A Solicitor Advocate is a solicitor who has had extra training, so he or she can appear on behalf of their clients in all the courts in Scotland. Most solicitors can only appear in some of the courts in Scotland.
Solicitor Advocates are regulated and trained by the Law Society of Scotland. The technical description is that solicitor advocates are solicitors who have been granted extended rights of audience before the superior courts in Scotland: The Court of Session in civil cases; the High Court of Justiciary in criminal cases; and the Supreme Court and Judicial Committee of the Privy Council in London.
This means that they can represent clients in the higher courts in the United Kingdom, alongside barristers and advocates.
Solicitor Advocates work with a case from start to finish and will work on almost all aspects of a case. Solicitor Advocates would usually be part of a team and work for a firm, where they would be acting on behalf of the client across all levels including research, attending meetings, preparing the court work and appearing in court.
Depending on the area you want to work in, you must undertake and pass either the Civil or Criminal Rights of Audience training in order to qualify. Find out more about obtaining rights of audience.
Solicitor advocates are solicitors first and foremost, which means they have a general initial training in all areas of law and in dealing with clients, before deciding to specialise in court work. After gaining experience in court, solicitors can then take extra advocacy training and sit more exams. If successful the solicitors' rights of audience are extended, allowing them to represent clients in the highest courts in Scotland and the UK.
- Being involved in all areas of a case from start to finish develops a strong client solicitor relationship. Building trust is a key component when taking cases to court. Working as part of a case from end to end will develop a range of communication skills.
- Support from a firm while training, working within an organisation with access to CPD, training and networking without having to leave full time work to take the traditional ‘devilling’ route.
- Ability to charge competitive rates when competing with other law firms, having the added qualification and ability to appear in court on behalf of your clients.
- Personal development, training and learning in a more specialist area while working as a solicitor will develop skills in a range of areas including; time management, communication and client service.
"As an Associate at Simpson and Marwick (now Clyde and Co) I specialised in personal injury defender litigation, but was keen to expand my expertise, not only to provide me with more challenge but also to allow me to progress in my legal career. I had extensive court experience so decided I would attempt to qualify as a solicitor advocate. The course was demanding: I required to sit a number of exams, attend weekend courses, sit in on numerous hearings at the Court of Session and prepare and deliver an oral submission in front of two Court of Session judges, at the same time as continuing to deliver good service in my demanding day job. The hard work was worth it, and I qualified. I started to receive instructions from colleagues to appear in court, at pre-trial meetings and prepare written pleadings, over and above my existing case load. It was a challenge and time management became very important, but I was exposed to a far greater variety of litigation. I have no regrets about qualifying and would recommend the course to anyone who is looking to enhance their court skill set."