- Usually have a University degree but not necessaily in Law. Any other degree has to be followed by the GDL (Graduate Diploma in Law), a 1 year full time course or 2 years part time
- After the law degree or GDL, those wanting to become solicitors take the LPC (Legal Practice Course) and then take a 2 year training contract with a solicitors firm during which they must complete a 20 day professional skills course
- Solicitors then entered onto the rolls of the Law Society and are entitiled to practice as solicitors. After qualifying, solicitors still have to undertake various training courses throughout their career
- Most of the work of a solicitor invovles giving legal advice to clients and carrying out administrative tasks, including conveyancing (dealing with the legal requirements of buying and selling property) and proabate (drafting wills and acting as executors for the estates of deceased persons)
- Solicitors can act as advocates and represent clients in both Magistrates and County Courts, in which they have 'rights of audience'. The opporunity to obtain rights of audience in the higher courts ( Crown and High Court, and appellate Courts) was first made possible by the Courts and Legal Services Act 1990, and was extended in the Access to Justice Act 1999
- For rights of audience, solicitors have to qualify as solicitor-advocates. There are currently over 2,000 solicitor-advocates (out of a total number of 86,000 solicitors)
- Solicitors actually do more advocacy work than Barristers, since 97% of all criminal cases are tried in Magistrates' Courts, where both the prosecuting and the defending lawyer are solicitors.
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