Solicitor Rōia

Solicitors give legal advice, prepare legal documents and study the details of legal arguments.

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Solicitors need to be registered with the New Zealand Law Society and hold a current practising certificate.

Patent attorneys need to be registered with the Intellectual Property Office.

Solicitors may do some or all of the following:

  • give legal advice to clients, including families, businesses and individuals
  • research and study details of the law and examine legal arguments
  • prepare legal documents such as wills and affidavits
  • prepare and advise on paperwork for property or business deals
  • handle clients' funds
  • instruct barristers to appear in court on behalf of clients.

Becoming a patent attorney

To become a patent attorney you must register with the New Zealand Intellectual Property Office of New Zealand (IPONZ) and complete a number of approved courses.

Useful Experience

Useful experience for solicitors includes:

  • general legal work
  • research work
  • public sector experience.

Personal Qualities

Solicitors need to be:

  • analytical
  • able to think on their feet
  • good at working under pressure
  • ethical, responsible and able to keep information private
  • good problem-solvers
  • well organised
  • good communicators.

Skills

Solicitors need to have:

  • knowledge of New Zealand laws and the legal system
  • knowledge of the way courts work
  • legal research skills
  • skill in researching, interpreting, analysing and evaluating information
  • negotiating skills
  • writing skills.

Conditions

Solicitors:

  • usually work regular business hours but may need to work evenings and weekends doing research
  • work in offices and courts
  • may travel to attend conferences and meetings.

Solicitors can earn around $44K-$45K per year.

Pay for solicitors varies depending on their experience, what organisation they work for, and what region they work in.

  • Graduate solicitors usually earn $44,000 to $45,000 a year.
  • Solicitors with two to four years' experience usually earn $45,000 to $70,000.
  • Solicitors with more than three years' experience usually earn $70,000 to $250,000.

Source: Robert Walters, 'Global Salary Survey', 2017.

Solicitors may progress to set up their own practice or they may become an associate or a partner of the firm they work for.

Solicitors may specialise in:

  • competitions and corporate law
  • criminal law
  • environment and resource management
  • human rights
  • intellectual property
  • public law
  • property
  • tax
  • Treaty of Waitangi.

Solicitors may also specialise as a:

Patent Attorney
Patent attorneys advise on intellectual property and setting up patents, and help prosecute people who copy someone's patented work.

Years Of Training

3-4 years of training usually required

Becoming a solicitor

To become a solicitor you need to:

  • complete a Bachelor of Laws degree (LLB)
  • complete a Professional Legal Studies Course
  • get a completion certificate from the New Zealand Council of Legal Education
  • get a certificate of character from the Law Society
  • be admitted to the roll of Barristers and Solicitors of the High Court of New Zealand
  • hold a current practising certificate issued by the Law Society.
Solicitor

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