In Summary - Solicitor
Solicitors typically work in the following Career Sectors:
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The Work - Solicitor
Most solicitors work in private practice, in partnership with other solicitors. Others are employed solicitors, for example, working for central or local government, the Court Service, or a commercial or industrial company.
Private practice solicitors can specialise in a specific area of the law, although sole practitioners and small firms tend to deal with all aspects of the law. Medium and larger sized firms of solicitors may specialise in areas such as conveyancing, crime, family law, probate and business law.
Conveyance means the transfer of ownership and rights of property (for example, a house, flat or area of land) from one person to another. Solicitors carry out in-depth checks (called 'searches') on all the factors that may affect the buyers, for example, rights of way, ownership of adjoining fences and walls, and planning proposals for new roads, houses or factories nearby. The solicitor investigates any original agreements or covenants that may still be legally valid. Then they draw up the contract for the client.
Solicitors advise anyone who is in dispute with another person. They help their clients plan how to deal with a dispute, advising them if the matter could be settled out of court or if the threat of court action may influence the other party. If legal proceedings begin, solicitors may attend Court to represent the client. In serious cases, they seek the services of a barrister. The solicitor 'briefs' the barrister, which means giving the barrister information and instructions about the case.
Solicitors who deal with probate work are responsible for drawing up wills and advising clients on how best to provide for relatives. They calculate the amount of money that people named in a will are entitled to receive, and may trace named relatives who have left the country.
Those solicitors who deal with business law advise clients on issues such as taxes, employment law, export law and company mergers. Some large solicitors' firms specialise in large, corporate clients. Solicitors in these firms may deal with large, multi-million pound deals, perhaps involving international companies.
Some solicitors' firms specialise in areas such as patents and copyrights, shipping, banking, computer law, media law or environmental law.
Some firms specialise in helping legally aided clients (who can not normally afford a solicitor's fees). Legal-aid practices deal with a wide range of issues, including crime, injury claims, divorce law, welfare rights and clinical negligence. Employed solicitors may work in the legal departments of large companies or other organisations.
Most commonly reported Work Tasks
- Represent clients in court or before government agencies.
- Present evidence to defend clients or prosecute defendants in criminal or civil litigation.
- Select jurors, argue motions, meet with judges and question witnesses during the course of a trial.
- Study Constitution, statutes, decisions, regulations, and ordinances of quasi-judicial bodies to determine ramifications for cases.
- Interpret laws, rulings and regulations for individuals and businesses.
- Present and summarize cases to judges and juries.
- Prepare legal briefs and opinions, and file appeals in state and federal courts of appeal.
- Analyze the probable outcomes of cases, using knowledge of legal precedents.
- Examine legal data to determine advisability of defending or prosecuting lawsuit.
- Evaluate findings and develop strategies and arguments in preparation for presentation of cases.
Most commonly reported Work Activities
- Getting Information Observing, receiving, and otherwise obtaining information from all relevant sources.
- Making Decisions and Solving Problems Analyzing information and evaluating results to choose the best solution and solve problems.
- Resolving Conflicts and Negotiating with Others Handling complaints, settling disputes, and resolving grievances and conflicts, or otherwise negotiating with others.
- Evaluating Information to Determine Compliance with Standards Using relevant information and individual judgment to determine whether events or processes comply with laws, regulations, or standards.
- Communicating with Persons Outside Organization Communicating with people outside the organization, representing the organization to customers, the public, government, and other external sources. This information can be exchanged in person, in writing, or by telephone or e-mail.
- Organizing, Planning, and Prioritizing Work Developing specific goals and plans to prioritize, organize, and accomplish your work.
- Analyzing Data or Information Identifying the underlying principles, reasons, or facts of information by breaking down information or data into separate parts.
- Identifying Objects, Actions, and Events Identifying information by categorizing, estimating, recognizing differences or similarities, and detecting changes in circumstances or events.
- Interpreting the Meaning of Information for Others Translating or explaining what information means and how it can be used.
- Establishing and Maintaining Interpersonal Relationships Developing constructive and cooperative working relationships with others, and maintaining them over time.
Interests - Solicitor
This occupation is typically suited for people with the following Career Interests:
Administrative people are interested in work that offers security and a sense of being part of a larger process. They may be at their most productive under supervisors who give clear guidelines and while performing routine tasks in a methodical and reliable way.
They tend to enjoy clerical and most forms of office work, where they perform essential administrative duties. They often form the backbone of large and small organisations alike. They may enjoy being in charge of office filing systems, and using computers and other office equipment to keep things running smoothly. They usually like routine work hours and prefer comfortable indoor workplaces.
The Investigative person will usually find a particular area of science to be of interest. They are inclined toward intellectual and analytical activities and enjoy observation and theory. They may prefer thought to action, and enjoy the challenge of solving problems with sophiscticated technology. These types prefer mentally stimulating environments and often pay close attention to developments in their chosen field.
You will need an in-depth knowledge of law, and excellent communication skills. You must be able to absorb and interpret complex information and use concise, plain English to explain this to clients. You must be able to work with people from all backgrounds, some of whom may be angry or distressed - you will need to use your knowledge, and a calm, professional manner to win the confidence and respect of your clients.
You will need to be a good listener, and know how to ask the right questions to find out more about the client's situation. Appearing in court demands confidence and the ability to argue a case persuasively.
Solicitors need interpersonal skills to work with other professionals, including barristers, judges and other court staff.
Preparation for cases requires a thorough, methodical and patient approach to research. You must have good organisation skills to plan and prioritise cases, which you may have to take on at short notice. The ability to work well under pressure is very important.
You should have the information technology skills to use, for example, word processing packages, spreadsheets, e-mail and information retrieval systems.
Entry Requirements - Solicitor
Entry into this profession is competitive.
In the Republic of Ireland, it takes almost three years from start to finish to become a Solicitor. Completion of the Law Society's Professional Practice Courses (PPC 1 & 2) plus an apprenticeship (in-house training of 24 months duration) with an approved solicitor is necessary.
The vast majority of students would first have completed a degree, though not necessarily a law degree. Most trainees without law degrees will first take some form of preparatory course to equip them with the required legal background.
There is a qualifying examination (Preliminary Examination) for non-Graduates seeking to become apprenticed. It is held once a year, is of degree standard and is restricted to candidates who are aged twenty-one years and upwards.
Full details of entry requirements from The Law Society are available here
Last Updated: February, 2015
Pay & Salary - Solicitor
Salary Range (thousands per year)* 19k - 200k
Salaried Partner: 80 - 200
5+ yrs PQE: 80 - 110
1-5 yrs PQE: 45 - 90
Newly Qualified Solicitor: 35 - 65
Trainee: 19 - 40
CPL / Robert Walters / Abrivia / Lincoln / PayScale.com
Last Updated: March, 2017
* The lower figures typically reflect starting salaries. Higher salaries are awarded to those with greater experience and responsibility. Positions in Dublin sometimes command higher salaries.
Labour Market Updates - Solicitor
No shortages have been identified for this occupation.
National Skills Bulletin 2018
Useful Contacts - Solicitor
Law Society of Ireland
- Blackhall Place, Dublin 7
- (01) 672 4800 ( Law School Tel No.: (01) 672 4802)
- Click Here