Candidate Tips

What is the difference between a lawyer and a solicitor?

Colby Robinson

Principal Consultant | Legal

Jul 25, 2022

Essentially a lawyer and a solicitor mean the same thing. A lawyer is a term used to describe anyone who is licensed and can give legal advice to a business, organisation, or individual.

What is a lawyer?

A lawyer is an umbrella term used to describe a person who is a Licensed Legal Practitioner. Lawyers can give legal advice or represent clients in court. This includes solicitors, barristers, and chartered legal executives. It’s a commonly used term here in the UK and is often used interchangeably with the term solicitor but essentially means the same thing.

What is a solicitor?

A solicitor is someone who provides legal support, advice, and representation in a variety of matters such as criminal law, business law, family law, and property law to the client. Solicitors usually deal with the paperwork and communications that are involved with the client's case. They ensure the accuracy of all procedures and give legal advice, while also preparing paperwork for court when necessary.

Solicitors can represent a client in court, but more often they will turn to a barrister to represent their client in court.

What is a barrister?

A barrister is usually hired by a solicitor and is a specialist in advocating for their clients in court. They are highly skilled in presenting persuasive arguments and will delve into the client’s character and behaviour in order to present the best possible case in favour of the client. Going beyond the client, they can examine all the evidence and cross-examine witnesses in court.

In some cases, they might be hired by a legal firm to provide expert advice and representation for clients and can even be brought in on an ad hoc basis to help advise on the strategy for client cases, whether that be to fight the case or seek a settlement.

Other types of lawyers

There are a number of other lawyers who go by different names based on their experience and ability to represent in different courts. Not all lawyers are able to represent clients in all courts, for example, for very serious cases like murder, the client might need to go to the Crown Courts, therefore they would need a lawyer who has the power to represent them there.

Why pursue a career in law?

“The two reasons to get into Law are knowing your legal rights and the skills you’ll learn. If you know your fundamental rights you are in a position to assess and assert your legal rights. You can use the skill set you acquire in law to deal with issues and problems, regardless if it’s a work matter or private matter. You learn diplomacy.”

Jatin Ghedia, Solicitor

Are you a legal professional looking for a new job, or an organisation looking to fill a legal role? Get in touch.

Oyster Partnership’s Legal team specialises in supplying Public and Private Sector organisations with experienced professionals looking for permanent, contract, and temporary roles. We cover all aspects of law, from contentious to non-contentious and commercial to childcare. Get in touch by dropping us an email to or by calling the office on 020 7766 9000 and asking for the Legal team.

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Principal Consultant | Legal

Colby Robinson

She’s incredibly personable and communicates well and with honesty. She knows her clients and candidates back to front, so she always knows who to call. Not to mention, her life motto is positive things happen to positive people, and she applies that everyday at work without fail.

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