Not sure if you need to speak to a Lawyer, a Solicitor, or an Attorney? And what’s the difference anyway?

Allow us to set the record straight.

In Australia, the term ‘lawyer’ is a generic term to describe any person who is admitted to practice law by the Law Society of that State or Territory. ‘Admitted’ means that you have applied to the Supreme Court and met all the requirements to be a lawyer.

‘Solicitor’ and ‘Barrister’ are terms used to describe what type of lawyer a person is. A solicitor is someone who interacts with clients and has the day-to- day carriage of legal matters. Solicitors can and do appear in court. However, depending on the type of legal matter, a barrister may be required.

Barristers are generally used in more complex court matters such as serious criminal charges or civil matters involving large sums of money or complicated legal issues. A barrister will usually do the major court appearances, including the final hearing and they usually wear a wig and gown.

For example, Dennis Denuto (circa the Castle 1997) is a solicitor. He is also a lawyer.

Lawrence Hammill (also the Castle) is a barrister. He is also a lawyer.

What about an Attorney?

Attorney is an American term for a lawyer. In Australia, an attorney is not a lawyer, rather, it is the person you authorise to handle your affairs under a Power of Attorney. Quite different.

And a Partner, Special Counsel, Associate?

These are all terms used within the legal profession internally to distinguish between the seniority of lawyers.

Paralegal and Clerk?

Are not qualified lawyers, but assist with legal tasks (and are generally invaluable to any law firm).

At Chamberlains we have a team of clever and friendly solicitors (with a great vibe), and we work with some of the best barristers in the country. If you have any legal questions feel free to call for an obligation-free chat today.