A solicitor is a type of lawyer. To become a solicitor, you must complete an apprenticeship of at least 2 years and you must pass exams set by the Law Society at Blackhall Place in Dublin. (See 'how to apply' below).
Solicitors have a very wide range of different functions:
Unlike barristers, solicitors are allowed to join together to form partnerships or companies and they are allowed to advertise their services.
Solicitors do not have to wear any special clothes when in court. If there is a barrister involved in the case, the solicitor will usually sit facing the barrister in the bench under the judge. If the barrister needs a matter to be clarified, he or she can then lean over to ask the solicitor.
The Law Society sets down rules and regulations about how solicitors may conduct their business. There is a Disciplinary Tribunal, which can investigate any allegations of misconduct made against a solicitor.
Read more about making a complaint about a solicitor in Ireland here.
Complaints about solicitors provided by the Legal Aid Board should be made as per the Legal Aid Board's complaints procedure.
Solicitors' rates and fees vary greatly. Your solicitor is under an obligation to explain to you how much his or her fees will be before you engage him or her to act on your behalf.
Many solicitors take on cases on a "no foal, no fee" basis. This means that you will not be charged a fee by your solicitor if you do not win the case. This is most common in personal injuries cases, i.e., where you have been injured in an accident.
You can read more about solicitor's fees in the Law Society's leaflet: Information in relation to legal charges (pdf).
Read more about how to become a solicitor in Ireland here. If you are a qualified lawyer from another jurisdiction (that is, outside Ireland), find out how to convert your qualifications to practice as a solicitor in Ireland.
If you have a question relating to this topic you can contact the Citizens Information Phone Service on 0761 07 4000 (Monday to Friday, 9am to 8pm) or you can visit your local Citizens Information Centre.