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Lawyer vs. Solicitor: What's the Difference?

Edited by Aimie Carlson || By Janet White || Published on December 6, 2023
Lawyer is a general term for someone who practices law; solicitor is a type of lawyer in some countries, mainly handling legal advice and document preparation.

Key Differences

Lawyers are professionals qualified to practice law, including advising clients, representing them in court, and preparing legal documents. Solicitors, a subset of lawyers in countries like the UK, specialize in providing legal advice and preparing legal documents, but often do not represent clients in higher courts.
In many countries, the term lawyer is a broad designation encompassing various legal practitioners, including solicitors, barristers, and attorneys. Solicitors, however, specifically refer to legal professionals who traditionally deal with legal paperwork, client advice, and transactions rather than courtroom advocacy.
Lawyers may specialize in different fields like criminal law, corporate law, or civil rights law, offering a wide range of legal services. Solicitors are typically more involved in non-contentious legal matters such as real estate transactions, wills, and contract drafting.
In the legal profession, lawyers can appear in court to advocate for their clients, although this varies by country and legal system. Solicitors, in contrast, mainly work in law offices, and in some jurisdictions, they require a barrister to represent clients in higher courts.
Lawyers are required to pass a bar exam and maintain a license to practice law, adhering to ethical and professional standards. Solicitors, while also requiring legal qualifications and licenses, often undergo additional training specific to their role, especially in jurisdictions where the legal profession is more segmented.

Comparison Chart


A professional who practices law in various capacities.
A type of lawyer who specializes in legal advice and document preparation.

Court Representation

Can represent clients in court.
In some jurisdictions, does not represent clients in higher courts.


May specialize in various legal fields.
Often focused on non-contentious legal matters.


Requires a law degree and passing a bar exam.
Requires specific training and qualifications, especially in the UK.

Work Environment

Works in diverse legal settings, including courtrooms.
Primarily works in law offices, dealing with paperwork and client advice.

Lawyer and Solicitor Definitions


A legal practitioner involved in various aspects of law.
The corporate lawyer advised the company on its new merger.


In some countries, a lawyer who doesn't typically represent clients in higher courts.
For his court appearance, he needed a barrister in addition to his solicitor.


A legal expert who interprets and applies the law.
The family lawyer helped them navigate the complexities of the divorce.


A legal professional specializing in advisory and documentation roles.
The solicitor drafted the contract for the property sale.


A professional qualified to offer legal advice and represent clients.
The lawyer prepared a strong defense for the accused in court.


A lawyer primarily handling non-litigious legal matters.
The solicitor advised her client on estate planning and wills.


An individual licensed to practice law and advise on legal matters.
She consulted a lawyer to understand her rights in the lawsuit.


A legal advisor focusing on client consultations and paperwork.
The business consulted a solicitor for legal compliance in their operations.


Someone who can advocate for clients in legal proceedings.
The criminal lawyer worked tirelessly to prove his client's innocence.


A type of lawyer often involved in property transactions, wills, and contracts.
The family's solicitor handled the legal aspects of selling their home.


One whose profession is to give legal advice and assistance to clients and represent them in court or in other legal matters.


One that solicits, especially one that seeks trade or contributions.


An attorney holding a public office that handles cases involving a city, state, or other jurisdiction.


What is a lawyer?

A lawyer is a professional qualified to practice law, including advising and representing clients.

Are solicitors found in all countries?

No, the term is specific to certain countries like the UK, Ireland, and Australia.

What's the difference in training between a lawyer and a solicitor?

Solicitors often undergo specific training for advisory roles, while lawyers have a broader legal education.

Can all lawyers represent clients in court?

Yes, most lawyers can, but this varies by jurisdiction and specialization.

Are solicitors involved in court cases?

Solicitors can be involved, but they usually don't represent clients in higher courts.

Do solicitors give legal advice?

Yes, providing legal advice is a primary role of solicitors.

Can solicitors become barristers?

Yes, in some jurisdictions, solicitors can qualify as barristers after additional training.

Is a corporate lawyer a solicitor?

A corporate lawyer can be a solicitor, but not all corporate lawyers are solicitors.

What does a solicitor do?

A solicitor specializes in legal advice, document preparation, and non-contentious matters.

Is it necessary for a solicitor to pass a bar exam?

In some jurisdictions, yes, but the requirements can vary.

Do solicitors negotiate contracts?

Yes, solicitors often negotiate and draft contracts.

Can a lawyer practice internationally?

This depends on their qualifications and the jurisdiction's laws.

Are solicitors and barristers the same?

No, they have different roles in the legal system, especially in the UK.

Do lawyers draft legal documents?

Yes, lawyers, including solicitors, draft and review legal documents.

What legal matters do lawyers advise on?

Lawyers advise on a wide range of legal matters, from personal to corporate law.

What kind of cases do lawyers handle?

Lawyers handle various cases, from criminal defense to civil litigation.

Can a solicitor represent a client in a divorce?

Yes, but they may need a barrister for representation in higher courts.

Can a lawyer specialize in tax law?

Yes, lawyers can specialize in various fields, including tax law.

Are all attorneys lawyers?

Yes, in the U.S., the terms attorney and lawyer are often used interchangeably.

Do solicitors work in criminal law?

Yes, solicitors can work in criminal law, primarily in advisory roles.
About Author
Written by
Janet White
Janet White has been an esteemed writer and blogger for Difference Wiki. Holding a Master's degree in Science and Medical Journalism from the prestigious Boston University, she has consistently demonstrated her expertise and passion for her field. When she's not immersed in her work, Janet relishes her time exercising, delving into a good book, and cherishing moments with friends and family.
Edited by
Aimie Carlson
Aimie Carlson, holding a master's degree in English literature, is a fervent English language enthusiast. She lends her writing talents to Difference Wiki, a prominent website that specializes in comparisons, offering readers insightful analyses that both captivate and inform.

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