Completion of a LL.B. opens a world of possibilities to graduates. The traditional route of gaining a professional qualification as a solicitor and barrister is still the most common, however many of our graduates go on to work in the area of media, banking, the civil service, working in NGOs and international organisations. Solicitor and barrister training still mandates the completion of a course of legal professional education at either the Law Society of Ireland (solicitors) or the Honorable Society of King’s Inns (barristers).
Solicitors are professionally trained to provide clients with skilled legal advice and representation on all legal matters. Most solicitors work in private practice, but, increasingly solicitors are employed in an advisory capacity as in-house counsel in the financial, commercial and industrial sectors, as well as in legal roles across the public sector and civil society.
Upon completion of the LL.B. at Griffith College, students must complete eight FE1 exams to gain entry to the Law Society. This is followed by a two-year apprenticeship and a completion of a course of education at the Law Society of Ireland at Blackhall Place in Dublin.
Solicitors have a very wide range of different functions:
- A solicitor may give legal advice about non-contentious matters, such as buying a house or flat or drafting a will.
- A solicitor may act as your agent or representative in commercial transactions.
- Your solicitor may also give you legal advice and represent you in relation to a dispute or disagreement that you have with another party, for example, a family dispute or a dispute with your employer or your neighbour.
- A solicitor may give you legal advice about taking or defending a case. If you have been involved in an accident, for example, a road traffic accident or an accident at work.
- If you are involved in a court case, your solicitor will manage the case and represent you when dealing with the other party. For example, your solicitor will send letters to the other side on your behalf. Your solicitor will file all of the necessary court documents and contact the witnesses for the case.
- If it is necessary to involve a barrister in the case, your solicitor will "brief" the barrister by sending him/her all of the necessary documents and information
- Your solicitor may also actually represent you in court, although in the High Court and the Supreme Court, a barrister will usually be engaged.
Unlike barristers, solicitors are allowed to join together to form partnerships or companies and they are permitted to advertise their services.
Barristers are professional advocates who deal with court work at all levels. Barristers specialise in providing an advisory and/or advocacy service for which they are briefed by a solicitor (or professional body). A barrister (also called "counsel") is a type of lawyer who specialises in court advocacy and the giving of legal opinion.
After your LL.B. degree you must pass five entrance exams to enter the King’s Inns and commence a one-year (full-time) or two-year (part-time) Barrister-at-Law Degree at the King’s Inns. Upon successful completion of this Degree, one is "called to the Bar". To practise as a barrister, entrants must complete a year of "devilling", which is the equivalent of an apprenticeship for barristers where barristers work under the supervision of a more senior colleague for a period of at least one year.
Barristers have a wide range of different functions:
• Barristers draft legal opinions on contentious and non-contentious legal matters.
• Barrister draft legal documents (writs or pleadings) which must be filed in a case, as well as legal submissions to the court, and when the case comes to trial, it is the barrister who will advocate for the client in court, speak on your behalf and argue your case before the judge.
• Barristers may also who negotiate settlements and mediate disputes.