Duhaime's Law Dictionary

Solicitor Definition:

A lawyer that restricts his or her practice to the giving of legal advice and preparation of formal legal documents, and does not normally litigate.

Related Terms: Lawyer, Advocate, Barrister, Attorney, Notary, Pleader

In England and some other Commonwealth jurisdictions, a legal distinction is made between solicitors and barristers, the former with exclusive privileges of giving oral or written legal advice, and the latter with exclusive privileges of preparing and conducting litigation in the courts.

In other words, solicitors don’t appear in court on a client’s behalf and barristers don’t give legal advice to clients.

In England, barristers and solicitors work as a team: the solicitor would typically make the first contact with a client and if the issue cannot be resolved and proceeds to trial, the solicitor would transfer the case to a barrister for the duration of the litigation.

solicitor business cardLawyers in some states, such as Canada, sometimes use the title "barrister and solicitor" (see picture) even though, contrary to England, there is no legal distinction between the advising and litigating roles.

Canadian lawyers can litigate or give legal advice (as is the case in the USA, where lawyers are referred to as "attorneys").

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