If you have come to find yourself in a sticky situation or you require legal assistance for the first time, you may be stuck on where to go, who to see or what to do. In this article we look at the options available to those in England who are seeking to instruct a law professional or obtain some legal advice.
Legal assistance can often be pricey; it is vital that you research the level of legal help you need. In some instances a legal executive may be able to handle your case and produce outstanding results, in more complex cases it often proves more effective to use a solicitor, barrister or even a whole legal team.
Legal executives often specialise in one small area of the law; they do much of the same work as solicitors such as conveyancing, criminal law, probate, civil litigation and more. Legal executives are governed by CILEx, the Chartered Institute of Legal Executives; they have around 20,000 members, each of which are independently regulated by ILEX Professional Standards.
In order to qualify as a legal executive, aspiring candidates must undertake a series of training courses and pass qualifications relevant to the area of practice in which they want to specialize. Despite often having similar knowledge to solicitors around their field, legal executives often tend to be cheaper and are being used more frequently now than ever.
If you were to look for a slightly more advanced legal practitioner, a solicitor could be the appropriate option. All qualified and practicing solicitors are regulated by a governing body, the Solicitors Regulation Authority (SRA). Solicitor’s main duties include general aspects of giving legal advice and conducting legal proceedings.
Prospective solicitors must complete a law degree and a Legal Practice Course (LPC) in order to complete “phase 1” of their training; Once the LPC has been passed the would-be solicitor must undertake 2 years apprenticeship, commonly referred to as a training contract, with a firm who are entitled to train solicitors.
Solicitor’s fees can often be quite high, if you are to get true value for money you must make it worthwhile and hire a specialist in your required field. It is often the case that in civil matters, a good solicitor can negotiate a deal with a desired outcome, without going near a courtroom.
If you are looking for a specialist advocate to represent you in the courts, you may be better off with a barrister. Barristers tend to specialise in one area of law, they often hold a fantastic knowledge of their field and can often be called in to advise solicitors on their cases too.
A barrister must go through a law degree, much like a solicitor before they can qualify. Once the perspective barrister has completed a law degree they can choose to study a Bar Professional Training Course (BPTC) instead of an LPC, once this is passed they are eligible to be called to the bar. Training however isn’t finished there, before gaining qualified status, trainees must complete a pupillage – 12 months practical training with an experienced barrister.
All barristers, regardless of their specialism are regulated by the Bar Standards Board, a division of the General Bar Council. The actual work carried out by a barrister is heavily dependant on the field in which they work. For example, criminal law specialists would spend most time prepping cases and presenting in court whereas those working in other fields may have to do more office based advisory work.
Although barrister’s fees are often amongst the highest charged by legal professionals, if you have been subject to serious criminal allegations or involved in a high profile financial dispute, it could be worth paying a little extra for a professional’s expertise… Selecting the correct assistance could be the difference on weather or not you get the outcome from your case that you desire.
If you are seeking guidance from a legal professional, why not email on of our team on info@cpcworldwide,co.uk? We could help you find out what level of assistance you require and introduce you to the right person for the job.