Solicitors give legal advice, prepare legal documents and study the details of legal arguments.
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 for solicitors includes:
- general legal work
- research work
- public sector experience.
Solicitors need to be:
- 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.
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.
- 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.
A tertiary entrance qualification is required to enter further training. Useful subjects include English, history and classical studies, social studies and te reo Māori.
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
- 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 Training3-4 years of training usually required
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.
- College of Law New Zealand website - information on the professional legal studies course
- Institute of Professional Legal Studies website - information on the professional legal studies course
- New Zealand Council of Legal Education website - information on the completion certificate
- New Zealand Law Society website - information on becoming a solicitor