What does a solicitor actually do?

Joe Phelan's picture
What does the day-to-day role of a solicitor consist of, and should you contact one?

If you’re a fan of Hollywood movies, it would be easy to conclude that the role of a solicitor is to stay up late while poring over endless transcripts, eat nothing but Chinese food from little takeaway boxes, then dramatically sway the jury at the last minute with a monologue of such gravitas that even the opposition has no choice but to stand up, solemnly applaud, and graciously accept defeat.

While in reality a solicitor’s role may include some of these elements, there is far more to their job than eating fast food and being a top-draw orator.

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So, what does a solicitor get up to on a daily basis?

Client interaction

Interacting with, advising, and interviewing clients is an integral part of a solicitor’s routine. Whether this be via phone, email, face-to-face meetings or written correspondence, a solicitor will endeavour to ensure not only that they have been presented with all pertinent information and facts, but also that their client is kept up-to-date with any progress.

Specialising

While most solicitors will have a broad understanding and knowledge of numerous aspects of the law, it is very likely that they will choose to concentrate on one particular area. Main subjects of expertise are family, crime, finance, property and employment.

Paperwork

The ability to be efficient and organised is vital in the legal world. Regardless of the solicitor’s area of expertise, they will be inundated with various pieces of paper and documentation, and keeping them all in order is essential. They will also be adept at drafting letters, contracts and all manner of legal documents.

Research and preparation

No two cases or clients are ever the same and, even for a seasoned legal expert, thorough research and preparation is an essential part of their day-to-day working life. Legal legislation is evolving all the time, and keeping on top of relevant changes and developments minimises the risk of making errors.

Court and negotiation

Solicitors may be required to represent clients in court, or to assist barristers by providing information, advice and guidance. They will also negotiate with both their own clients and the opposition party to confirm objectives, gather evidence, and garner a more robust knowledge of the case at hand. 

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