If you're confronted with a legal matter that does not require you to appear in court, you're a potential client for a solicitor. Solicitors are lawyers that focus on offering legal counsel to their clients. They are different from barristers, who can also provide legal advice but primarily focus on making court appearances on behalf of their clients.
Knowing when to hire a solicitor or a barrister can make all the difference to the outcomes of your legal problems. Here are a few circumstances that may warrant contacting a solicitor rather than a barrister.
Your legal matter doesn't require litigation
While some solicitors may be willing to appear in court to handle a case within an area of the law that they're well-acquainted with, most solicitors prefer to work outside the courtroom. If your legal situation has escalated to the point of demanding court action, they may recommend involving a barrister instead of making court appearances on your behalf.
Your legal problem doesn't require specialised handling
Solicitors often focus on one or more areas of the law. As a result, they're perceived as a broader entity that offers general advice to clients rather than specialists that are proficient in a specific area of the law.
If you require general counsel on a non-complex legal matter, solicitors are the go-to lawyers, but if your case requires specialised handling due to its complex nature, you might be better off seeking out a barrister.
You need help getting ready for court
Because they spend a lot of time representing their clients in court, barristers may not have adequate time to do all the administrative work that goes into court preparation. If you've already contemplated involving a barrister in your case but require someone to help you get ready for trial, solicitors will come in handy.
Solicitors can help you write, submit, and serve court documents to hasten the court process.
You need someone to negotiate or transact on your behalf
In civil matters that don't require going to court, a solicitor can negotiate terms to resolve your matter and present these in court. When it comes to property purchase and sales transactions, they can deal with more complex conveyancing matters that regular conveyancers can't handle.
While the above-highlighted points represent situations that may require using a solicitor rather than a barrister, both types of lawyers are often required to settle many legal matters. That said, solicitors are often the first point of contact between lawyers and non-lawyers.