Lawyers and Solicitors

What Is the Difference between a Lawyer and a Solicitor?

The term solicitor is used only in the UK for a particular type of lawyers. The term lawyer is generic and used for any certified legal practitioner who advises clients on legal matters. A solicitor is a lawyer but a lawyer is not necessarily a solicitor. A solicitor is registered with The Law Society of England and Wales. Both terms are used interchangeably at many places but there are some subtle differences between these two terms. A fraud solicitor is hired in cases of frauds, fund embezzlement, money laundering and tax frauds.

Extra information about fraud solicitor


What Qualifications Are Needed to Become a Solicitor and a Lawyer?

It requires going through both academic and vocational stages. There are three routes to becoming a solicitor in England and Wales. A student can go through the law graduate, non-law graduate or Chartered Institute of Legal Executive route. At the undergraduate level, a student has to study the law and get the Bachelor of Law degree. The next step is to complete the Legal Practice Course. After completing this course, the student should work with a law firm as a trainee solicitor. It involves undergoing Professional Skills Course. If a student studied a different subject than the law, then the person must first undergo a conversion course which is called Graduate Diploma. This diploma is equal to a degree in law. In some cases, an individual who has the relevant knowledge, skills and standards can be exempted from such academic and vocational stages by Solicitors Regulation Authority. Legal apprenticeship is a new alternative to the graduate route. However, even this route requires undergoing the same rigorous assessments. Depending on the route taken, it can take 3-6 years to become a solicitor.


To become a Lawyer in the UK, a person has to study a law course. After completing this course, the person must pass the bar exam to become a lawyer. Qualified lawyers wanting to work as a lawyer or solicitor first gain some experience through apprenticeship before starting their practice. It proves an asset when applying for a job in the field of law or starting own practice.


What Do Lawyers Do?

A lawyer can practice general laws or specialise in a particular field of law. Specialisation can be in the field of family, finance, tax, business, criminal, trusts and estates, corporate, environment, intellectual property, employment and labour, or other field of law. All lawyers do not work in courts. Some of them work in an advisory role. Some lawyers have their own practice while others are part of a lawyer's firm. Large corporations employ lawyers to take care of their large volumes of legal matters. Governments employ lawyers to represent their cases in courts as well as for advisory roles.


What Do Solicitors Do?

Solicitors guide their client in a variety of legal matters. They help individuals, organisations, companies, businesses and governments. A client facing trial first seeks help from the solicitor before seeking help from a barrister to represent the case in the court. Solicitors help their clients prepare legal documents, letters, contracts and agreements. A solicitor prepares the case for trial but appears as advocate only in the lower courts.