What they do
Solicitors provide legal advice and represent clients in negotiations and court proceedings. They research the laws and past cases (precedents) that are relevant to a particular case in order to present the strongest case for their client and add weight to their arguments. Solicitors may also write legal documents, such as contracts, on behalf of their clients. While court appearances are an important part of a solicitor's work, it generally only forms a small part of their daily activities. A large proportion of their time is spent outside of court, meeting with clients, conducting research, preparing cases and carrying out negotiations with the opposing party.
Solicitors work in offices, courts and tribunals throughout Western Australia, although the majority work in the Perth metropolitan area. They often work in small teams with other legal professionals, and may regularly work with experts and professionals from other industries in preparing cases. They also often deal with clients who may be distressed or emotionally volatile. The hours worked can be long and may include evenings and weekends, particularly when working to tight deadlines and preparing a case.
Tools and technologies
Solicitors consult extensive law libraries, containing detailed records of past cases and the resulting decisions which can be used to strengthen a case. They must also be familiar with a wide range of legislation. Many of the documents that solicitors refer to use very specific language and terms that may not be common in everyday usage, including some Latin phrases. In addition to this reference material, solicitors may also use standard office equipment, including computers, photocopiers, faxes and dictaphones.
How do I become one?
Education and training
To become a solicitor, you usually need to study a degree in law.
Most universities in Western Australia offer relevant courses. Contact the universities you are interested in for more information.
Required registration and licensing
To work as a solicitor in Western Australia, you must complete Practical Legal Training as specified by the Legal Practice Board of Western Australia. You must then apply to the Supreme Court for admission as a lawyer. Contact the Legal Practice Board of Western Australia for more information.