Barrister vs. Solicitor: Understanding the Distinctions Between the Two Roles

Barrister vs. Solicitor: Understanding the Distinctions Between the Two Roles

Aspiring legal professionals often find themselves faced with the decision of whether to pursue a career as a barrister or a solicitor. While these roles are both part of the legal profession, they have distinct differences in terms of responsibilities, training, and areas of practice. In this article, we will delve into the key distinctions between barristers and solicitors to help you gain a better understanding of each role and make an informed decision about your career path.

1. Responsibilities:

Barristers and solicitors have different responsibilities within the legal system. Barristers are primarily courtroom advocates who specialize in providing legal advice, representing clients in court, and presenting arguments on their behalf. They are typically instructed by solicitors or directly by clients for specific cases. Barristers possess exceptional oral advocacy and public speaking skills, as they often appear in court to represent clients.

On the other hand, solicitors have a broader range of responsibilities, including advising clients, drafting legal documents, negotiating settlements, and representing clients throughout the legal process. They build long-term relationships with clients, guiding them through legal issues and providing expert advice on a wide range of matters.

2. Training:

The training paths for becoming a barrister and a solicitor differ significantly. Barristers undergo a more specialized training known as the Bar Professional Training Course (BPTC) after completing their undergraduate studies. This course focuses on advocacy skills, legal research, and ethics. Following the BPTC, aspiring barristers must secure pupillage, a period of practical training under the guidance of an experienced barrister.

On the other hand, solicitors take a more extensive training route by completing the Legal Practice Course (LPC) after their undergraduate studies. The LPC covers a broader range of legal subjects, allowing solicitors to gain a deeper understanding of various areas of law. After completing the LPC, aspiring solicitors must undertake a two-year training contract, during which they gain practical experience by working in a law firm and rotating through different departments.

3. Areas of Practice:

Barristers and solicitors also differ in terms of their areas of practice. Barristers tend to specialize in specific areas of law, such as criminal law, family law, or commercial law. They often handle the more complex and higher-profile cases, providing expert legal advice and representation in court. Barristers are typically instructed by solicitors who require their specialist expertise for particular cases.

Solicitors, on the other hand, have a wider scope of practice. They cover multiple areas of law and often offer more general legal advice to clients. Solicitors provide ongoing assistance to individuals, businesses, and organizations in various legal matters, such as contracts, property transactions, wills and estates, employment law, and more.

4. Collaboration:

Collaboration between barristers and solicitors is an essential aspect of the legal profession. While barristers and solicitors generally work separately, they often collaborate on cases, with solicitors instructing barristers to represent their clients in court. This collaboration ensures that clients receive the most comprehensive and effective legal representation available.


In summary, the distinctions between barristers and solicitors are notable. Barristers focus on courtroom advocacy, specialize in specific areas of law, and have a more streamlined training process. Solicitors, on the other hand, have broader responsibilities, cover multiple areas of law, and undergo a more comprehensive training path. Understanding these differences will enable you to make an informed decision about which legal career path aligns best with your interests and skills.

If you are interested in preparing for the Solicitors Qualifying Examination (SQE) or learning more about the legal profession, we recommend checking out the following related articles:

SQE 1 Practice Exam Questions
SQE 1 Practice Mocks FLK1 FLK2
SQE 2 Preparation Courses
SQE 1 Preparation Courses
SRA SQE Exam Dates

These resources will provide you with valuable insights and guidance as you embark on your legal career journey. Remember, regardless of whether you choose to become a barrister or a solicitor, both roles play integral parts in the overall legal profession, serving to uphold justice and provide expert legal advice to individuals and businesses alike.


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