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Solicitors are usually the first port of call for clients seeking advice or representation in a legal matter. Solicitors will weigh up the claim made and decide whether or not to pursue it. Knowledge of the law and good judgement are essential.
It should be noted that many cases never make it to court, in some cases a ‘good’ result for both client and solicitor.
Solicitors deal directly with clients, providing advice based on extensive knowledge of the law and assisting in any number of broad legal issues. These issues can range from the everyday: buying and selling houses; drawing up wills or divorce papers to the more complex, such as promoting businesses or protecting individual rights.
The majority of cases are dealt with and assessed in the lower courts (magistrates, county and tribunals). If the matter is serious or complex solicitors may enter the higher courts (crown, high and court of appeal). It is important to note that not all solicitors are legally able to speak in the higher courts. Barristers have this right though some solicitors with special training may be able to represent their clients personally. As solicitors, interaction with clients and barristers requires phenomenal people skills and the ability to critically and legally analyse whilst remaining ‘fair’. Do not be fooled: this is a highly competitive field of employment that requires hard work, long hours and substantial expenditure to become viable.
Currently there are about 100,000 solicitors in the United Kingdom. There are five major areas in which solicitors practice which can be explored by following the links below.
Measured by turnover, the top five companies are known as ‘The Magic Circle’. These account for just under 35% of turnover of the top 200 companies and are all based in London. Whilst these companies are obviously the most attractive to apply and work for they are understandably the most competitive to get into.