attorney vs lawyer 
Car accident lawyer 
Legal pleading 
Personal injury lawyer
Plea in bar
Pro bono lawyer
Types of lawyers

Editorial Staffhttps://lawyer.zone
Hello Nation! I'm a lawyer and passionate about law. I've practiced law in a boutique law firm, worked in a multi-national organization and as in-house counsel. I've been around the block! On this blog, I provide you with golden nuggets of information about lawyers, attorneys, the law and legal theories. Enjoy!


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