If you’ve not got any legal experience, the differences between Lawyers and Solicitors may not be immediately obvious. This can be most evident when searching online for legal advice or services, as search results can often include a mix of American and UK sites.
Solicitor and Barrister are two terms which aren’t used widespread amongst firms in the US, so transatlantic cultural differences can make it even harder to pin down the definitions.
Naturally, this can be problematic if this is your first time looking for legal advice.
So to help clear things up, below we’ll answer one of our frequently asked questions: what’s the difference between a Solicitor and a Lawyer?
What is a Lawyer?
In simple terms, in the UK, a Lawyer is used as a catch-all term, applied to anyone who is a licensed professional and is therefore qualified to give legal advice in at least one type of law.
That means that the word “Lawyer” may refer to Solicitors, Barristers, legal executives, paralegals, and training associates, though not all are qualified to offer the same level of legal advice.
Solicitors and Barristers are technically both a type of Lawyer, but they provide very specific types of services and functions within the legal process in the UK.
Generally, if you find any information online which tells you that Barristers and Solicitors are the same, you may be on an American website. The information provided on the site will not be valid in the UK.
Checking the source of your legal information
Be sure you’re being pointed in the right direction when researching the law and advice on the Internet.
Simply, check the web address and see if it ends in website.co.uk, if so you’re probably fine.
If you’ve done a local search, or have your search region set to provide UK results only, then any websites appearing like ours, farleys.com, will be a valid sources of information.
Any information linking to gov.uk sites are typically excellent places to find out more about the law and may help determine if you need a solicitor, for legal matters like wills, trusts, and probate.
If in doubt, simply give us a call on 0845 287 0939 and our friendly team will be able to help!
What is a Solicitor?
A Solicitor is a qualified legal professional who gives legal advice, support, and guidance to clients on areas and matters concerning the law. A Solicitor may have clients that are individuals, groups, private companies, or public sector organisations.
At Farleys Solicitors, we offer legal advice and expertise in two primary segments individuals and business on subjects including:
Legal advice and services for individuals
- Employment Contract Advice
- Employment Tribunals
- Wills, Trusts & Probate
- Personal Injury
- Medical Negligence
- Family Law
- And more!
What does a Solicitor do?
After an initial meeting or phone call, Solicitors will take instructions from clients. Then the Solicitor will provide advice on the available courses of legal action, depending on their area of expertise. You may find your case is then given to a specific Solicitor who specialises in the subject matter.
Solicitors work directly with clients, and deal with all of the communication and paperwork involved with their client’s cases. This includes writing documents, letters, contracts, and preparing papers for Court.
The specific types of paperwork and communication will differ depending on the Solicitor’s area of expertise and the associated process with each area of law.
What is litigation?
Litigation is a legal process that occurs when neither side agrees and all other options for resolution have been exhausted. Our Solicitors are trained experts in litigation, also called dispute resolution, that may go to trial or Court.
Litigation is adversarial in nature and requires both parties to prove the case on the balance of probabilities.
Can a dispute be resolved without litigation?
Yes, there are many cases and situations where disputes can be resolved without litigation. In Court proceedings, the judge may ask if an agreement or resolution had been reached prior to coming to Court, before agreeing to proceed further.
The process of reaching an agreement or resolution is called mediation, or mediation law. Mediation is used in a variety of cases for family law (such as divorce), business disputes, employment tribunals and even in some inheritance disputes.
Mediation is an appropriate option in some cases, and may end up costing less (than litigation) due to the potential reduction in administrative and legal costs. Additionally Mediation may be less stressful for all parties overall, particularly in areas of family law.
Your Solicitor will advise you on the best course of action, but it’s up to you to decide how you want to proceed and be represented.
How much does a Solicitor cost?
The cost of a Solicitor for your specific case may vary depending on the complexity of the case, the number of parties involved, and the type or level of specialisation required.
Many legal firms, including ours, have a mixed fee structure in place for specific areas of litigation.
All this means is that some services are offered at a fixed cost, like submitting a specific Court document, while others may be variable, like the hourly rate for each fee earner (Solicitor) involved.
If you need more details, don’t worry! Our friendly team will outline costs for you before proceeding with your case. At Farleys Solicitors LLP, it’s our mission to be clear, attentive, results-driven and enthusiastic, to provide our clients with quality legal service, at a fair cost.
As a leading North West law firm, with six offices in Lancashire and Manchester, Farleys is a name you can trust to provide an excellent service.
We are a local firm for local people, local businesses and we have solutions to virtually any legal issue.
If you need to speak with one of our specialist Solicitors about any of our services you can reach us by phone simply give us a call on 0845 287 0939, online chat with an expert, send us an email, or visit our offices. We have several conveniently located offices across the North West in Manchester, Blackburn, Preston, Accrington, and Burnley.