When you hear the words lawyer and barrister, what comes to mind? Scenes from Law & Order and Suits? Or do you think men and women in slick business attire, wearing wigs and gowns ready to do battle in the courts?

Not many people understand the difference between lawyers and barristers. On one side of the spectrum, there are those who believe they are radically different while on the other hand, some believe they are exactly the same. In the middle are those who who sit on the fence, unsure if they are different.

What is the difference between a Lawyer and a Barrister?

Although we often hear the words barrister and lawyer used interchangeably, there is actually a difference between the two. Specifically, barristers are lawyers who specialise in court litigation while lawyers can refer to both barristers or solicitors.

What is a Lawyer?

In Australia, a lawyer is the broad term referring to any person who has been admitted to the legal profession either as a barrister or solicitor. Lawyers tend to focus on and build experience in certain areas of law. For example, you can find:

For small businesses seeking legal services, a business lawyer would be helpful. He or she would be responsible for drafting contracts, the protection of intellectual property, the filing of defamation suits, providing advice on regulatory issues and other legal services associated with the client’s business processes while a property lawyer would be focused on the conveyancing of property transactions.

If you are seeking to hire a lawyer, LawPath can help you with its extensive network of lawyers.

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What is a Barrister?

When legal issues escalate into the court system, special lawyers called barristers are engaged. These lawyers engage in litigation, advising on the outcome of cases and the strategic elements of running a court case. They are also involved in the drafting of documents related to court cases. As a court advocate, they will conduct court appearances, presenting their client’s case, arguing points of law and evidence while examining the witnesses.

Essentially, a barrister is a lawyer, but a lawyer is not necessarily a barrister.


In short, if you need legal guidance, contact a lawyer. LawPath recommends contacting experienced lawyers to discuss your legal needs.

Need legal help? Contact a LawPath consultant on 1800LAWPATH for advice and obtain a fixed-fee quote from our largest online network of expert lawyers or to get answers to your legal questions.

Ricky Chan

Ricky is a Paralegal working in our content team which aims to provide free legal guides to facilitate public access to legal resources. With a keen interest in contract law, his primary research focuses on small businesses, and how they can better navigate complex legal procedures.