What is a Solicitor Advocate? And why would you need one?
Posted on 12th October 2021 at 15:06
By Lee Carter, Director & Costs Draftsman
To successfully put your client's case to a court requires a high degree of skill.
In the legal profession, this is often referred to as ‘advocacy’ and is commonly associated with Barristers.
However, this detailed level of advocacy can also be provided by a Solicitor Advocate – a service we champion and are proud to provide.
What is a Solicitor Advocate?
A solicitor advocate is a fully-qualified solicitor who has completed an additional qualification to gain the same ‘Higher Rights of Audience’ as a barrister.
A solicitor advocate can represent clients in a wider range of courts than most solicitors - including:
The High Court
The Crown Court
Court of Appeal
The Supreme Court
At Carter Burnett, we are proud that Seamus Kelly boasts Solicitor Advocate status – meaning he can represent our national clients in civil courts of all levels.
To achieve this elevated legal status, Seamus studied to obtain his ‘Higher Rights of Audience’ qualification, covering the topics of evidence & litigation and advocacy.
Having successfully passed both written knowledge and oral advocacy assessments, Seamus is fully accredited as a Solicitor Advocate by the Solicitors Regulation Authority.
From a practical perspective, this means Seamus (supported by our team of costs specialists) can consistently work in partnership with clients all the way through their cases. Seamus will regularly undertake advocacy at the budgeting stage, including attending the Costs Case Management Conference. Once the claim has concluded, Seamus will then deal with negotiations, Points of Replies and detailed assessments. Start to finish. No handovers. No crossed wires.
Solicitor advocate vs barrister: What’s the difference?
Solicitors Advocates and Barristers are both qualified legal professionals who use their experience and expertise to support clients in a legal environment. They can advise and support on contentious and non-contentious legal matters.
Solicitors Advocates and Barristers are both knowledgeable about a wide range of legal areas but usually specialise in a specific sector. Seamus specialises in legal costs.
Solicitor Advocates are usually employed by a Law Firm, representing their clients in a court of law.
Barristers are often self-employed and acquire work through a Chambers, with clients paying their fees. They can sometimes be employed by a Law Firm.
From a clothing perspective, Barristers are known for their distinctive long black robe and wig. Queen’s Counsel barristers wear silk robes, while all others wear wool.
Solicitor Advocates are entitled to wear a wig in any of the circumstances in which a barrister would be permitted, but do not have a specific uniform. They usually dress in professional clothing or wear a solicitors’ gown.
Why would you need a Solicitor Advocate?
In terms of interaction, using a Solicitor Advocate often provides a very personal client experience.
When acting as both the solicitor and advocate, a Solicitor Advocate gets the chance to gain in-depth knowledge of all the case details.
Not only does the Solicitor Advocate advise the client, they actively conduct the case – taking instructions, issuing proceedings if necessary, providing advocacy and undertaking negotiations.
This complete package is included as part of one service.
At Carter Burnett, we believe that Seamus Kelly’s status as a Solicitor Advocate is a mark of quality.
Not only can he operate at the same level as a Barrister, Seamus also boasts a wealth of experience in the field of Costs – a specialist and niche area of the law.
From our point of view, this is a massive positive. We frequently call on his expertise to discuss Costs issues and treat him as if he is our own in-house Barrister, tapping into his extensive knowledge (without having to formally issue instructions!).
When preparing a case, we feel this agility sets us apart from other costs lawyers and provides our clients with complete reassurance.
If you’d like to enlist Seamus’ skills and experience, please email email@example.com or call 01482 534567 for an informal discussion.
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