What is the role of a solicitor in the UK?

As a solicitor, you will provide specialized legal support and advice to support individuals and businesses on personal and business issues. Solicitors learn about clients' instructions and their issues and then advise them on the necessary legal remedies. Clients can be individuals, groups, public sector organizations or private companies.

Depending on your area of ‚Äč‚Äčexpertise, you can advise your clients in different aspects:

  • personal issues: real estate law (buying and selling residential properties, landlord and tenant contracts), family law (wills and probate, divorce and family matters), civil law, criminal law, personal injury compensation and criminal litigation, etc.
  • business issues: business creation assistance, advising on complex business transactions (including mergers and acquisitions) and commercial litigation.
  • protection of rights: ensuring that individuals receive compensation if they are treated unfairly by public or private bodies.

Solicitors can practice in private practice, in-house for commercial or industrial organizations, in local or central government or in the court service. 

The missions then vary depending on the environment, your specialty and the nature of the case.

You decide to devote some of your time to helping clients who cannot afford legal services for free. This is called pro bono work.

Different types of law

Solicitors can specialize in many areas of practice which will determine the type of business you can consider working in after graduation. 

The main areas of law include European law related to the European Union (EU), constitutional law, contract law, criminal law, land, public law and tort law, but they are by no means case the only possible options.

You can also specialise in a range of areas of law, including banking, commercial, construction, employment, equity and trusts, family, human rights, intellectual property shipping, sports or tax.

Solicitor's missions 

As a solicitor, regardless of your specialization, you will need to meet and interview clients to ensure that your company is able to provide the necessary advice and services, depending on its specialization and the likely cost, take the instructions from the lawyer. client, advising on the law and legal issues related to his case, drafting documents, letters and contracts tailored to the client's individual needs, negotiating with clients and other professionals to achieve agreed goals, researching and analyzing documents and case law to ensure the accuracy of the advice given and the procedure, oversee the implementation of agreements, coordinate the work of all parties involved, act on behalf of clients in disputes and represent them in court, if necessary, know how to work in a team and sometimes refer cases to the department head or supervise and delegate the work to lawyers stagiaries, paralegals and legal secretaries.

You should also not minimize the time taken by administrative tasks, eg. complete timesheets so that labor costs can be calculated and bill clients for work performed on their behalf as well as time spent keeping up to date with new laws in force by reading legal journals and reports.

What salary can a solicitor claim?

Starting salaries for qualified solicitors in a firm range from around £ 25,000 to £ 40,000 in small and medium-sized businesses. In large companies, the average starting salary is more between £ 58,000 to £ 65,000.

Experienced solicitors can also see their salaries vary greatly depending on their area of expertise but also on their function. The average salary for a managerial position in a commercial company is between around £ 60,000 and over £ 90,000 while partners in large companies or heads of in-house legal departments can earn over £ 100,000. In addition, the partners will receive, in addition to their salary, a share of the company's profits. Additional benefits may include a bonus, private health and dental insurance, a subsidized gym, and childcare.

Qualifications to become a solicitor

Changes are being made to the qualification of solicitors in England and Wales starting in the fall of 2021. From autumn 2021 you will need to:

  • have a diploma (in any subject) or an equivalent qualification (such as an apprenticeship diploma)
  • pass step 1 of the SQE with an emphasis on legal knowledge
  • have a long working experience
  • pass step 2 of the SQE with a focus on practical legal skills
  • meet the character and aptitude requirements of the SRA.

The new SQE should help broaden access to the profession and introduce a more flexible approach to work experience. The SQE structure will no longer require students to register for the LPC, with significant initial costs, without guarantee of a training contract. 

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