What Kind of Lawyers Practice in London, England?

The legal profession in England and Wales is divided into two distinct branches: solicitors and barristers. Other legal professions in the country include acting as a judge, attorney general, or director of public prosecution. Solicitors are the lawyers who consult with clients, advise, draft documents, conduct negotiations, prepare cases for trial, and hire lawyers to advise them on special issues or to advocate before higher courts. They have the right to act in all courts as agents in litigation or representatives of their clients, and they are considered court officials.

Barristers, on the other hand, are the lawyers who bring cases to court. The five most prestigious law firms in England and Wales are known as the 'Magic Circle'. These firms offer training contracts that are heavily spiced up with corporate and financial agreements and international work. Apprentices' salaries match those paid by the Magic Circle, which is fair given that many lawyers work just as hard.

However, these firms require their employees to work long hours to keep profits high and international customers happy. In contrast, American firms tend to work differently than those in the Magic Circle. Many of them were formerly partners or associates of Magic Circle and the top ten firms. The race for training contracts in the largest of these firms is as competitive as in the city.

Some regional firms are even more demanding than their London counterparts, as applicants may have to demonstrate a long-term commitment to living in the area. Companies with multiple headquarters are necessarily massive operations, some of them with office networks that extend across the country and abroad. These companies attract students who want to do more expensive jobs outside of London, but they may have to do London's work levels for a lower salary. Smaller companies hire on an occasional basis and tend to pay lower salaries than larger ones.

Finally, litigants deal with disciplinary and regulatory issues such as governance and anti-doping; labor lawyers deal with athletes' contracts; and commercial contract lawyers deal with brand management, media rights and sponsorship agreements. If you are a foreign lawyer who wants to re-qualify in England and Wales, the SQE replaces the Qualified Lawyers Transfer Plan (QLTS).

John Baker
John Baker

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