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Law: Solicitor

A guide to careers as a barrister, solicitor, legal executive or paralegal


Facts and Figures - Solicitors

Solicitor Careers Resources

Professional Groups

Right of Audience

The Law Society of England and Wales has the ability to grant rights of audience to solicitors, allowing them to represent their clients in court

Solicitor Job Description

Solicitors are lawyers who provide legal advice for clients

What's the difference between a Solicitor and a Barrister?

In the UK, Law is traditionally split into two professions. Both are counted as lawyers, and they are of equal rank

Solicitors provide legal advice, and work on the office side of law, while Barristers (or Advocates, as they are called in Scotland) represent people in courts and draft documents

Solicitors are usually employed by a firm. Barristers cannot form firms or partnerships, and are therefore all self-employed

However, Barristers usually share costs of marketing and admin by working together in places called Chambers

Solicitors are paid an hourly rate for their services, while Barristers are paid for each task

Barristers often deal with only one part of a case, while Solicitors deal with the whole of it

Important Note

A lot of these differences are not true all of the time

Solicitors can be self-employed, represent people in court, etc

Barristers can work directly with clients, and can avoid going into courts

There are also Legal Executives who are considered of a lower status but can train to represent clients in court, become judges, and fulfil other duties associated with Barristers and Solicitors

Things you can do - by year of study

Law is a competitive field, and it will certainly help you if you can get experience while you're at Sussex

We recommend students find work experience, do internships with law firms, and find a training contract

Here's a break down of what we recommend you do. This advice is primarily meant for law undergraduates

This advice is also relevant to non-law undergraduates

If you're not studying law, it's worth thinking about these things in the final year of your degree

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After Your Law Degree/Conversion Course - Solicitors

To qualify as a solicitor you will need to study a Legal Practice Course (LPC) if you have completed a law degree, or a Graduate Diploma in Law (GDL) and then the LPC if you haven't studied law as an undergraduate

These are vocational courses which last for a year

You can apply for full time LPC and GDL courses through the LawCabs system. To apply for part-time courses, apply directly to the employers

Legal training contracts

Training contracts are two year contracts with law firms where one works and studies at the same time. As part of this, it is necessary to pass the Professional Skills Course (PSC)

Some companies require students to apply for a training contract before they start their LPC, and it can sometimes be possible to get funding for an LPC from one's training contract supplier

More information on applying for work and experience can be found in the Jobs & Experience section

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Get Experience