A lawyer is a person learned in the law; as an attorney, counsel or solicitor; a person licensed to practice law. 

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A lawyer is a person learned in the law; as an attorney, counsel or solicitor; a person licensed to practice law.

The role of the lawyer varies significantly across legal jurisdictions. In practice, legal jurisdictions exercise their sovereign right to determine who is recognized as a lawyer. As a result, the meaning of the term "lawyer" may vary from place to place. In Australia, the word "lawyer" is used to refer to both barristers and solicitors. In Britain, "lawyer" is used to refer to a broad variety of law-trained persons. It includes practitioners such as barristers, solicitors, legal executives.

In civil law countries legal professions consist of a large number of law-trained persons, known as jurists, of which only some are advocates who are licensed to practice in the courts. In England, Canada and Australia (common law jurisdiction) there is a divided legal profession where a lawyer is either a solicitor or a barrister.

The solicitor can be characterised as a general practitioner: a lawyer who deals with clients directly. He undertakes advocacy in the lower courts and instructs barristers (in England and Wales) or advocates (in Scotland) to represent their clients in the higher courts. Solicitors are responsible for the preparatory stages of litigation such as the preparation of evidence, interviewing witnesses, issuing writs and conducting interlocutory proceedings. They also deal with some non-litigious matters such as drafting of wills, the supervision of trusts and settlements, the administration of estates and conveyances.

The historical difference between two professions is that a solicitor is an attorney of his client and may conduct litigation. A barrister is not an attorney and is forbidden, both by law and by professional rules, from conducting litigation. Professional barristers are competent to perform all advocacy for the prosecution or defence in criminal cases and for a plaintiff or defendant in a civil action. Barristers have a major role in trial preparation, including drafting pleadings and reviewing evidence.

The US legal system does not distinguish between lawyers who plead in court and those who do not. The attorney at law (defense attorney, the defense counsel (Am.)) is a person admitted to practice law in his respective state and authorized to perform both civil and criminal legal functions for clients. He drafts legal documents, gives legal advice, and represents them before courts, administrative agencies, boards.

The defence counsel role is to review the documents and other evidence the police have accumulated against the accused, and to interview or question the arresting officers and others involved in the case. The defence attorney may interview witnesses to the crime, and may even conduct an independent investigation.

At bail hearings and plea negotiations defence attorneys represent the accused. At trial defence attorneys question jurors, cross examine prosecution witnesses, call defence witnesses, represent the accused and help them to get the best possible sentences.



1. Find in the text the information on:

a) variety of the lawyer’s functions due to different jurisdictions;

b) types of legal profession in Great Britain;

c) professional duties of solicitors and barristers;

d) the functions of the US attorney.

Fill in the table with the words from text

The duties of solicitors and barristers(Great Britain) The duties of attorney at law (the USA)

Tell about the variety of legal professions in civil law and common law countries.

Explain the difference between the functions of a solicitor and a barrister.

Insert one of the following words into the text in an appropriate form.

solicitors, branches, practitioners, courts, wear, jurisdictions, employed, advisory

The traditional distinctions between the two …of the profession are breaking down nowadays. Barristers used to enjoy a monopoly on appearances before the higher courts, but in most countries this has now been abolished, and solicitor advocates can generally appear for clients at ….. Firms of solicitors are keeping even the most advanced … and litigation work in-house for economic and client relationship reasons. Similarly, the prohibition on barristers taking instructions directly from the public has also been widely abolished, but in practice, direct instruction is still a rarity in most …. In most countries, barristers operate as sole …, and are prohibited from forming partnerships (although in England and Wales the Clementi report has recommended the abolition of this restriction). However, barristers normally band together into "chambers”. Some barristers, on the other hand, are … by firms of solicitors, banks or corporations as in-house legal advisers.

In court, barristers are often visibly distinguished from …by their clothes. For example, in Ireland, England and Wales, barristers usually … a horsehair wig, stiff collar, bands and a gown. Beginning from January 2008 Solicitor advocates are also entitled to wear a wig, but a different gown.

6. Translate into English:

Адвокати повинні постійно дбати про честь і гідність своєї професії як важливі учасники відправлення правосуддя.

Виконуючи свої обов’язки, адвокати надають консультації клієнту про його права та обов’язки, роз’яснюють принципи роботи правової системи, надають допомогу клієнту будь-яким законним способом та вчиняють правові дії для захисту його інтересів, надають клієнту допомогу в судах, трибуналах та адміністративних органах.

Надаючи допомогу клієнтам при здійсненні правосуддя, адвокати повинні дотримуватись прав людини й основних свобод, визнаних національним і міжнародним правом, діяти вільно і наполегливо відповідно до закону й визнаних професійних стандартів та етичних норм. Адвокат має бути лояльним до інтересів свого клієнта.



1. ROLE–PLAY “ The International Association of Lawyers’ Seminar”

The students are suggested to choose the roles of the registering clerks, representatives of mass media, lawyers of some certain countries and a presiding officer.

The registering clerks are to meet the guests (lawyers from different countries), to communicate with them and give them registration cards.

The representatives of mass media are to interview the participants before the seminar. They get Questionnaires.

Write down questions (3-5) you will ask the lawyers of International association before their seminar. The topic of your interview is the peculiarities of the lawyer’s profession in his or her country. Make notes, be ready to make a report of your results.

Ask about the main principles of the lawyer’s activity, membership organizations or associations, legal ethics and lawyer disciplinary agencies of their countries.


Questions Answers
  Country: Country:

The presiding officer presents top issues on agenda.

Top Issues on Agenda

1. Institution of advocacy, its historical roots.

2. World standards of advocacy.

3. Discussion in working groups.

Topic for discussion:

The role of the defence lawyer in modern society

(status, main tasks, functions, training of lawyers).

Look through the texts to review your knowledge on the subject under discussion. Use some additional literature and try to deliver a report on the top issues on agenda.

The guests of the seminar are suggested to discuss how the main principles of advocacy provided for by the main documents are realized in their countries. Question at least two lawyers from different countries to get precise information on the topic. Here is the list of questions:

1) Who can become a lawyer? What demands does a person meet to become a lawyer?

2) Does a legal system influence the functions of a lawyer? What are the rights and duties of a lawyer?

3) Does the institution of advocacy depend upon the state? Who governs the work of the lawyers in your country?

Write the answers in the table, give a short summary of your interview.


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