solicitor, in English law, person duly admitted to practice before the supreme court of judicature. He is the agent of the person whose suit he handles, and is distinguished from a barrister, who argues cases before the judge (see attorney). The solicitor serves as an intermediary agent between the barrister and his client, negotiating fees and preparing the case for trial. Solicitors may take the place of barristers in the lower courts, and in the 1990s gained new rights of audience in higher courts. They are officers of the court; they have a monopoly of certain legal business and are subject to court regulation. The training required of a solicitor, set by the Law Society (earlier called the Incorporated Law Society), includes several years of clerkship under a practicing solicitor and attendance at a law school.
The Columbia Electronic Encyclopedia, 6th ed. Copyright © 2012, Columbia University Press. All rights reserved.