The Analysis of Solicitors and Barristers
1) Describe the main differences between solicitors and barristers
with regard to work and training.
2) Discuss the advantages and disadvantages of having a single legal
The legal profession is largely middle class, partly due to the lack
of funding for professional courses.
In 1999, ethnic minorities formed 8.5% of the Bar and 5% of
solicitors. In 1998 ethnic minorities formed 16% of trainee solicitors
and pupil barristers. Ethnic minority candidates find it more
difficult to obtain training contracts, pupilage and tenancies: 7%
succeeded compared to 45% of white students in 1993. Five QCs out of
69 in April 1999 were from an ethnic minority
Women make up 25% of practicing barristers and 33.9% of practicing
solicitors (as at July 1998). Women earn less than men and men reach
higher positions (LCD Report, Without Prejudice, 1994; and a Law
Society survey, September 1999). Women make up 7% of QCs (as at
October 1998); only nine out of the 69 new QCs in April 1999 were
women. The Law Society and Bar Council have issued policies to prevent
When people need legal advice, they contact a solicitor. Solicitors
offer skilled advice on all kinds of legal matters, from buying a
house to selling a business. Solicitors can decide whether or not to
take a case. Most solicitors provide general advice and do ‘paper
work’, e.g. writing letters, drafting contracts and tenancies,
conveyancing, wills, divorce petitions.
Solicitors also represent their clients in court, mostly the lower
courts; but some have advocacy rights in the higher courts.
Most solicitors are in private practice. They work in multinational
City firms with hundreds of staff, in high street offices as sole
practitioners, and in firms of every size in between. Other solicitors
have jobs in local government, law centres, the civil service,
commerce and industry.
Solicitors deal with people from a broad cross-section of the
community, and that’s one of the reasons the governing body for
solicitors, the Law Society, promotes equality and diversity in the
Solicitors have been able to be promoted to all levels of the
judiciary since the Courts and Legal Services Act 1990, prior to this
they could only become circuit judges.
Solicitors are required to have a Law degree or any degree and a
Diploma in Law, have completed a Legal Practice Course and a Training
Contract, Professional Skills Course,
and to have had their name added to roll of solicitors.
Subsequently they must complete 16 hours of Continuing Professional
Development per year for three years and 48 hours for each subsequent
three year period.
Complaints were handled by the Solicitors' Complaints Bureau,...