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Advocates give advice about legal cases to their professional clients and may represent clients in court. There are more than 400 Advocates in Scotland and the legal system is different in Scotland from other parts of the United Kingdom.
In Advocate Jobs, you will be an expert in the law, and in arguing people's cases in court. You might go on to undertake further training and become something called a Solicitor Advocate. As a Solicitor Advocate, you will have a more direct relationship with clients than Advocates.
Before a court case begins, you will spend a long time making sure your arguments are as strong as possible. In court, you'll present all the facts, ask the witnesses questions and say why the court should decide that their client is right.
The amount of time you will spend in court depends on the type of case you are dealing with. For example, work involving trusts may mean giving written advice and spending only a little time in court.
To become an Advocate, you'll need to be able to:
- understand complicated arguments, often in a short space of time
- use plain English when writing reports and when explaining issues to clients
- present cases clearly and confidently
Requirements for Advocate Jobs
Advocates are responsible for talking to professional people and are required to give written legal opinions. Many Advocates are responsible for reading law reports and witness statements to prepare for court cases. All legal Advocates are responsible for representing clients in court. They need to have academic ability and a good memory, excellent spoken communications skills and be confident and able to think logically.
Training to become an Advocate in Scotland
You might go on to undertake further training and become something called a Solicitor Advocate. As a Solicitor Advocate, you will have a more direct relationship with clients than Advocates.
Advocates need a degree in Scottish Law plus a postgraduate diploma. All Advocates must work for 21 months in a solicitor's office and serve nine and a half months' pupilage.
Many find it is a very competitive and often costly process, as at each stage of training there are more Advocate applicants than places, and once qualified Advocate can find it hard to secure a tenancy in chambers.
The working hours are generally long, and most work evenings and weekends. Advocates work in offices called chambers. Their average salary is £32,500.
They are members of the Advocates' Library in Edinburgh. Advocates who specialise in criminal work spend a lot of their time in court and many spend time travelling. They may find that after 10 to 15 years' experience they may apply ‘to take silk' (to become a Queen's Counsel), which is necessary to become a Court of Session judge or High Court judge.
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