Lawyer and barrister are both legal practitioners, but they are quite different from each other. While barristers are also known as a type of lawyer, not all lawyers are barristers. We write this article to teach those who don’t know the difference between a lawyer vs. a barrister. Besides, this will help those who want to learn more about the two.
Although the legal profession is an old profession and one of its kind, it is more diverse than many people thought about it. When they hear the word “lawyer,” they think about the courtroom, a suit, and high heels for many people. On the other hand, the word “barrister” brings the images of someone wearing a black dress robe with a white wig. However, beyond the dressings, barristers and lawyers are different, and this difference is more significant in some dominions.
Since barristers and lawyers are both legal advocates that spend many hours in the court than in other places, they are inherently the same. However, in most countries’ general law system, many advocates representing their clients at trial in the courtrooms are barristers. In other words, while a barrister is a type of lawyer, not all lawyers are barristers.
In this article, you will learn about the difference between barristers and lawyers, even though they are both members of the same profession. In addition to the differences, you will learn about how each profession’s definition is related to the jurisdiction they operate in.
See What Differentiates a Lawyer and Barrister
When it comes to the words, lawyer, and barrister, people use them interchangeably without knowing the difference. However, these two words or professions have a huge difference between them. Explicitly, barristers are lawyers who concentrate on advocacy. This means that lawyer is a broader term that covers so many aspects of legal practitioners.
Advocacy means standing in for your customer and “advocating” for their interests. However, advocacy means that you are representing your clients in court, and all lawyers do this. As an advocate, you have to understand every detail about court procedures and etiquette before you can represent your client and the case effectively.
In general, a lawyer is a term used to define someone who has been given legal permission to practice the legal occupation. A lawyer can either be a solicitor or a barrister. To get full permission to practice the legal profession, one must complete a bachelor’s or a post-graduate law degree. In some countries, such a person has to go to law school or finish GDLP (also known as Graduate Diploma of Legal Training).
Although there are generalist lawyers, some lawyers tend to focus on a particular aspect of law. Such people will have to gain experience or focus in such areas of law, and they can offer unparalleled advice. For example, some specialized lawyers are commercial lawyers, criminal lawyers, family lawyers, employment lawyers, property lawyers, construction lawyers, and contract lawyers.
If you are a small business owner and you need legal services, a business lawyer would be the right lawyer to contact. Lawyers like this will be responsible for offering advice on regulatory issues, commencing legal action, drafting contracts, and providing other legal services for the business. On the contrary, a criminal lawyer will be responsible for reviewing charges on a criminal, interpreting police reports, and discussing with the prosecution.
A solicitor is experienced in advising clients, preparing documents, and providing legal solutions to problems. On the other hand, a barrister will be needed only when the case at hand is going to trial.
Whenever there is any legal dispute entering the court system, the solicitor will have to retain the barristers in charge of the matter. Barristers are known as professionals in courtroom advocacy, and they are meant to prepare matters for trial. The dressing code for a barrister when in the courtroom is also a black robe and a white wig.
Like the solicitors, some barristers also have different areas of specialization they are most expert in. For example, a barrister who represents someone at a criminal trial may not be the right barrister to stand for you in a family law matter. They have different areas of specialization, even though they are both barristers.
Due to this, barristers do not work in a law firm but work independently as sole practitioners. They also get paid higher than solicitors. Since they don’t work in the law firm, they work in quarters known as “chambers.” These chambers are a shared space close to the court, and many barristers work together there. They pay a “floor fee” to use the rooms in the chambers.
Barristers ok for work and are mostly retained on behalf of the clients by solicitors. To build their client database, barristers work in expert relationships with law firms and solicitors. Barristers with significant skill and knowledge can become Senior Counsel (SC). The “cab-rank rule” is the barristers’ rule, and it means that they must accept all or any briefs provided it is in line with their area of specialization.
Being Called to the Bar
Before solicitors can become barristers in some jurisdictions, they have to take and pass a series of exams. Such solicitors will have to undergo a year of training and undertake a specialized course in the process, and this is known as “readership.” This training is under the supervision of a skilled barrister. After successful completion of these courses and training, they are “called to bar.”
Lawyers like this engage in litigation, and they advise their clients on the outcome of cases. They are also the ones to draft and review court files and documents. As a Court advocate, a barrister will present their client’s case to the court, conduct court appearances, argue evidence and points of law while observing the witnesses.
Access to the Public
There is a huge difference in the access to the public of a lawyer and a barrister – while people can freely contact and instruct a lawyer, they cannot always do that to a barrister. If the public goes through the Public Access Scheme, they can instruct a barrister for reasonable, straightforward cases. Except for the work funded out of legal aid, public access is accessible to allbarristers’orks. Unfortunately, they are not likely involved in solving children-related cases.
Conventionally, a long black robe and wig are expected of a barrister to put on in court. Although many kinds of barristers are still wearing this type of dress to court, it is unexpected for some barristers again, as the civil practitioners. On the other hand, there is no particular dress code for a solicitor. The smart dress will do the magic in court!
Since both lawyers and barristers are members of the legal profession, they do have a natural overlap in their roles as members. However, they are not the same. While barristers are only important when the matter is going to trial, lawyers are essential in every step before the court, preparing correspondence, claims, and affidavits. Barristers and solicitors are both lawyers but with different roles in the legal process.
Also read Hоw Tо Become A Lаwуеr