Question: Is it wiser to become an attorney or an advocate?
An advocate is a court and procedural specialist. Very few people succeed at being advocates, as they rely on attorneys to brief them. I suspect this will remain so under the new Act, despite the allowance of some advocates to then be briefed directly.
An advocate must litigate to survive.
As an attorney, I prefer to settle matters outside of court, and can make money drafting things like contracts. I deal directly with the public and set about solving their various problems, and disputes, and advising them of their rights and remedies in terms of the law, and assisting them as regards such.
If you have any conflict between the two, become an attorney. That said, even that is a very difficult route. It doesn't involve a year without money, which new advocates must endure, if they become pupils. However, it is take no prisoners, candidate attorneys often earn a pittance, and many entry level legal jobs pay slaves' wages, and overwork the associates involved.
Success can be found in both the bar and the attorney's profession, but you will fight for your dinner every night.
I could not see myself doing anything else, but unless you have the killer instinct and the ability to harm in a lawful and self controlled manner, don't become either. Rather then be a legal advisor or countless other jobs.
Question: What is the difference between an attorney and an advocate?
An attorney is a general practitioner of the law, who interacts with and is briefed by the public. They do everything from giving general legal advice, to the drafting of wills and contracts.
Most matters an attorney deals with never make it to court. We are like your doctor, who you see when you are ill. An advocate is a trial specialist. They specifically specialise in the procedure and process of court.
Many advocates even draft court notices for their attorneys, and in the case of High Court, appear for their attorneys, and co-sign the pleadings, unless an attorney has Right of Appearance in the High Court.
An advocate is briefed by an attorney, and the attorney deals with all the privileges of being someone dealing with the general public.
In terms of the new Legal Practice Act, an advocate will be able to be briefed directly by the public if they set up a trust account and follow those sorts of requirements. However, most advocates are unlikely to do so, because attorneys are less likely to use them at court, if they are competing with them.
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