Oh yes. We have them here too. Thought I would blog about this as it is a topic I am familiar with- as I choose just the right wig. Oh dear. Lawyers in the UK is the umbrella term for solicitors and barristers. Essentially, they are both lawyers with vastly different roles. In brief (pardon the pun), Solicitor’s are like GP’s or Dr.’s compared to barristers who are more like Consultants. Barristers are specialist legal advisers and court room advocates. After law school-which is usually 3 years in University (not like in the US where you attend University for 4 years followed by law school for 3 years) solicitors will take a year course called LPC ( Legal Practice Course) and barristers take a year course called BPTC (Bar Practice Training Course). This is where we learn law and stuff. But seriously, is a serious matter where they learn skills, techniques, practical stuff. It is assumed you learned all your law in the previous 3 years. This 1 year course is the nitty gritty stuff.
Post training, solicitors join a firm or work in house. Barristers join a set of Chambers and are self-employed. Chambers will have barristers who are in the same field as them and barristers will pay for the cost of their building, utilities, admin-a sort of rent if you will. Also, anyone can see a solicitor-you can walk into their office or just call and set up an appointment. In short, you can approach a solicitor directly. Barristers? Nope. You must be referred by a solicitor in order to see or speak with a barristers. Traditionally, barristers were White, wealthy men who went to public school (that means private school here), but thankfully that is all changing. The ultimate accolade for barristers is to take ‘silk’ or QC (Queen’s Council). Appointments are made from within the legal profession on the basis of merit rather than a particular level of experience and should expect to get this with 15 years’ experience or more.
Am ok with the black gown that I will eventually wear but am not sure if I can rock that wig. As a famous barrister once said: ‘Watch this space.’ Not really. I don’t think a barrister would ever say that (although SHE might think it).