What is a solicitor ?

What is a lawyer?Solicitors, barristers and legal executives are all lawyers. The work they do is based on the same law but their day-to-day jobs can be very different. Below is an outline of their roles. You will find some real life examples in the section entitled ‘A Day in the Life of…’SolicitorsSolicitors offer skilled day-to-day advice to clients on a comprehensive range of legal matters from defending criminal charges to buying or selling property and from taking over a company to making employees redundant and much more.Once qualified, solicitors can select to work in a law firm but there are also opportunities to work in the legal sector of local government, in law centres, as an ‘in-house’ lawyer within industry or in the civil service (including work for the Crown Prosecution Service).Most solicitors in law firms specialise in one particular area of law, for example: conveyancing, family law, civil litigation, company law, criminal law or wills and probate to give just a few examples. The type of work will depend on the type of legal firm. Many firms are relatively small (less than 50 employees) and look after all kinds of problems which the general public face such as moving house, making a will, problems with their employment, divorce, suing traders for poor work or damaged or broken goods.Larger law firms tend to deal with company clients and look after mergers of companies, complex tax issues, buying and selling large properties such as shopping centres, retail or industrial sites. They often act for clients who are household names. Such firms can employ in excess of 250 people.Some solicitors can also represent clients in certain Courts and in the Employment Tribunals. They prepare and manage cases for their clients, and negotiate settlements, but may decide to instruct a barrister to appear in Court or Tribunal on their behalf.Solicitors build up strong relationships with their clients, sometimes over months or years. Client care and service is a fundamental part of being a solicitor.

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