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Lawyer vs. Solicitor vs. Barrister: What’s the Difference?

We often hear the terms “lawyer,” “solicitor,” and “barrister,” and this may give rise to confusion as to which is the appropriate term. Can they be used interchangeably? How does one distinguish among those three?
Table of Contents

What Is a Lawyer?

The term “lawyer” is most commonly used to describe someone who can give legal advice, because they possess legal qualification – either a Bachelor of Laws, or a Juris Doctor degree. A lawyer may be said to be an umbrella term to include any legal practitioner such as solicitor, barrister, judge, prosecutor, or the minister of justice.

What Is a Solicitor?

A solicitor is a legal professional who is in possession of the following:
  • a practising certificate
  • admission to Roll of Lawyers
  • a law degree
  • practical legal training course or a supervised traineeship

A solicitor is a lawyer who has expertise in preparing documentation and legal paperwork, and in providing legal advice. They typically have a lot of experience in a specific area of law, and commonly work outside of court, on matters that are not undergoing trial.

What Is a Barrister?

A barrister may be described as an expert advocate who is qualified to represent clients in court. They may be retained by a solicitor, or they may work as self-employed advocates. A barrister’s work usually involves drafting court documents, preparing matters for trial, conducting court appearances, presenting their client’s case, examining the witnesses, and the like.

Key Differences, in a Nutshell

‘Lawyer’ is the general term for legal practitioners, which include solicitors and barristers

Solicitors are legal practitioners specialising in particular areas of law, whose work comprise of advising clients, preparing legal documents, and finding legal solutions

Barristers are expert advocates and specialists in court proceedings, whose legal work typically involves court litigation

All barristers and solicitors are lawyers. But not all lawyers are solicitors (or barristers).

What Services Are Commonly Performed by Solicitors and Barristers?

Typically, legal advice is sought by people who want to avoid dispute. Barristers also give legal advice, but this is usually for clients whose matters have escalated into something bigger.
Solicitors may appear and represent clients in tribunals like the QCAT (Queensland Civil and Administrative Tribunal), and sometimes, in court (unless a barrister is required).
Solicitors and barristers help their clients gather and produce the necessary documents and paperwork in order to move forward with their matter.

Why Seek a Lawyer’s Advice?

1. To avoid making your situation more complicated

When you're faced with a legal dispute, it's important to take advice from a qualified professional in order to avoid making the situation worse. Lawyers have the training and experience to help you navigate the legal system, and by working with them, you can be sure that you're taking the best possible course of action. If you're not sure what your next steps should be, discussing the situation with a lawyer can give you clarity and peace of mind.

2. Credibility on the documents

One of the most important aspects of settling legal matters is the credibility of the documents. Documents that are crafted under solicitor instruction are more likely to be credible, as they are closely supervised. This is particularly important in resolving legal disputes, where the documents can be used to get the client a satisfactory resolution of their matter.

3. To avoid future legal disputes

One way to avoid future legal disputes is to seek legal advice from a lawyer before taking any action that could lead to conflict. This will help ensure that you are acting within the law and that any action you take has a good chance of working in your favor. Furthermore, keeping communication open with your legal advisor can help you avoid disputes and prevent matters from escalating.

The Best Choice for a Construction Lawyer in Brisbane

Construction Lawyer Brisbane’s principal lawyer, John Dela Cruz, has over a decade of experience as a construction lawyer. He has dealt with all sorts of disputes related to building and construction. With his knowledge, experience, and skill set, you can be confident that you are in good hands.

Construction Lawyer Brisbane is a Brisbane-based law firm specialising in building and construction. We deal with Building Disputes, Construction Contracts, and Security of Payment – day in and day out. So if you’re looking for a lawyer around Brisbane, call Construction Lawyer Brisbane now.

John Dela Cruz
John Dela Cruz
John Dela Cruz is the Principal Lawyer of Construction Lawyer Brisbane.
In 2011, John founded the firm, bringing with him extensive, invaluable experience from having held several industry management roles.

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Lawyer vs. Solicitor vs. Barrister: What’s the Difference?
Lawyer vs. Solicitor vs. Barrister: What’s the Difference?