Trainee solicitor

Understanding What A Solicitor Does

To really understand what a solicitor is, it is somewhat important to understand that there are two main types of lawyers in the UK, of which a solicitor is one, and barrister is the other. Whilst the boundaries between the two professions are slowly becoming more blurred, there are still some differences between the two.

In general, the main responsibilities of barristers involve representing people in court, whereas solicitors tend to do most of their legal work outside of the courts; however there are always exceptions in both cases. For most people who need a lawyer, their first point of contact will be with a solicitor. In some cases, such as those which end up in the higher courts, a barrister may be called in to work with the solicitors to provide representation. Those who need a solicitor may not ultimately end up being represented by their first point of contact, because the solicitor that they speak to first may not be the best person to speak to. However, they will usually be able to point people in the right direction to access the legal support that they need.

Areas of employment for solicitors

There are a number of different areas in which a solicitor can be employed. Solicitors can work on their own, as part of a small law firm, as part of a large legal organisation, or in the legal department of any business or firm. Depending on which area a solicitor works in, the work that they do is likely to be slightly different. For example, a solicitor who is employed as part of the legal department in a business or firm will only represent the interests of that firm, but may have to understand that firm’s rights and obligations in regards to a wide variety of business tasks, whereas a solicitor who works as part of a small law firm may work with a lot of different clients.

Types of work

Much of the work done by solicitors is desk based, although there may be the opportunity to leave the office and visit clients in independent locations. The types of work which are regularly done by solicitors include advising clients, drafting documents, conducting research and checking legal contracts. Whilst solicitors often work on their own, they can sometimes work in teams or with support staff, such as a legal secretary.

A solicitor may also be expected to liaise with or negotiate with solicitors who are representing another party. It is important that solicitors have the necessary skills to communicate effectively with other people, because this will help them to understand the needs of their clients and to get the best possible results for their clients.

Most solicitors who make court appearances as an advocate for their client will only represent clients in a magistrate’s court or a county court. For most cases which reach the higher levels of court, a barrister will be drafted in to act as an advocate, although they will normally be supported by a team of solicitors. At present, a few top solicitors are able to work as advocates for clients in the higher courts.

Specialised solicitors

During training, most solicitors will choose an area of law to specialise in. Because law is an expansive field, it is easier to offer the best levels of service if you are able to focus on just one area of law, and therefore many solicitors will have a specialism. Areas of specialism can include; wills and probate (what will happen to a person’s estate once they are deceased or incapacitated), business law, employment law, small claims cases, accident claims or family law (child custody and divorces etc).

Some solicitors will have had the opportunity to specialise in more than one of these areas. Law firms will often include solicitors who cover a range of different specialisms, so if they themselves are not able to help out with a case, they will be able to pass clients on to a colleague who is better placed to provide assistance. Many solicitors for example are also well-networked, so that if they do not actually work with a person who can help, they will know of an external candidate who may be able to help instead.


Differences Between A Barrister, A Lawyer And A Solicitor

If you are interested in working in the legal profession, it is important that you understand the different roles which exist. Many people are confused about the differences between a lawyer, a solicitor and a barrister. This text aims to provide some clarification to help to give you a better understanding of these roles.

What is a Lawyer?

The easiest part of the discussion is defining a Lawyer. This term is an umbrella term which is used to describe any Licensed Legal Professional in the United Kingdom who is qualified to dispense legal advice. Both solicitors and barristers are therefore considered to fall under the umbrella of “Lawyer”.

What is a Solicitor, and what do they do?

A solicitor is a type of lawyer who may work with individuals, groups, and private and public sector organisations. Traditionally, solicitors would be the first port of call for people who needed legal advice, and they may refer cases on to a barrister if necessary. As part of their role they will be expected to communicate with clients and produce necessary documents and paperwork to assist with the actions. This can include the creation of documents, contracts and letters to meet the needs of the client. They will also take the lead role in preparing papers for court, and leading any legal secretaries or assistants who may be supporting the case.

Solicitors do cover a wide range of different legal areas, including family law, personal injuries claims, wills and probate, property law, and some aspects of criminal law (normally low level cases). In many of these areas of law, one of their primary roles will be to act as a negotiator between their client and another party, with the view to securing agreed objectives for their client. Whilst solicitors can appear in court when necessary, they may require a barrister to act on their behalf in some instances. In these cases, they will act to support the barrister.

A good solicitor is required to have a thorough understanding of the areas of the law that they practice in, and they must pay attention to detail, as even small mistakes can be costly. They should have good negotiation skills, but they must also have the ability to control their clients expectations, so that they client understands if their demands are unreasonable.

What is a Barrister and what do they do?

A barrister is a type of lawyer who can represent individuals or organisations in court room sessions or via written legal advice. In general, barristers are only involved in the legal process once legal representation is required in court. They may also provide written opinions to clients (or their solicitors) to advise them on the strength of their cases. This may include advice on whether they believe that the case should go to court.

Barristers normally specialise in one particular area of the law, so that they can offer the best possible representation in these areas. As part of their role in the courtroom, they may present evidence, examine witnesses and make strong statements to support their client’s case. Barristers do not normally work directly with clients, but they are normally briefed by solicitors to help them to understand the details of the case. A single barrister may work with a large team of solicitors to develop a strong case for the client.

Many barristers in the United Kingdom are self-employed, but maintain close links with different legal firms in the area. These barristers may work in “chambers” with other practicing barristers in the area. It is possible for two barristers within a single chamber to be working against each other on opposite sides of a case. Some top barristers work with the Crown Prosecution service on behalf of the nation. Other barristers work full-time with commercial clients, as part of their legal departments.

A barrister normally specialises in one area of the law, and therefore must have a thorough understanding of this platform. They must have strong negotiating skills, and be prepared to fight for things which oppose their beliefs. The Cab Rank Rule in England and Wales means that barristers must accept a case if they are offered it, regardless of their personal convictions, unless they can prove that there is a conflict of interests.


How Much Can You Earn As A Solicitor?

Whilst being a solicitor is often thought of as a well paid role, the amount that solicitors earn can depend on a number of different factors, including where you work, what you specialise in, what stage of your career you are at and how successful you are. Training can also be costly if you do not already have a firm sponsoring your education, and people are often required to pay off the costs of their education with part of their earnings during the early part of their career. For most people their earnings will increase as they progress further in their career.

Training Salary

It is likely that you will receive the lowest salary level during your career whilst you are on your training contact. This reflects the fact that your firm is still supporting you through your training, and that you do not have the same level of responsibility as that which is held by your qualified peers. The only requirement for those on a training salary is that it meets the national minimum wage for a full working week (£6.40 per hour in 2014).

Whilst the SRA recommends that trainee solicitors are paid more than this, especially if they are living and working in London, the SRA does not enforce this recommendation. Regardless of this, many training contract providers will offer their trainees a much higher salary than this. If you want a better salary whilst training, it is best to look for a contract in a private firm, rather than public or third-sector firms. These employers also offer generous benefits packages to their employees, which can help to make these contracts an even more appealing prospect. Some of the top international law firms in London offer training contracts worth over £35,000 per year, and this figure can be higher in the second year of a contract. Graduates who go for these contracts face tough competition and once in position, they are expected to work exceedingly hard as part of their role.

How much do Newly Qualified Solicitors earn?

Starting salaries for fully qualified solicitors begin at around £19,500, and go upwards from there. Those who were lucky enough to secure a training contract with a high annual salary can expect to earn much more than this in their first year as a practicing solicitor, so long as they are able to secure a job at the firm that they trained with.

Newly qualified solicitors who are living and working in London will usually earn more than those who are living and working elsewhere in the country, however this is offset by the increased costs associated with living and working in London.

What is the Maximum that a Solicitor can earn?

There is no real maximum value set for how much a solicitor can earn, and it will often depend on the level of extra responsibility that they take on as part of their job. Solicitors who have been practicing for a while in a clear specialised area, and working as part of a successful and reputable firm can expect to earn up to £75,000 per year.

Solicitors who have taken on extra responsibility, such as a management role or a partnership role in a firm can earn over £100,000 per year. Partners in a law firm may also be eligible to draw an additional cut of the profits from their firm. However, being a partner in a law firm does not come without its own risks. If the firm is unsuccessful, the partners may earn much less than expected, and be forced to take drastic salary cuts in order to keep the business alive.

Do solicitors earn Commission?

Some solicitor roles earn money on a commission basis. Although employees are always given a salary that meets minimum wage, they have the chance to earn more by completing cases. If the cases are successful, the solicitor either earns a pre-arranged fee, or is awarded a percentage cut of the amount which has been awarded to the client. This percentage must be agreed upon when the solicitor agrees to represent the client. Good solicitors can earn a lot of money by taking clients on commission, but less successful solicitors may struggle to earn much.