Text 2. The Legal Profession
I. Read and translate the following text.
In Britain, there are two kinds of lawyers: solicitors and barristers. Nowadays, the division between solicitors and barristers is quite vague, but generally their functions in law are supposed to be different.
Solicitors give legal advice on matters which do not necessarily come to court, such as buying a home, renting out one's property, renting a home, making a will, getting a divorce, resolving problems at work, setting up a business. They also prepare cases for barristers to conduct in court.
Barristers specialise in advocacy - the art of presenting cases in court. They work mainly in courts and tribunals. Their work includes presenting evidence, representing parties in criminal trials, handling domestic disputes in Family Courts, dealing with civil claims for damages and compensation.
Solicitors give initial legal advice, while barristers represent clients in court in both civil and criminal cases.
Solicitors specialise in different areas of law. It can be said that they know a little about all. Barristers, on the contrary, know much about a certain aspect of law, in other words, they give specialist advice on detailed legal issues.
The relationship between solicitors and barristers is very much like the relationship between family doctors and specialist consultants in medicine. The solicitor can always choose for his client the best qualified barrister in a specialist area.
Unlike solicitors, barristers do not practice in partnerships. They may share offices (which they call Chambers) with other barristers, but it is a sharing of expenses only, not of income.
The number of barristers practicing in England and Wales is 14,000, while the number of solicitors is 92,753.
In the American legal profession, there is no division into solicitors and barristers. An American lawyer is both a counselor and an advocate for his client. A lawyer in the United States is often called an "attorney" which may be referred to a judge, a prosecuting counsel and a defence counsel, so its meaning in each particular case is revealed from the context. Usually, lawyers concentrate on a certain practice area, e.g., taxation, intellectual property, protection of the environment, etc.
In the United States, careers in Law Enforcement, such as Private and Criminal Detectives, FBI agents, Police officers and Customs officers are possible after obtaining a Criminal Justice degree.
As can be seen from the text, there are many words in the English language which may denote a lawyer: an advocate, an attorney, a barrister, a solicitor. In different countries or at a different time, these words may have different meanings. For example, formerly, the word "attorney" was used in England to denote solicitors. In the United States, the word "solicitor" denotes a door-to-door salesman. A special notice "No solicitors" with a crossed circle in the middle can be seen there to discourage door-to-door salesmen. Anyway, it will be good to remember that there is more than one word to denote a lawyer in English, and that the general meaning of the word "lawyer" throughout the world is someone who has legal knowledge or who is engaged in the practice of law.
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