Solicitor vs Barrister [Key Differences Guide ]


 Legal professions are complicated to understand and are often misunderstood. People usually do know the terms but sometimes they can’t differentiate between different professions. The same is the case with solicitors and barristers. 

They both are two different types of lawyers with two different jobs. The main difference between a solicitor and a barrister is that the barristers are the practitioners of the encouragement and represent their clients in the court. However, solicitor mostly performs their duties in a law firm or any office. Know that there can be an exemption.

Because the English solicitor can have the “right of the audience” due to which they can represent their client in the court or trial. But despite the fact of getting the rights, the majority of the solicitors choose to work “behind the scenes.”

Also, one of the major differences between solicitors vs. barristers UK & USA is the mode of their jobs. Solicitors are often employed in a basic jobs. In which the employers get their monthly salary with some incentives, sick leave, benefits, or any amenities provided by the firm.

However, barristers choose to be self-employed. As they get affiliated with the chambers they choose themselves with the other barristers. The barristers they are affiliated with are themselves self-employed as well.

Being self-employed they have the power to charge high fees but still, they don’t get leverages like sick leave, etc. So, with the decision to be self-employed comes great uncertainty their way as well. Still, a barrister in England sometimes does get employed by a large firm or large commercial organizations.

All in all, the main difference between solicitors vs. barrister vs. lawyer is the barrister defends their clients in court. The solicitor does all the work required outside the court and the lawyer is someone who practices law.

Key Differences Simplified

  • Solicitor: A solicitor provides expert advice and support to their respective clients. Their clients can be an individual, groups of people, public sector organizations, or private organizations.
  • Barrister: A barrister is someone who gives specialized legal advice. They also represent their clients or organizations in court or tribunal. They can also represent them through legal document advice.


The exact meaning of the word solicitor is “the person who urges”. It originated in the late 15 century from the old French word Solicitour. And the exact meaning of “Solicitour” is the person who takes or fights for the matter on the behalf of others.The meaning of the word barrister is quite obvious which the person who performs advocate in the law is. It primarily originated in 1540 from the word “bar.”

Difference in Duties


The differences in their jobs & responsibilities are as follows.

Solicitor Duties

The job of the solicitor is to note down all the instructions given by the clients and operate accordingly. They also advise their clients on the legal needs of their cases. They make the contracts and draft the compulsory legal documents for every case.

Also, they make sure all the evidence is up to the mark. To do so they also look at the previous cases’ precedents and stay updated on the laws as well. Sometimes by taking the “right of the audience” they also represent their clients in court. They stay in contact with their clients and if required they communicate with the opposite solicitors.

Their main role is to instruct the barrister and guide them about the cases that have reached the court. One of their duties is to supervise the trainees as well. Lastly, on reaching a mutual agreement with their clients they make sure that every part of the contract is being implemented.

Barrister Duties 

The barrister provides expert advice to the solicitor and clients. They research and prepare all the cases thoroughly and also draft legal documents for certain cases if need be. In solicitor vs. barrister, they mostly liaise with other professionals, especially the solicitors.

Barristers directly represent their clients in court and defend them with relevant and strong evidence. They bring the client and the other parties on the same page. Also, they look closely at all the witnesses of their case, analyze the evidence closely, and then come to conclusions.

Solicitor vs Barrister Salary Differences

The solicitor vs. barrister salaries varies because of their respective modes of work and qualification as well.

  • The average salary of the solicitor is somewhat near $77,923 or higher per year in the USA. Making it approximately $6500 per month.
  • The average salary of the barrister can range from $50,000 to $250,000 annually.

Difference in Qualifications of a Solicitor & Barrister

In solicitor vs. barrister, there is a quite difference in the education as well after the completion of LLB. Solicitors are required to complete a vocational 1-2 years extra course called a Legal Practice Course (LPG). Whereas, the barrister is required to complete vocational component bar training.

Should I hire a barrister or a solicitor?

barrister or solicitor

Solicitors prefer to work on the office table and “behind the scenes” but they can appear in the court through “right of audience” to defend their client. This means that a solicitor can perform the role of the barrister as well. That’s why hiring a solicitor will be a “WIN-WIN” situation.

Is a solicitor higher than a barrister? 

Is solicitor higher or barrister

A barrister can be considered high compared to a solicitor. Because the wig and the gown they wear give and show that they are powerful. Plus they stand in the court to defend their clients. Acting as an advocate in legal hearings is one of them there main roles. So, all these responsibilities as a whole make them look higher.

Why do solicitors instruct barristers? 

Because solicitors are usually in a managerial position & instructing or hiring barristers is a part of their job. They have commitments going on simultaneously with multiple clients. That’s why they instruct barristers because they might need to work for some other clients. Secondly, when expert advocates are needed in the court to resolve any case then in such situations they instruct barristers.

What does ‘barrister got silk’ mean? 

For working exceptionally well, some senior barristers receive silk which is a sign of becoming a part of the “Queen Counsel” in the UK.

How much does a top barrister earn?


The top or senior barristers in Britain earn approximately around $1.5 m. Such income can only be earned if you have a great experience with unlimited clients. It also depends on the location.

What can a barrister not do? 

Barristers are not allowed to give any gifts, fees, offers, promises, or any amount to their clients. Neither can they accept any of such things from their clients. It is crucial and compulsory for them to maintain their independence.


Barristers’ and solicitors’ duties are most of the time misunderstood. Most people fail to know which one does what job and to whom they should contact for their issue. I hope this article delivered you the basic information and helped you to differentiate between both terms.

E.A. Gjelten