A solicitor is a qualified legal professional who provides clients with expert legal advice in a specific area of expertise. Solicitors serve as the first legal professionals that clients go to when they are involved in a legal dispute or when they need the services of a professional who is well-versed in matters of the law.
What is the Role of a Solicitor?
Solicitors offer clients legal advice on a variety of matters both litigious and non-litigious. In the case of litigious or contentious legal matters, they can play the role of mediators and arbitrators as well as prepare the necessary legal documents to be used for trial, and coordinate with other legal professionals.
In the case of non-litigious matters, they can draft legal documents for clients, oversee the implementation of contracts and agreements, as well as assist clients to interpret other complex legal matters relating to their businesses or organizations. Note that the clients served by solicitors can be individuals, businesses, or large organizations.
Solicitors can therefore work in a law firm or a commercial organization to handle their legal affairs professionally.
What Does a Solicitor Do?
Solicitors play a very vital role in the justice system. The following are some of the tasks that are conduct on a day-to-day basis;
- Upon being approached by a client, solicitors undertake the preparatory steps for a case. They speak with the client to accurately establish all the facts of the case and determine the validity of the suits. After understanding clients’ cases, solicitors then begin drafting the requisite paperwork to officially document client cases.
- Solicitors aid in the collection of all evidence and information that can be useful in the development of a client’s case. They do this to ensure that they can build a compelling case for their clients with foolproof evidence to back and validate their claims in the event the case proceeds to court.
- Solicitors conduct thorough analysis of the facts of a case and its legal implications. After sufficiently understanding the cases, they then provide the clients with expert legal advice and recommend the legal steps that can be taken to resolve the issue. They help clients to clearly understand
- If in any case the assistance of a legal professional with expertise in a specific area of law to represent a client in court is required, solicitors are the ones who go to enlist the services of barristers. Having audience in all courts, a barrister then works under the direction of the solicitor to offer a client expert representation in court.
- Solicitors extensively research complex cases and legislation in order to offer expert interpretation of the same. They also draft legal documents for their clients including purchase agreements, partnership agreements, articles of incorporation, confidentiality agreements, deeds of trust, and corporate bylaws.
- For certain cases like personal injury lawsuits in which one party is required to pay damages to another, solicitors also come in handy. This is because they do the necessary research and then evaluate and estimate the amount of compensation that a victim is entitled to depending on the damages suffered and the extent of liability by the offender.
- Not all complaints presented by clients proceed to court. For instance, in the case of personal injury cases where a victim should be compensated, the parties involved often settle the matter out of court. Therefore, on behalf of their clients, solicitors negotiate with liable parties e.g, insurance companies to come up with the most suitable amount of compensation to be paid.
Do Solicitors Appear in Court?
The main responsibility of a solicitor is to offer clients expert legal advice and to help them choose the best course of legal actions that suit their unique circumstances. They analyze cases, prepare legal paperwork, facilitate negotiations, and offer provide professional guidance.
However, when it comes to the matter of representing clients in court, solicitors do not regularly appear in court to represent clients. This is because while they are considered officers of the court, when they appear in court to represent clients it is often in lower courts.
Rather, solicitors handle all the processes at the preparatory stage of cases but then when it comes to appearing in court, they usually contract barristers who are specialized in a given area of law to represent their clients. These barristers work under the direction of solicitors to ensure that the clients get favourable legal outcomes in trials.
What is the Difference between a Lawyer and a Solicitor?
Both “lawyer” and “solicitor” are terms used to describe professionals in the legal field. And while one may be persuaded otherwise, the difference between the two terms is very slight. This is because a solicitor is essentially a legal professional who advises clients and offers them guidance on the best legal course of action to take concerning their cases.
On the other hand, a lawyer is basically any legal practitioner who is licensed to practice law and provide professional legal services Therefore, it should be noted that the term “lawyer” is used generically to describe legal practitioners of all types from solicitors to barristers and chartered legal executives. It is simply an umbrella term that is used popularly among the general population that does is not privy to the intricacies of law.
What makes Proficient Legal Representation ?
Being tasked with the responsibility of giving clients accurate and reliable legal advice to inform their decisions, solicitors play a very crucial role in the legal world. Therefore, it is crucial that solicitors possess all the requisite skills and qualities that can help assure their clients of positive legal outcomes.
The following are skills and qualities a solicitor should possess;
- Excellent communication; In order for a solicitor to effectively offer clients accurate legal advice, they must be great communicators. They must be able to clearly express their arguments both verbally and in writing.
That way, the legal documents they prepare can be easily comprehensible and their submissions in court compelling enough to guarantee clients a favourable outcome. Effective communication also enables solicitors to convey complex legal information in a way that clients without any legal background can comprehend.
- Apt negotiation skills; A great solicitor must be an apt negotiator. This is because solicitors have to negotiate with various parties in order to arrive at outcomes that are desirable to their clients.
Therefore, whether a solicitor is trying to get a client fair compensation for damages from an insurance company or whether they are trying to reach a middle ground with an opposing counsel, being a skilled negotiator will help to ensure that the solicitor gets the best possible terms for their client.
- Proficiency in research; For a solicitor to offer clients quality legal advice that can eventually get them positive results, the solicitor must be a good researcher. That way, they can extensively research complex legal matters and come up with accurate conclusions.
Being proficient in research enables a solicitor to be more knowledgeable thus able to make sufficiently informed decisions when trying to advice clients on the best course of action to take. Finally, solicitors also make more compelling legal arguments if they are able to effectively research on similar legal matters. You can also find more information on the Law Society website.
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