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Summary of occupation

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.

ANZSCO description: Provides legal advice, prepares and drafts  legal documents, and conducts negotiations on behalf of clients on  matters associated with the law. Registration or licensing is  required.
Alternative names: Attorney, Barrister, Lawyer
Specialisations: Criminal Lawyer, Family Lawyer, Immigration Lawyer
Job prospects: Average
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Knowledge, skills and attributes

A Solicitor needs:

  • excellent communication skills
  • the ability to work well under pressure
  • to be comfortable dealing with people from a wide variety of backgrounds
  • the ability to keep client's information private and confidential
  • the ability to make decisions quickly and with flexibility
  • a high level of integrity
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Working conditions

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.

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Salary details

Graduate solicitors can expect to earn between $769 and $1 346 per week ($40 000 to $70 000 per year), depending on the organisation they work for. With experience their earning potential may increase substantially.

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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.

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Education and training/entrance requirements

To become a solicitor you need to complete a degree in law.

All universities in Western Australia offer relevant courses. Contact the universities you are interested in for more information.

To work as a solicitor in Western Australia, you must complete Practical Legal Training as specified by the Legal Practice Board of Western Australia and then apply to the Supreme Court for admission as a solicitor. Contact the Legal Practice Board of Western Australia for more information.

Related courses

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Apprenticeships and traineeships

As an apprentice or trainee, you enter into a formal training contract with an employer. You spend most of your time working and learning practical skills on the job and you spend some time undertaking structured training with a registered training provider of your choice. They will assess your skills and when you are competent in all areas, you will be awarded a nationally recognised qualification.

If you are still at school you can access an apprenticeship through your school. You generally start your school based apprenticeship by attending school three days a week, spending one day at a registered training organisation and one day at work. Talk to your school's VET Co-ordinator to start your training now through VET in Schools. If you get a full-time apprenticeship you can apply to leave school before reaching the school leaving age.

If you are no longer at school you can apply for an apprenticeship or traineeship and get paid while you learn and work.

Related apprenticeships

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Recognition of prior learning

If you think you already have some of the skills or competencies, obtained either through non-formal or informal learning, you may be able to gain credit through recognition of prior learning.

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