Advocates & Solicitors

The legal profession is filled with various types of practitioners, from paralegals to lawyers to judges. If you’re looking for a full-fledged career as a lawyer you should definitely consider and understand what a lawyer in Malaysia does.

The profession in Malaysia is known as a ‘fused profession : To understand what this means, you should know what exactly has been fused together to create the Malaysian lawyer. Like much of the law, the term ‘advocate and solicitor’ is inherited from the British legal system which itself is hundreds of years old. This separation of skill sets is characterised as being a ‘split profession.

To understand the process, we must begin with the solicitor’s role. Solicitors are qualified lawyers who deal with the public in offering all aspects of legal advice and representation of their cases. Good solicitors undertake the job, consult with their client, do the research, gather the documentation and provide other services.

In the case of a dispute between two parties, their work may result in a case being amicably solved by settlement or by arbitration from a third party.

However, the big question is what if a case ends up going to court?

Thus, an advocate - as the name suggests - is someone who takes on the courtroom aspects of legal work on behalf of the solicitor.

Often they are appointed by the solicitor and will get briefed on the necessary aspects of a case. Because of this, advocates rarely work with members of the public and may only meet and consult with the individual they are representing just once or twice before the court case. Instead, they will get all the information they need from the solicitor that has passed the case on to them.

Advocates are perhaps famous for being the ones who wear robes. In the UK and Ireland, advocates are known as barristers.

In some countries, notably the US, Canada, New Zealand, most Australian states, Singapore and Malaysia, the roles of advocates/barristers and solicitors are combined, i.e. it is a ‘fused profession.’

Lawyers in this case may call themselves ‘barristers and solicitors’, or in the case of the US, call themselves ‘attorneys: They simply cover the entire scope of work in representing their clients.

If you enjoy all forms of legal research, case reading, case analysis, working with people and also enjoy problem-solving, then becoming a solicitor would be ideal for you. It provides for a wide scope of working conditions and exposure to clients of all kinds.

If you would like to work in the court system and be a part of the judicial process, being an advocate/barrister will be something you would enjoy. Advocates should ideally have excellent presentation skills and be skilled in the art of persuasion, and these skills can be learnt throughout law school.

In Malaysia, the role of a lawyer entails both office work and court appearances, blending various responsibilities into one. If you're inclined towards this path, versatility is key. You must possess research capabilities alongside adept oratory skills for courtroom settings.

Alternatively, you can opt for specialising in corporate or conveyancing law, where court appearances are not obligatory. This avenue could be ideal for you if litigation isn't your cup of tea.

The integrated nature of the profession may intensify your workload, yet it also amplifies your sense of fulfillment. Lawyers typically invest extensive hours in their careers, gradually ascending to senior roles within the firm with accrued experience.

As a senior member, elevation to partner status becomes attainable, accompanied by bonuses and competitive remuneration. In Malaysia, proficiency often translates to swift advancement up the career ladder. A lawyer adept at effective courtroom representation swiftly garners reputation and demand. With the avenue of private practice also available, the trajectory of a lawyer's career is both thrilling and gratifying.

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Did You Know?

In the UK, all barristers are members of an Inn, and all lawyers, even in Malaysia, are called to the Bar. But just what do these terms mean? The Inns of Court (Lincoln’s Inn, Gray’s Inn, Middle Temple and Inner Temple) are professional associations that were established hundreds of years ago as places where lawyers lodged, trained and practiced their profession. The Bar refers to the division of a courtroom between the area where the judge and lawyers sit and where the public sit, and the actual dividing railing. It also refers to the legal profession itself.