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Attorney vs. Solicitor: What's the Difference?

Edited by Sumera Saeed || By Sara Rehman || Published on December 8, 2023
An attorney is a lawyer qualified to represent clients in legal proceedings, whereas a solicitor, specifically in UK and some Commonwealth countries, is a lawyer who advises clients and prepares legal documents but may not represent them in higher courts.

Key Differences

In the United States, an attorney, also known as an attorney-at-law, is a licensed professional who can represent clients in court. In contrast, in the UK, a solicitor is a type of lawyer who provides legal advice, prepares documents, but traditionally does not litigate in higher courts.
Sara Rehman
Dec 08, 2023
An attorney typically engages in all aspects of legal work, including litigation and legal advice. A solicitor, particularly in the UK, focuses more on legal documentation, client consultation, and may represent clients in lower courts.
Sara Rehman
Dec 08, 2023
The term attorney is broadly used in the US legal system to refer to anyone qualified to practice law. Solicitors, in the UK legal system, work mostly in law offices and have limited rights of audience in higher courts.
Sumera Saeed
Dec 08, 2023
Attorneys in the US may specialize in various fields of law, handling both litigation and non-litigation matters. UK solicitors are often the first point of contact for legal advice, referring cases to barristers for court representation when necessary.
Harlon Moss
Dec 08, 2023
The training and qualification processes for attorneys and solicitors differ; in the US, passing the bar exam is essential for attorneys, while in the UK, solicitors undergo specific training and qualification procedures, including the Legal Practice Course (LPC).
Harlon Moss
Dec 08, 2023
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Comparison Chart

Representation in Court

Can represent clients in all courts
Traditionally limited to lower courts
Sara Rehman
Dec 08, 2023

Primary Duties

Litigation, legal advice, document preparation
Legal advice, document preparation, client consultation
Sara Rehman
Dec 08, 2023

Geographical Usage

Primarily used in the United States
Used in the UK and some Commonwealth countries
Sara Rehman
Dec 08, 2023

Training and Qualification

Requires passing the bar exam
Involves completing the LPC and training contracts
Aimie Carlson
Dec 08, 2023

Role in Legal Proceedings

Handles both litigation and advisory roles
Often coordinates with barristers for court cases
Janet White
Dec 08, 2023
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Attorney and Solicitor Definitions

Attorney

A lawyer who represents clients in legal proceedings.
The attorney argued the case skillfully in court.
Sara Rehman
Nov 17, 2023

Solicitor

Offers legal advice to clients.
The solicitor advised on property law matters.
Janet White
Nov 17, 2023

Attorney

Provides legal advice to clients.
The attorney advised her client on estate planning.
Sara Rehman
Nov 17, 2023

Solicitor

Specializes in preparing legal documents.
The solicitor prepared the sale agreement.
Janet White
Nov 17, 2023

Attorney

Specializes in representing clients in lawsuits.
As a litigator, the attorney frequently appeared in court.
Aimie Carlson
Nov 17, 2023

Solicitor

Represents clients in lower courts or out-of-court matters.
The solicitor negotiated a settlement on behalf of the client.
Sumera Saeed
Nov 17, 2023

Attorney

Analyzes legal issues and interprets laws.
The attorney provided an analysis of the new legislation.
Sara Rehman
Nov 17, 2023

Solicitor

Coordinates legal actions and liaises with barristers.
The solicitor arranged for a barrister to take the case to court.
Aimie Carlson
Nov 17, 2023

Attorney

Prepares legal documents, contracts, and wills.
The attorney drafted a comprehensive contract.
Sara Rehman
Nov 17, 2023

Solicitor

Advises on and prepares wills and estate plans.
The solicitor handled the estate planning efficiently.
Aimie Carlson
Nov 17, 2023

Attorney

A person who is legally qualified and licensed to represent a person in a legal matter, such as a transaction or lawsuit.
Sara Rehman
Nov 17, 2023

Solicitor

One that solicits, especially one that seeks trade or contributions.
Sara Rehman
Nov 17, 2023

Attorney

(US) A lawyer; one who advises or represents others in legal matters as a profession.
Sara Rehman
Nov 17, 2023

Solicitor

An attorney holding a public office that handles cases involving a city, state, or other jurisdiction.
Sara Rehman
Nov 17, 2023

Attorney

One such who practised in the courts of the common law.
Sara Rehman
Nov 17, 2023

Solicitor

Chiefly British An attorney who advises clients on legal matters, represents clients in certain lower courts, and prepares cases for barristers to present in the higher courts.
Sara Rehman
Nov 17, 2023

FAQs

What is an attorney?

An attorney is a lawyer qualified to practice law and represent clients in legal matters.
Sara Rehman
Dec 08, 2023

Are solicitors involved in litigation?

Traditionally, solicitors in the UK handle non-litigious work, but some may also appear in lower courts.
Harlon Moss
Dec 08, 2023

What does a solicitor do?

A solicitor provides legal advice, prepares legal documents, and may represent clients in lower courts.
Sumera Saeed
Dec 08, 2023

Do attorneys write legal documents?

Yes, attorneys prepare a wide range of legal documents.
Aimie Carlson
Dec 08, 2023

How do you become an attorney?

By obtaining a law degree and passing the bar exam in the US.
Harlon Moss
Dec 08, 2023

Can solicitors become barristers?

Yes, solicitors can become barristers after additional qualifications and training.
Janet White
Dec 08, 2023

Can attorneys appear in all courts?

Yes, in the US, attorneys can represent clients in all levels of court.
Sara Rehman
Dec 08, 2023

Are attorneys and solicitors the same?

They are similar but differ in terms of their roles, training, and the legal systems they operate in.
Janet White
Dec 08, 2023

Is a solicitor a type of lawyer?

Yes, in the UK and some other places, a solicitor is a type of lawyer.
Aimie Carlson
Dec 08, 2023

Can solicitors negotiate settlements?

Yes, solicitors often negotiate settlements and agreements.
Sara Rehman
Dec 08, 2023

What is the training for a solicitor?

In the UK, it involves completing a law degree, the LPC, and a training contract.
Aimie Carlson
Dec 08, 2023

What's the difference in fees between an attorney and a solicitor?

Fees can vary widely based on location, expertise, and the nature of the legal matter.
Sara Rehman
Dec 08, 2023

Can attorneys practice internationally?

This depends on the country's laws and the attorney’s qualifications.
Aimie Carlson
Dec 08, 2023

Do solicitors provide general legal advice?

Yes, they offer advice on a wide range of legal issues.
Sara Rehman
Dec 08, 2023

Are attorneys and solicitors regulated?

Yes, both are regulated by legal authorities and professional bodies.
Harlon Moss
Dec 08, 2023

Can a solicitor advocate in higher courts?

In some cases, yes, especially if they have additional qualifications such as becoming a solicitor-advocate.
Aimie Carlson
Dec 08, 2023

Do solicitors go to court?

Yes, but typically in lower courts or for less complex cases.
Sara Rehman
Dec 08, 2023

Are attorneys involved in criminal cases?

Yes, they can represent clients in both criminal and civil cases.
Janet White
Dec 08, 2023

What legal documents do solicitors prepare?

Solicitors prepare contracts, wills, property transfers, and more.
Sara Rehman
Dec 08, 2023

Can an attorney specialize in different law fields?

Yes, attorneys often specialize in areas like criminal, corporate, or family law.
Sara Rehman
Dec 08, 2023
About Author
Written by
Sara Rehman
Sara Rehman is a seasoned writer and editor with extensive experience at Difference Wiki. Holding a Master's degree in Information Technology, she combines her academic prowess with her passion for writing to deliver insightful and well-researched content.
Edited by
Sumera Saeed
Sumera is an experienced content writer and editor with a niche in comparative analysis. At Diffeence Wiki, she crafts clear and unbiased comparisons to guide readers in making informed decisions. With a dedication to thorough research and quality, Sumera's work stands out in the digital realm. Off the clock, she enjoys reading and exploring diverse cultures.

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