call yourself a lawyer? qualifications required

Discussion in 'Legal' started by gr9ce, Jan 17, 2013.

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  1. gr9ce

    gr9ce UKBF Newcomer Free Member

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    Can anyone here clarify what qualifications do you need to call yourself a solicitor or a lawyer?
    Is a law degree enough?
    If someone styles themselves as LLB Hons Solicitor and also calls themselves a lawyer would this be correct?
    Would someone call themselves a Solicitor without any 'letters' after their name?

    My thinking is the law is a complex animal and needs many years to qualify even in the skill of being a family Solicitor. Qualified people would normally have letters of accreditation?

    Attempts to 'find a solicitor' on the Law Society website is confusing Some 'members' simply recorded as 'employees' in a firm whereas other people are called 'in house solicitor'
    Can you become a solicitor after 3 years at Polytechnic then 2 years day release?:|

    Is there a penalty for self styling beyond your qualifications?
     
    Posted: Jan 17, 2013 By: gr9ce Member since: Jul 17, 2011
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  2. Newchodge

    Newchodge UKBF Big Shot Free Member

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    A solicitor has to be a full member of the Law Society, which you achieve after passing exams and completing a training contract. Normally the exams would be a law degree and a legal practice course. The training contract involves 2 years working as a trainee solicitor and passing additional exams during that time.

    Solicitor employees are qualified solicitors who are employed in a legal practice.

    In house solicitors are qualified solicitors who are employed to work as solicitors by non-legal organisations such as a local authority.
     
    Posted: Jan 17, 2013 By: Newchodge Member since: Nov 8, 2012
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  3. Paul_Rosser

    Paul_Rosser UKBF Big Shot Full Member - Verified Business

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    Ther is quite a detailed post here about it - http://uk.answers.yahoo.com/question/index?qid=20090105084732AAvgLmn


    "There are 2 sorts of lawyers in the UK - solicitors and barristers. There are several different routes to each profession.

    To become a solicitor:
    Route 1:
    1. A levels - the subjects are not important.
    2. Law degree.
    3. Legal Practice Course (LPC). This takes 1 year if studied full time and is college based. You may be able to do it at the same university you took your law degree.
    4. Training Contract. This is working for a solicitor's firm as a trainee. There are some formal training courses, but much of it is doing basic legal donkey work. This takes 2 years. Provided you pass the exams you are now a qualified solicitor.

    Route 2:
    1. A-Levels.
    2. Any non-law degree.
    3. Graduate Diploma in Law (GDL). This takes 1 year if studied full time and is college based. It is basically a "conversion" course to give you the academic legal knowledge you need.
    4. LPC - as above.
    5. Training contract - as above.

    Route 3:
    No formal qualifications. Work as a legal secretary or similar and work through legal training with the Institute of Legal Executives. Eventually you become a legal executive and then a Fellow of the Institute. At this stage you can do the LPC and you then qualify as a solicitor without the need for a training contract. This route can take many years, however you are gaining legal experience all the time, and legal executives are respected professionals in their own right.

    To become a Barrister:
    There are two routes similar to routes 1 and 2 above. Once you have your law degree or GDL you then take:
    1. Bar Vocational Course (BVC). This is the barrister's equivalent of the LPC. It takes 1 year if studied full time and is college based.
    2. Pupillage. This is basically working as a dogsbody for a senior barrister. It takes 1 year then you are qualified.

    In all cases there is tough competition for places, so your academic results for A-Levels, Degree, GDL, LPC/BVC need to be excellent."
     
    Posted: Jan 17, 2013 By: Paul_Rosser Member since: Jul 5, 2012
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  4. Steve Sellers

    Steve Sellers UKBF Big Shot Full Member - Verified Business

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    Acting as a solicitor when you are not one is certainly an offence. Claiming to be a "lawyer" when you work in law, is a perfectly acceptable thing to do in this country.

    The starting point is Sections 20 and 21 of the Solicitors Act 1974, which create the basic offences of an unqualified person acting as a solicitor, and an unqualified person pretending to be a solicitor.

    Section 20 is more difficult to advise on. Obviously it is as it says – you mustn’t act as a solicitor, but that begs the question, what does that mean?

    I am of the view that that means that you must not do the things that are reserved for only solicitors to do.

    The Solicitors Act 1974 sections 22 and 23 used to say that unqualified persons were not allowed to prepare certain instruments, which meant deeds, and unqualified persons were not to prepare papers for probate. Those two sections have now been repealed, and been replaced by the much more complex provision in the Legal Services Act 2007.

    Section 14 of the Legal Services Act 2007 creates the separate offence of carrying on a reserved legal activity without entitlement, so it can only be assumed (because section 20 of The Solicitors Act 1974 has not been repealed) that the Parliamentary draftsman intended that section 20 is rather wider in its ambit than the reserved legal activity idea in the Legal Services Act 2007. However, Stones Justices Manual 2012 offers no definition of what “acting as a solicitor” means, and I simply do not know what it is supposed to mean other than by reference to the old cases referred to under section 21, which are all actually about pretending to be a solicitor. I suppose it begs this question – what is the difference between an unqualified solicitor pretending to be a solicitor, and acting as a solicitor?


    If he is unqualified, then he has go to be pretending – hasn’t he?

    Moving on to the 2007 Legal Services Act, you will see that Section 12 sets out the meaning of reserved legal activity, and it broadly follows the repealed provisions in sections 22 and 23 of The 1974 Solicitors Act about rights of audience, the conduct of litigation, the reserved instrument activities, and probate and notarial activities.
     
    Posted: Jan 17, 2013 By: Steve Sellers Member since: Aug 7, 2011
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  5. gr9ce

    gr9ce UKBF Newcomer Free Member

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    Thanks for the info. Seems more a grey area than hoped. By the sounds 'on the job' experience can result in entitlement to conduct a prosecution in a court. Was hoping for a 'must have a 'XYZZA' qualification to call yourself a Solicitor/Lawyer.
     
    Posted: Jan 19, 2013 By: gr9ce Member since: Jul 17, 2011
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  6. Steve Sellers

    Steve Sellers UKBF Big Shot Full Member - Verified Business

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    No it doesn't. If you are not a solicitor you can not conduct litigation or represent someone at court save as for Tribunal work (eg Employment, Mental Health (but not immigration as you need to be accredited I think), and as a Mckenzie friend or litigation in person.

    You only need to work in law to call yourself a lawyer. But you MUST not make out you are a solicitor (by telling people you are), or act as a solicitor by carrying out 'reserved' work.
     
    Last edited: Jan 19, 2013
    Posted: Jan 19, 2013 By: Steve Sellers Member since: Aug 7, 2011
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