Qualified lawyers in England and Wales are either solicitors, barristers or legal executives. 

What does a solicitor do ? 

Generally speaking a client would come to a solicitor for advice on dealing with the law as it applies to their business or personal issues – this could be anything from advice on buying a house, to help with divorce or child custody issues, to assistance if they have been accused of a crime.  Solicitors also carry out ‘advocacy’ ,representing people in courts such as the Magistrates’ Court and the County Court. 

How do you become a solicitor? 

You will need a degree.  If you have a law degree you can then move on to the Legal Practice Course before seeking a two-year training contract with a solicitor’s firm.  If you have a degree of another kind you will need to complete a year’s conversion course, the Graduate Diploma in Law.  You may need to spend time working as a ‘paralegal’, or a legal assistant,  before you are offered a training contract.

 A Legal Executive carries out similar work to a solicitor but the route to qualification is different and often involves studying in the evenings alongside working. There are nearly eight times as many solicitors in this country as barristers. For the last twenty years solicitors have been able to apply to have ‘higher rights of audience’ to represent clients in the Crown Court as well.

For advice contact:

Lucy Ffrench
Cartwright King Solicitors
14 Lombard Street
OX14 5BJ