What is the difference between a lawyer and a solicitor?
Not sure what the difference is between a layer, a solicitor, and a barrister? It can be confusing - we're here to help!
Here at The Compensation Experts, we specialise in helping you get the compensation that you deserve. If you’re ready to seek legal counsel but aren’t sure about the difference between barrister and solicitor, we’re here to explain everything you need to know.
When do I need legal counsel?
Regardless of when you choose to pursue any compensation claim, it’s highly advised that you seek legal counsel from a personal injury lawyer as soon as possible. Not only will this help you understand whether your claim is likely to be successful, but you’ll get an indication of just how much you could potentially claim for.
But if you’ve never been involved in any legal proceedings for a personal injury claim, it can be confusing to know just who you should approach for legal counsel. Should you pick a solicitor or lawyer? What’s the difference between a barrister and solicitor?
What’s the difference between a solicitor and a lawyer?
If you’ve followed any legal case, both on the news and in TV shows, you’ve probably heard the terms solicitor and lawyer thrown around or used interchangeably. So, you might be wondering, is a solicitor a lawyer?
In short, yes, a solicitor is a type of lawyer. A lawyer is anyone who is a qualified and licensed legal practitioner. They can give advice in any area of law they’re qualified in and are the person who will represent you in the courtroom.
So, when it comes to solicitor or lawyer, there is no difference. And when it comes to legal counsel, a solicitor should be the first person you talk to regardless of your claim.
But what about a barrister vs solicitor? What is a barrister and what’s the difference between the two?
What’s the difference between a barrister and a solicitor?
While both barristers and solicitors are types of lawyers, their roles in the legal process are fairly distinct and separate.
What is a barrister?
Barristers are specifically those who represent you in a courtroom, almost always at the behest of your solicitor. They provide legal advice to you prior to a court case, often by appraising the strength of your case and providing their written opinion on the likelihood of its outcome. Each barrister is an expert in at least one area of law and will typically work independently from solicitors. A barrister is the person who will present your case, examine and cross-examine witnesses, and ultimately argue why the court should favour your case over the defendant’s. They’re also in charge of negotiating court settlements once your case comes to a close.
What is a solicitor?
Solicitors, on the other hand, are qualified legal professionals who offer expert legal advice to support you through every step of your claim’s case. They advise on the necessary course of legal action you will be required to take should you choose to pursue your compensation case, depending on their area of legal expertise.
Solicitors will directly work with you to handle your case, dealing with all the necessary legal paperwork and communication between yourself and the defending party, as well as helping you gather all the documentation, letters, contracts, and evidence you’ll need to support your case. One of their biggest roles is to also work out the potential level of compensation you could receive.
If your compensation case does end up going to court, then your solicitor will usually hire a barrister on your behalf to represent you in the courtroom. Providing advice before the case, translating and constructing your viewpoint into a legal case, and then transforming it into a persuasive argument to ensure your case is successful.
Do I need a barrister to represent me in court?
No. While a barrister is the most common type of person to represent you in a courtroom, your solicitor is also qualified to represent you as well.
However, when it comes to a barrister vs solicitor, your solicitor will most likely advise you to accept the use of a barrister.
Of course, there’s a high chance your case won’t go to court to begin with. In which case, you don’t need to worry about choosing a barrister vs solicitor as barristers are only required for the courtroom.
What’s the difference between a QC and barrister?
While deciding whether to choose between a barrister vs solicitor vs lawyer, you might also have heard the term QC used.
QC stands for Queen’s Counsel, but it’s not as regal as it sounds. Anyone who is a member of the Queen’s Council is a barrister with at least 10 years of experience. They have been through a rigorous interview process to be granted this position and are widely considered the best in their chosen fields of law.
Barristers of this rank are allowed to wear the traditional silk gowns and distinctive wigs often associated with lawyers and hold seniority over other barristers when it comes to a case. If your claim is a particularly complex one, such as a fatal accident claim, there is a high potential that your case could be handled by a barrister of the Queen’s Counsel.
Barrister vs solicitor vs lawyer – which should you choose?
In the unfortunate case that you find yourself in a position of making a compensation claim, we suggest you always hire a lawyer, specifically a solicitor. You won’t need a barrister unless your case goes to court, and hopefully, this won’t be the case.
Here at The Compensation Experts, we work with experienced solicitors in all areas of law. If you’ve suffered a personal injury that wasn’t your fault, get in touch when you’re ready and we’ll put you in touch with a solicitor that matches your specific case and circumstances.
They’ll walk you through the legal process, help you estimate how much you could claim, and answer any questions you may have. They may even be able to offer you a no win, no fee claim*, meaning you won’t have to pay a penny in the unlikely case your claim is unsuccessful.