Solicitor Vs Lawyer [Key Differences Explained]

Solicitor Vs Lawyer

 A solicitor and a lawyer both work with the law, but in different ways. 

A solicitor is a legal representative that advises clients on how to solve their legal issues. They are allowed to represent clients in court but are not allowed to plead cases on their own. They can give legal advice to clients and can appear in court for clients who cannot make it. They can also negotiate settlements between parties in civil disputes, and they can advise people on their best options for litigation. Solicitors are also able to draft up documents that have legal weight, such as documents involving real estate and property divvying up. Solicitors often work in law firms alongside other solicitors and lawyers, or they might be self-employed.

A lawyer is a person who is allowed to plead cases in court on behalf of his or her client, called the client’s ‘representation’. A lawyer can draft up contracts, wills, patents, and other legal documents; however, they are not allowed to give out any specific legal advice unless they have a solicitor’s license. Lawyers must pass an exam before they can become licensed attorneys, which allows them to plead cases or represent clients within the court system.

Key Differences Simplified

Solicitor: A solicitor is an attorney who deals with most of the legal matters usually related to the buying & selling of assets e.g commodities or real estate etc.

Lawyer: The word “lawyer” refers to one who has been admitted to practice in a court or a similar legal institution & may represent individuals & entities provided they’ve passed the bar exam.


A person, firm, or organization that represents a client in legal matters. A solicitor has a license that allows the person to practice law. This can be either full or limited in scope.A lawyer is a member of the legal profession who practices law, as an advocate, attorney, counsel or solicitor; gives legal advice and counsel; and prepares legal instruments such as wills, contracts, deeds, and other legal documents.
The origin of the word solicitor is Scottish in origin. It comes from the ancient word "solys" which means "advocate".The origin of the word ''lawyer'' is unclear, but most likely comes from the Middle English word ''lawier'', which means ''one who explains or interprets''.

Difference in Duties

lawyer vs solicitor duties


A solicitor and a lawyer have different duties and therefore different roles in the justice system. A solicitor’s main duty is to represent their client, who can be either a person or a corporate entity.

The solicitor’s role is to protect their client’s interests by representing their client with the court and ensuring that the client is aware of all of the legal proceedings going on and has an opportunity to provide input as needed. A solicitor can be a part of a law firm or function independently.


A lawyer, on the other hand, provides legal advice and representation to clients they are employed by in order to provide legal counsel in all forms of issues. A lawyer usually works for an employer in order to receive payment for their services and must abide by their employer’s rules when it comes to their role as an employee.

Salary Differences

  • The average starting salary of a solicitor is £40,000 or $50,000 per year in the UK & USA respectively.
  • The average lawyer’s salary can range anywhere from $40,000 a year to over $100,000.

Is a solicitor the same as a lawyer?

Is solicitor same as a lawyer

Solicitors and lawyers both undertake legal work, but they are a bit different depending on the jurisdiction. Solicitor and lawyer both come from the legal term “attorney.” “Attorney” is a general term that means representative or person appointed to act for another. Therefore, solicitors and attorneys are different types of representatives that deal with different sectors of cases in law.

Why are lawyers called solicitors?

Why are lawyers called solicitors

In England, about 900 years ago, lawyers had to be hired for a fee, and the job of finding people to hire the lawyer fell on the person seeking legal assistance (the client). This job was given to a clerk called the “solicitor” who helped the client find someone willing to take their case. The solicitor then served as an intermediary between the client and his or her lawyer.

Also Check Attorney vs. Prosecutor

How long is the training process to become a solicitor?

According to the Law Society, it takes on average 3.5 years of full-time study to become a solicitor.  If you were to work full-time as a solicitor without a law degree, it would take you 11,470 hours or approximately 4.5 years of full-time work.

Can I become a solicitor without a law degree?

lawyer or solicitor

You don’t require a law degree to become a solicitor. Many solicitors do have degrees in law, but it is not necessary. There are many different routes you can go to become a solicitor.

Check Out District Attorney vs Lawyer

Do solicitors go to court?

Yes. Solicitor is a term for someone who carries out legal work for those in need.  Lawyers perform many duties, including going to court, writing contracts, and making sure everything that needs to be done is done. There are solicitors in every country and their role can change from country to country.


lawyers are more expensive than solicitors. Their fees are higher, and on most occasions, they earn their money.  While lawyers are usually the better choice for most legal matters, there may be some situations where it makes more sense to hire a solicitor.

If you are only dealing with a small amount of paperwork or if you do not want to be bogged down by the intricacies of legal jargon, then a solicitor would be your better bet. If you have an uncommonly simple case or some other special circumstance that makes you feel like a common lawyer would be overkill for the job, then you should consider trying your luck with a solicitor instead.

E.A. Gjelten
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