English for law school students
Unlike in most other countries the legal profession in England and Wales is divided into two branches and the expression 'lawyer' may be used to refer to either a solicitor or a barrister. This duality of function between barristers and solicitors is peculiar to the English common law system and, indeed, is even not followed in the Diff United States.Read the following extract which outline the differences between barristers and solicitors.
1.2 Legal education and training
The education of both barristers and solicitors has common features. Both will complete the academic stage of their legal education The first or academic stage is normally satisfied by a law degree. As an alternative, non law graduates and mature students (over 25) can take a common professional examinaAZtion at degree level.
The second or professional stage consists of a full time vocational course and final examination, based to a greater extent on the problems likely to be encountered in practice. The solicitor takes the Final Examination under the aegis of the Law Society while the barrister takes the Bar Examination under the aegis' of the Inns of Court School of Law This is followed by what is, in effect, an apprenticeship called articles for solicitors and pupillage for barristers, during which the trainee does practical work under the close supervision of an experienced member of his profession.
As to their training, the difference is more marked.
After completion of the prescribed period of articles of clerkship, the entrant will be admitted as a solicitor.For Barristers it is first necessary to be admitted to one of the four Inns of Court Gray's Inn, Lincoln's Inn, Inner Temple, and Middle Temple. These are very old institutions dating from the fourteenth century. Each Inn is a combination of club, college, and professional organization and is governed by its senior members or Benchers, who are often judges.
A student intending to practise must attend a full time one year course in London in preparation for Bar Finals. After passing the examinations, the student will be called to the Bar by his Inn. Before practising on his own account, it is compulsory for him to undergo a period of pupillage by reading in chambers. (For 12 months he will be the pupil of a senior barrister).
1.3 Legal practice
The practising solicitor. The solicitor may be described as the person who deals directly with the client and, where litigation is involved, instructs the barrister. The origins of this side of the profession go back to the mediaeval 'attornatus' (attorney) who was as the solicitor still is, but the barrister is not an officer of the court.
The attorney's business was originally to help the client in the preparatory stages of cases. In the course of time a similar class of people practising in the Court of Chancery came to be called 'solicitors'. By the close of the Middle Ages the two sub professions became merged. In 1845 the Law Society as the representative organisation of the solicitor's profession came into being. The 'attorney' disappeared.
The work of a solicitor is too diverse to classify. After admission, the solicitor may take a salaried position in private practice or may seek an appointment with a local authority, the civil service, the Magistrates' Court Service, a nationalised undertaking or in the legal department of a business concern. Solicitors may form partnerships but not limited companies.
The solicitor is the person to whom an individual first turns for advice and, in addition to dealing with a variety of legal problems, he may be asked to advise on business and family matters. Much of his time may be devoted to dealings with property, in particular the conveyancing of land and houses.(Conveyancing is the legal process of buying and selling property).
Since 1804 it has been a criminal offence for any person other than a solicitor to undertake this work for gain. Conveyancing has become an important part of a solicitor's work providing over half the income of the average solicitor's practice.
He may also be concerned with drawing up wills, the administration of estates and trusts, the execution of mortgages matrimonial disputes, the formation of partnerships and companies, taxation problems, and representation of clients involved in criminal prosecutions and civil actions. Some solicitors may specialise in one or more of these matters or there may be specialisation by the different partners in a firm.
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