Unlike in many other countries, in the United Kingdom, the profession of being a lawyer is further subdivided into two. While the term “lawyer” can apply to anyone who is licensed to practice the legal profession, Solicitors and Barristers each make up a certain “type” of a lawyer, each with their own duties and responsibilities.
Barristers are typically those who appear in court to represent a certain client. They are responsible for structuring the different facts of the case into a coherent legal argument and arguing the client’s position before the court. Barristers are normally self-employed and work within an office known as a Chambers, only becoming involved in a case once hired by a Solicitor to advocate for a client in court.
While Barristers are the representatives of a client in court, Solicitors do all the work before a case goes to court. This includes advising the client on possible courses of legal action and dealing with the necessary paperwork involved in the case. In cases that require mediation — for example, in family law and wills probate issues — a Solicitor may also act as a mediator and negotiate between the parties involved. Solicitors are usually the first lawyers a person comes into contact with when they seek legal advice, as Barristers have to be advised by Solicitors before they are allowed to advise a client.
Solicitors work in a wide range of legal fields and often do so as part of firms. In big cities such as London, firms are usually easy to contact, and many offer expertise in specific fields. Here are some of the most common fields relating to individuals that Solicitors may be involved in:
Personal Injury Law
Personal injury claims state that a certain person has been injured or harmed as a result of negligence by another person or organization. Examples include auto accidents, workplace accidents, and accidents as a result of defective products. Solicitors in such cases usually work to secure compensation for the victim, assist victims in navigating the insurance system, and — in extreme cases — file a lawsuit against the offending party.
Medical negligence, or medical malpractice, is a specific type of personal injury law where a medical professional failed to perform or deviated from the standards of medical care required, and this breach of duty resulted in harm to the victim. Both aspects need to be proven for medical negligence claims to be accepted and classified as such.
Solicitors also help clients with any legal issues relating to their employment, such as in cases of discrimination, workplace harassment, and unfair dismissal. In some cases, Solicitors may also be involved while the employee is still working for the company. Some examples include pay and leave disputes, as well as requests to alter the terms of service.
Family law deals with legal issues surrounding familial relationships. The most common examples of family law applications are divorce and adoption. Family lawyers are also responsible for overseeing pre-nuptial agreements, and may also give advice in cases such as cohabitation and civil partnerships. In case of a death in the family, they may also be tasked with administering a will and estates, as well as overseeing any disputes and contestations of the will.
If you encounter any trouble with issues relating to a legal field, it is best to consult a Solicitor first before you proceed. This helps you evaluate your options and decide the best course of action. Hence, it is important to always have a Solicitor to contact or to know how to find one.