In the UK a ‘lawyer’ is a generic term used to describe anyone who is a Licensed Legal Practitioner qualified to give legal advice. The term ‘lawyer’ therefore describes:
(1) A qualified and practising Solicitor, regulated by the Solicitors Regulation Authority; or
(2) A qualified and practising Barrister, regulated by the Bar Standards Board; or
(3) A qualified and practising Chartered Legal Executive, regulated by theChartered Institute of Legal Executives; or
(4) A qualified and practising Licensed Conveyancer, regulated by the Council for Licensed Conveyancers; or
(5) A qualified and practising Notary, regulated by The Notaries Society
(6) A qualified and practising Patent Attorney, regulated by the Intellectual Property Regulation Board; or
(7) A qualified and practising Trade Mark Attorney, regulated by the Intellectual Property Regulation Board; or
(8) A Registered European Lawyer (REL) or Registered Foreign Lawyer (RFL), regulated by the Solicitors Regulation Authority; or
(9) A qualified and practising Costs Lawyer, regulated by the Association of Costs Lawyers
There may be other licensed legal practitioners not mentioned within the above list.
A ‘lawyer’ must in all cases have completed both academic and vocational training to the satisfaction of a regulated body. In all cases, a ‘lawyer’ can be found on an official public register, published by the regulating body.
It is against the law for someone to (deliberately or wilfully) pretend to have any of the above titles (such as solicitor or barrister) when they are not fully qualified/regulated.
The protected titles of “solicitor” “barrister” “chartered legal executive” “licensed conveyancer” “notary” “patent attorney” “trade mark attorney” “costs lawyer” distinguish these lawyers from other ‘advisers’ who may not have any form of professional qualification. For example, it is not uncommon to find “patent consultants” or “wills practitioners” who are giving advice, but are not qualified and regulated.
What is not a ‘lawyer’:
The following is a (non-exhaustive) list of people who will not appear on any official public register, and therefore are not recognised as a qualified lawyer in the UK:
(1) A law graduate (who is yet to qualify as one of the above); or
(2) A legal practice course graduate (who is yet to qualify as one of the above); or
(3) A paralegal, who is working in a law firm (who may or may not have completed some academic training e.g. a law degree) and is not a fully qualified practitioner as above; or
(4) A legal secretary, PA or administrator (who is not qualified as one of the above); or
(5) An executive, who is working in a law firm, but who is not fully qualified as any of the above. Using the phrase ‘executive’ with the area of law as a job title is common in law firms/in-house legal teams, where staff are not fully qualified e.g. “probate executive”, “wills executive”, “conveyancing executive”, “plot sales executive” etc; or
(6) A previous solicitor, barrister, legal executive, licensed conveyancer, trade mark attorney etc. who no longer appears on an official register (i.e. they are not practising, have not renewed their membership/certificate or for some other reason e.g. being struck off the register); or
(7) A conveyancer/conveyancing executive/conveyancing paralegal/plot sales conveyancer, who is not a fully qualified solicitor, legal executive or licensed conveyancer etc; or
(8) Someone else working in a law firm or non-law firm e.g. “estate planner” “will writer” “trade mark adviser”.
If you are seeking legal staff or looking for your next legal role, get in touch on 01603 516261 or firstname.lastname@example.org.