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THE LEGAL PROFESSION IN ENGLAND. Unit 6. What can lawyers do for their clients ?. Preview. Branches of the legal profession Solicitors : type of work Solicitors ’ professional organisation Solicitors ’ training Barristers : type of work Barristers ’ professional organisation

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What can lawyers do for their clients
Whatcanlawyers do for theirclients?


  • Branchesofthe legal profession

  • Solicitors: typeof work

  • Solicitors’ professional organisation

  • Solicitors’ training

  • Barristers: typeof work

  • Barristers’ professional organisation

  • Barristers’ training

  • Advantagesanddisadvantagesof a split profession

  • Historicaloverview

  • Legal terms

Branches of the legal profession
Branches of the legal profession

  • Solicitors

  • Barristers


  • Provide members of the public – their clients – with skilled advice and representation in all legal matters


  • Anyone who needs legal advice or have legal work done will go to a solicitor’s office and tell them what he requires – this is called giving a solicitor instructions


  • Work on their own, or as partners with other solicitors

  • A solicitor’s practice: firm of solicitors

Type of work
Type of work

  • Litigation: preparing cases to be tried in the civil or criminal courts

  • Commercial: legal advice in the field of business, drawing up contracts

  • Conveyancing: making all the legal arrangements for the buying and selling of land, houses, etc.

Type of work1
Type of work

  • Employment: assistingemployeesandemployersincasesinvolvingallegationsofunfairdismissal, or claims for redundancypayments

  • Family: divorce, child care

Type of work2
Type of work

  • Immigration: representing foreign nationals, or those without any national status, who are claiming asylum, or permission to stay or work

  • Licencing: arranging to apply for licences

  • Probate: making wills for clients and making sure their wishes are carried out

Type of work3
Type of work

  • At one time, most solicitors – general practitioners who would refer to experts in particular fields of law

  • ‘family solicitor’

  • Today: many solicitors specialise in only one or two fields of law

Type of work4
Type of work

  • Legal advisors

  • Also: provide detailed records of a case

Type of work5
Type of work

  • The public comes into contact with solicitors more than any other people who work in the law; this gives them a unique insight into how decisions of the courts are made

Legal advice
Legal advice

  • Solicitors must be able to explain what the law is and how a particular set of circumstances is affected by the law

  • Good knowledge of the law and sound common sense


  • Solicitors must create or organise a record of what happens in a case, so that the case may be understood by barristers and judges


  • The recording process starts when the solicitor first meets the client

  • Solicitor provides the client with information about what can and cannot be done, and how much it will cost


  • Keeping note of all important meetings and telephone conversations relating to the case

  • Organising all case documents (essential when handling clients’ property and money)

Family or high street solicitor
Family or ‘High Street’ Solicitor

  • ‘on call’ to dealwithalmosteveryaspectof legal life

  • Individualclients (crime, personal injuryclaims, familymatters, employmentandsocialsecurityproblems)

  • Otherclients: estateagents, bank managers, accountants


  • Solicitors often appear in court as advocates, ‘pleading the causes’ of their clients

  • Solicitors present cases in the lower courts: magistrates’ courts and the county courts

Solicitor advocates
Solicitor advocates

  • Allowed to appear in the Crown Court and High Court

Solicitors and barristers
Solicitors and barristers

  • Solicitors have direct contact with their clients, barristers do not

  • The solicitor’s relationship with a client – more personal

Solicitors and barristers1
Solicitors and barristers

  • A client who needs the services of a barrister must go first to a solicitor, who will instruct, or brief the barrister

  • The solicitor will choose the barrister who is right for the case, and help prepare the case for court

The law society
The Law Society

  • The professional bodythatgovernsthesolicitors’ branchofthe legal profession

  • Responsible for thetrainingofsolicitors

The law society1
The Law Society

  • Solicitors - ‘admitted to theRolls’, whichmeanstheirnameswillbeentered on theroll (list) ofsolicitorspermitted to practise

  • They must have a practisingcertificateissuedbytheLawSociety

  • Cc. 97,300 solicitors

The law society2
The Law Society

  • Makes rules as to how solicitors should look after their clients

  • Carries out spot-checks and audits

  • Disciplinary powers


  • A lawdegree – notessential

  • A student who doesnotgraduateinlawtakes a conversioncourseconversion course, alsocalled theGraduate Diploma inLaw(GDL/CPE)

  • 1 year (full time) or 2 years (part-time)

Training of solicitors

  • Legal PracticeCourse (LPC), or Postgraduate Diploma in Legal Practice  : 1 year (fullcourse) or 2 years (part-time);

  • aim: to equiptraineesolicitorswiththeknowledgeandskillsto work in a solicitor’s office;

  • course-work, practicalskills, writtenexaminations


  • Training contracts involve work in a solicitor’s office

  • Trainees handle their own cases, see clients, and carry out the responsibilities of a solicitor under supervision;


  • Professional skillscourse: subjectssuch as accounting, professional conduct, advocacy

  • Compulsory modules: Criminal Litigation, Business Law and Practice,PropertyLaw and Practice, and Civil litigation

  • Electivemodules: personal injury,familylaw, employmentlaw, housing law, immigration law, probate, commerciallaw, welfare law and commercialpropertylaw


  • Barrister-at-Law; also known as counsel


  • Whentheyqualifythey are ‘called to the Bar’

  • datesfromthedayswheneachcourtroomwasfittedwith a bar dividingtheareausedbythe court fromthe general public. Onlybarristerswereallowed to stepuptothe bar to pleadtheirclients’ cases


  • Litigation or ‘courtroom lawyers’ who actually conduct cases in court

  • Rights of audience (rights to appear) in any court (Crown Court, Hight Court, courts of appeal)


  • Mostly specialise in just one or two aspects of litigation (only criminal cases, or one or more of the many types of civil case)

  • Some: spend their professional lives advising, and writing opinions at the request of solicitors in cases that involve difficult and complicated areas of the law


  • Clients who need to go to court cannot see a barrister directly;

  • they can only arrange to be represented by a barrister or to take his advice by first going to a solicitor;

  • the solicitor will then instruct or brief the barrister to help the client


  • Unlike solicitors, barristers cannot work in partnerships

  • Self-employed

  • In-house lawyers


  • Share offices known as barristers’ chambers, and have their work organised by the same manager, who is called a barrister’s clerk

Barrister s clerk
Barrister’s clerk

  • Arranges court appearances and meetings between clients, solicitors, and barristers (conferences)

  • Negotiates barristers’ fees

Inns of court
Inns of Court

  • Gray’s Inn (1370)

  • Lincoln’s Inn (1422)

  • Inner Temple (1440)

  • Middle Temple (1404)

Gray s inn
Gray’s Inn

Inns of court1
Inns of Court

  • Inorder to become a barrister, students must pass all thenecessarylawexams;

  • they must alsoattend ‘qualifyingsessions’ whichinclude ‘dininginHall’ andothereducationalactivities

Dining in hall
Dining in Hall

  • Eating a number of dinners in the Great Hall of an Inn of Court

  • Dates from the days when students received their legal education by attending lectures which were given while they were dining in Hall

Inns of court2
Inns of Court

  • Each Inn has its own hall, common rooms, library, and church

  • It is run by a number of Masters of the Bench, or benchers (senior barristers and judges who belong to the Inn, who are elected to govern it)

Inns of court3
Inns of Court

  • For centuries, the training institutions and professional societies for barristers

Call to the bar
Call to the Bar

  • The ceremony that takes place in the Hall, at which newly qualified barristers are formally admitted and welcomed into the profession

  • When barristers first qualify they are known as ‘junior counsel’

Queen s counsel
Queen’s Counsel

  • After some years of experience, a junior counsel who produces work of a high standard, may be appointed by the Lord Chancellor to be ‘One of Her Majesty’s Counsel Learned in the Law’ : Queen’s Counsel (QC)

  • Becoming a QC: taking silk


  • 2004: 14,364 practising barristers in England and Wales, of whom 1,239 QCs

Type of work6
Type of work

  • Advocacy – work in court

  • The art of advocacy – the art of persuasion

Principles of advocacy
Principles of advocacy

  • ‘A practising barrister must promote and protect fearlessly and by all proper and lawful means his client’s best interests without regard to his own interests or to any consequences to himself or to any other person’ (Barrister’s Code of Conduct)


  • Academicqualifications, practicaltraining

  • Attendingthe Bar Professional TrainingCourse: one year full time or two years part time

  • BPTC aims to give students the skills and required for a career at the Bar: advocacy, role-playing, exercises in drafting legal documents and writing opinions.

Course content

  • Case work skills: Case preparation, Legal research

  • Written Skills:Opinion-writing (giving written advice on cases), Drafting (writing various types of documents required for litigation)

  • Interpersonal skills: Conference skills (interviewing clients), Negotiation, Advocacy (court or tribunal appearances)

  • Legal knowledge:Civil litigation and remedies, Criminal litigation and sentencing, Evidence, Professional ethics


  • Apprenticeship with an experienced barrister in a set of barristers’ chambers

  • 6 months with one ‘pupil master’ and 6 with another, in order to gain a wider experience


  • During the first six months a young barrister is not allowed to appear in court on his own

  • During the second six months he may do so in ‘appropriate cases’ (less serious cases)


  • After completing a pupillage, the new barrister can apply to become a tenant in a set of chambers

  • Very difficult to be accepted


  • If accepted, the new tenant will use the chambers as a base, and will be ‘clerked’ from them

  • Tenants have to make a contribution towards the expenses of running the chambers

Bar council
Bar Council

  • The governing body for barristers

  • Issues a code of conduct to which all barristers are obliged to adhere

  • Regulates activities of barristers,

  • maintains standards within the Bar

  • Considers complaints against barristers

Training of barristers summary
Trainingofbarristers: summary

  • 1. A lawdegree, e.g. a BachelorofLaws (L.L.B.)

  • or conversioncourseknown as a postgraduateDiploma inLaw, or GDL

  • 2. The student barristerthenapplies to join one oftheInnsof Court to study for theBar Professional TrainingCourse, or BPTC

  • 3. Pupillage


  • Having an independent barrister reviewing a course of action gives the client a fresh and independent opinion from an expert in the field.

  • A barrister acts as a check on the solicitor conducting the trial; if it becomes apparent that the claim or defence has not been properly conducted by the solicitor prior to trial, the barrister can (and usually has a duty to) advise the client of a separate possible claim against the solicitor.

  • Having trials conducted by experienced specialist advocates makes for smoother,more professionally run trials.


  • A multiplicity of legal advisers leads to higher costs

  • As barristers are dependent upon solicitors for referrals of work, it is open to questionhow willing barristers are to criticise those who instruct them to the client.

  • Barristers are sometimes criticised for being "over-specialised" and not having sufficient general expertise outside of what can be highly specialised fields.

Historical development the emergence of barristers
Historical development: The emergence of barristers

  • England saw the very early emergence of a centralised system of justice within the Royal Court

  • Common law courts supplanted local courts

  • A legal profession operating in the central courts – 13th century

Factors facilitating the development of the legal profession
Factors facilitating the development of the legal profession

  • The language of the court – Norman French

  • Geography – impossible to make all the necessary journeys from a litigant’s local estates to the Royal Court

  • Litigants required persons who could speak for them in court and attorneys for procedural purposes who could act on their behalf in their absence

Emergence of barristers
Emergence of barristers

  • In late 13th c. The Common Bench judges decided who they would permit to appear as advocates – these persons began to form an elite which stood apart from other legal practitioners

  • 14th c. they organised into a guild known as “order of serjeants at law”

  • Admission to the guild – conducted by the judges of the Common Bench

Education of barristers
Education of barristers

  • 13th c. – legal education available; texts of lectures and disputations survive

  • 1280s students referred to as “apprentices of the bench”

  • 14th c. apprentices began to live around the area of the four Inns of Court

  • 15th c. The Inns of Court – collegiate establishments (the “Third University of England”)

The emergence of solicitors
The emergence of solicitors

  • 15th c. solicitors – persons who helped clients through the legal labyrinth, instructing counsel on their behalf

  • In 16th c. solicitors were young barristers

  • Sufficient advocacy work to occupy the Bar, leaving preliminary interviews with clients and procedural matters to solicitors

Further developments
Further Developments

  • 17th c. – division of responsibility between solicitor and barrister

  • Rules preventing barristers from undertaking the work of solicitors and excluding solicitors from the Inns of Court

Status of solicitors
Status of solicitors

  • 17th and 18th c. status of solicitors increased – legal advisors of the wealthy

  • 1804 conveyancing monopoly

  • 19th c. probate, divorce and Admiralty work

  • Rights of audience in County Courts (set up in 1846)

Training summary
Training: summary

Role summary
Role: Summary

Advocacy rights summary
Advocacyrights: summary

Legal terms
Legal terms

  • Barrister

  • odvjetnik s pravom zastupanja pred svim sudovima

  • Solicitor

  • odvjetnik s pravom zastupanja pred nižim sudovima

Legal terms1
Legal terms

  • Instructions

  • Detailsofthecasegivenby a client to a solicitor, or by a solicitor to a barrister

Legal terms2
Legal terms

  • Client

  • A person who pays for a service carried out by a professional person such as a solicitor

  • A person who employs a solicitor to carry out legal business on his behalf; a solicitor’s client cannot consult a barrister directly but only through his solicitor; the solicitor is therefore the barrister’s client

Legal terms3
Legal terms

  • Estate:

  • all the property that is owned by a person, especially a person who has recently died

  • Ostavinska masa, ostavina

  • Conveyancing:

  • drawing up a document which legally transfers property from a seller to a buyer

  • Sastavljanje dokumenta o prijenosu vlasništva

Legal terms4
Legal terms

  • Brief:

  • details of a client’s case, prepared by a solicitor and given to the barrister who is going to argue the case in court

  • To brief a barrister

  • to give a barrister all the details of the case which he will argue in court

Legal terms5
Legal terms

  • Defamation:

  • act of injuring someone’s reputation by maliciously saying or writing things about them

  • Negligence:

  • the tort of acting carelessly towards others so as to cause harm, entitling the injured party to claim damages

  • Nehaj, nemar

Legal terms6
Legal terms

  • To sue:

  • to start legal proceedings against someone to get compensation for a wrong

  • Damages:

  • money claimed by a claimant from a defendant as compensation for harm done

  • Liable:

  • legally responsible for something

Legal terms7
Legal terms

  • Pleadings:

  • documents setting out the claim of the claimant or the defence of the defendant, or giving the arguments which the two sides will use in proceedings

  • Iskazi parničkih stranaka, podnesci u građanskom postupku

Exercise legal professionals
Exercise: Legal professionals

  • Below is a list of tasks carried out by solicitors and barristers. Classify them:

  • advising clients on general legal issues, advising clients on specialist legal issues, advising on litigation, advising on tax matters, advocacy in all courts, advocacy in lower courts, commercial work, conveyancing of houses, dealing with commercial transactions, drafting of documents in connection with litigation, making wills, preparing cases, share and other property dealings


  • Advising clients on general legal issues

  • Advising on tax matters

  • Advocacy in lower courts

  • Commercial work

  • Conveyancing of houses

  • Dealing with commercial transactions

  • Making wills

  • Preparing cases

  • Share and other property dealings


  • Advocacy in all courts

  • Advising clients on specialist legal issues

  • Advising on litigation

  • Drafting of documents in connection with litigation

Exercise 2 legal training
Exercise 2: Legal training

  • Legal training for solicitors (who provide general legal advice to clients) and barristers (who present cases in the upper courts) is different. The following texts describe the stages in legal training, but they are mixed up. Put the steps into the correct category (Training for solicitors/Training for barristers) and order:

Exercise 2
Exercise 2


  • The next stage is to obtrain a ‘tenancy’: becoming an assistant to a practising barrister.


  • The next step is to acquire some legal traiing specific to the work of a barrister.


  • Next the intending solicitor has to enter a two-year training contract with a firm of solicitors to gain practical experience in a variety of areas of law.

Exercise 21
Exercise 2


  • This is the ‘apprenticeship’ served by trainee barristers, who are known as pupils. It usually takes a year and consists of a mixture of assisting and observing experienced barristers, as well as more practical experience.


  • The quickest and most common route to qualification is by means of a qualifying law degree.

Exercise 22
Exercise 2


  • You will have to undertake the Legal Practice Course, which is the professional training for solicitors. The course teaches the practical application of the law to the needs of clients.


  • The first part of training to become a barrister is known as the academic stage, which provides a general theoretical introduction to the law.

Exercise 23
Exercise 2

  • Training for solicitors

  • 5, 6, 3

  • Training for barristers

  • 7, 2, 4, 1

Exercise 4
Exercise 4

  • Match the two parts of the definitions:

  • 1. Someone who works for his or herself is

  • 2. If you speak on behalf of clients in court, you

  • 3. Non-professional clients are known as

  • 4. Barristers working solely for a company are called

  • 5. The governing authorities of barristers are

  • 6. When a solicitor gives a barrister the details of a case, the barrister is

  • 7. When you work as a barrister you

Exercise 41
Exercise 4

  • A) provide representation

  • B) lay clients

  • C) Self-employed/ a sole trader

  • D) instructed

  • E) in-house counsel

  • F) practise at the Bar

  • G) the Bar Council and the Inns of Court

The legal profession in england

  • 1c

  • 2a

  • 3b

  • 4e

  • 5g

  • 6d

  • 7f

Exercise 5
Exercise 5

  • Completetheextractsfrom a traineebarristerdescribing her professional life usingthefollowing: advocacy, Bar VocationalCourse, chambers, conversioncourse, document/pleading/opinion, exerciserightsofaudience, pupillage, pupilmaster, senior barrister, shadow

The legal profession in england

advocacy, Bar VocationalCourse, chambers, conversioncourse, document/pleading/opinion, exerciserightsofaudience, pupillage, pupilmaster, senior barrister, shadow

  • I took a first degreeinModernHistory, thendidthe ____ ____ inlaw at City University, whichwasmuchharder. I thendidthe ____ _____ _____ at theInnsof Court SchoolofLaw.

  • Most days I’d expect to bepresentin ____fromabout 8.45 am to 7.00pm, workingalmostthroughoutinmy ____ _____’s room. Duringthat time I ____his professional life completely.

The legal profession in england

advocacy, Bar VocationalCourse, chambers, conversioncourse, document/pleading/opinion, exerciserightsofaudience, pupillage, pupilmaster, senior barrister, shadow

  • I generally look at paperswhenthey first comein. I’m expected to beabletosuggest how thecasemightbeapproached. In a week I mightdraft a___, prepare notes for a conferencewithclients, comment on draftwitnessstatements, andresearch legal points.

  • Although all ___ are for twelvemonths, iftheythinkyouhave no prospectoffinding a ____inthechambers, aftersixmonthsyouwouldbetolddiscreetly.

The legal profession in england

advocacy, Bar VocationalCourse, chambers, conversioncourse, document/pleading/opinion, exerciserightsofaudience, pupillage, pupilmaster, senior barrister, shadow

  • Chambersruns ___trainingevenings to reducethelossofopportunityto ____

  • ____ _____ _____ in court.

  • When I’ve prectised for more than ten years, I’d beinterestedinbeingappointed as a _____ ______, withaspecialistareasuch as employmentlaw.

The legal profession in england

  • I took a first degree in Modern History, then did the conversion course in law at City University, which was much harder. I then did the Bar Vocational Course at the Inns of Court Schoold of Law. Most days I’d expect to be present in chambers from about 8.45 am to 7.00pm, working almost throughout in my pupil master’s room. During that time I shadow his professional life completely.

The legal profession in england

  • I generally look at papers when they first come in. I’m expected to be able to suggest how the case might be approached. In a week I might draft a pleading/opinion/document, prepare notes for a conference with clients, comment on draft witness statements, and research legal points.

The legal profession in england

  • Although all pupillages are for twelve months, if they think you have no prospect of finding a tenancy in the chambers, after six months you would be told discreetly. Chambers runs advocacy training evenings to reduce the loss of opportunity to exercise rights of audience in court.

The legal profession in england

  • When I’ve practised for more than ten years, I’d be interested in being appointed as a senior barrister, with a specialist area such as employment law.

Additional information
Additional information

  • Barristers:


  • Solicitors:


  • International professional organisations