Difference Between Solicitor and Attorney

Solicitor vs Attorney

Just like the medical profession where you have health care provider, doctor, physician, surgeon, and various specialists, one gets to hear confusing words like a lawyer, attorney, solicitor, counselor, barrister and an advocate. A common man is all the time confused as to which of these title holders is the person he should hire to present his case in a court of law. In particular, solicitor and attorney are two titles that are most confusing. This article attempts to find out the differences between a solicitor and an attorney.

Attorney is a term that is more commonly used in US for a person who is trained in law and is qualified enough to represent the case of his client in a court of law. The corresponding term in UK is barrister, and solicitor while in India; the term advocate is commonly used to refer to legal authorities defending their clients in courts of law. While both an attorney as well as a solicitor are trained in law (both have studied various aspects of law in a law school for the same duration), a solicitor is a legal authority who is more concerned with drawing up agreements, contracts, will and other legal documents and rarely stands up in a court of law to defend his clients like an attorney.

The word lawyer is a generic and broad term that comprises both attorneys and solicitors but while an attorney pleads for his client in a law court, a solicitor is more in an advisory position. A solicitor is seen working in government departments and corporations advising them on all legal matters. In India, there is a solicitor general assisted by four additional solicitor generals who are there to give legal advice to attorney general who stands for the government of India in Supreme Court.

In UK, if you go to a lawyer with your case, he may refer you to a solicitor who is an expert in drawing up all the paperwork. The solicitor then gets a barrister to stand up in a court of law to represent your case which is the same duty fulfilled by an attorney in US.

In brief:

Difference Between Solicitor and Attorney

• While both solicitors and attorneys are lawyers, they have different roles and duties to perform.

• A solicitor is a professional who is hired to draw up all the legal paperwork involved in agreements, contracts, wills etc and he rarely stands in a court of law to defend the case of his clients.

• On the other hand, an attorney is a lawyer who is trained and qualified to stand in a court of law to fight and defend the interests of his client.