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Lawyer or Solicitor – That Is The Question!

Man in suit behind screen showing various law terms like lawyer and solicitor

If you find yourself in a situation where the statement “I need to talk to my lawyer” arises, have you ever found yourself wondering whether it really is a lawyer you need, or perhaps a solicitor, barrister, or an attorney?

Throughout Queensland, the terms “Lawyer” and “Solicitor” are often used interchangeably, but there is a difference between these terms.

What is the difference between a Lawyer and a Solicitor?

A Solicitor can provide legal advice and prepares legal documents on behalf of their clients. Solicitors can also represent clients in some courts and tribunals, like the Magistrates Court, however higher Courts, such as the Supreme Court requires additional support of a Barrister.

Barristers, on the other hand, are legal professionals who specialise in advocacy and typically engaged by Solicitors to represent clients in higher courts or with more complex legal matters.

While both Solicitors and Barristers have separate but equal roles within the judiciary system, they can both be referred to as Lawyers. The main difference is that Solicitors play a more generalist role, covering a multitude of areas, whereas a Barrister provides a specialist advocacy service. But the title “lawyer” is a broader term that encompasses both roles.

So, what is an Attorney?

In Queensland, or Australia for that fact, the term “attorney” is not commonly used. It is more accurately used as a reference for the Attorney General’s office, or “Power of attorney” which refers to a person who is authorised to act on the behalf of another person in legal matters. Thanks to Hollywood, this has become a common reference, but is more often used in America.

So while the terms “Solicitor” and “Lawyer” can be used interchangeably, a Solicitor provides legal advice, prepares legal documents and represents clients in court, while a Lawyer is just a general reference to both Solicitors and Barristers.

When seeking legal assistance, it is important to understand the specific services that each type of legal practitioner can provide. Whether you need help with conveyancing, wills and estates, or representation in court, choosing the right type of legal practitioner can make a significant difference in the outcome of your case. At Marino Lawyers, you can ask us anything, at any time.

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