KNOW THE DIFFERENCE: Barrister vs. Solicitor

Posted by heritagelawoffices on Jun 20, 2016 in Blog

wooden-gavel-on-tableAll lawyers practicing in Canada may identify as “barristers and solicitors”– yet some only practice under one title. Why is that? Read on for Heritage Law’s reference guide to help differentiate between the two categories.


The word barrister originates from the “Bar” or traditional position of a counsel in the courtroom. Also known as a litigator or courtroom lawyer, a modern barrister may or may not spend a significant portion of their time in court. A barrister’s focus consists of the following: advocacy, preparing for hearings, attending examinations for discovery, drafting pleas. At any given time, a barrister may be found attending to administrative tribunals, mediations, arbitrations or court processes.


To solicit has roots in Latin meaning to agitate or to put in motion, but the modern term means to access or obtain something. In a legal sense, a solicitor works primarily with their clients to assist them with a wide range of matters. Some typical tasks are: filing securities prospectuses, applying to protect intellectual property rights, incorporating and maintaining companies, handling real estate transactions and even drafting wills and personal directives.


Barristers and solicitors both:

    • Negotiate on behalf of a client;
    • Prepare legal opinions;
    • Provide legal advice; and
    • Meet with clients.

It is the context of the legal issue that makes the major difference.

If you are still unsure whether you need a barrister, a solicitor or both– contact or visit Heritage Law today! Our professional staff will guide you the right advice and counsel for your specific situation.