Solicitors, once qualified will usually specialize in one legal area such as litigation, family, property or tax.
High street solicitors usually advise smaller companies and individuals on legal matters which may include writing wills, property services, custody cases and divorce settlements.
Solicitors that work in Commercial law firms usually advise large corporate clients on transactions or cases. They may draft up contracts for the construction of a new shopping centre or advise on the merge of one company to another.
Solicitors typical duties may include: giving legal advice, researching cases and legislation, liaising with clients and other professionals such as lawyers and barristers and representing clients in court.
A solicitor must be responsible and trustworthy and necessitate integrity and confidentiality in a non-prejudicial manner. Key skills needed to become a competent solicitor would include: motivation, organisational skills, commercial awareness, good interpersonal skills, good written and oral communication skills and analytical skills.
The main route to qualifying as a solicitor is via a university degree followed by a vocational postgraduate course known as a legal practice course (LPC). Graduates from any academic background can train as a solicitor, but must have an excellent record of academic achievement; these must include well A level results. Graduates that have a non-law degree must also first pass a conversion course known as the graduate diploma in law (GDL) or common professional examination (CPE) before taking the LPC.
Following qualification, it is then necessary to complete a two year training contract or period of recognised training. Early applications for these are essential as some firms actually arrange training contracts up to two years in advance.