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Day In The Life

The Paper Chase

Author: Christopher Green

“The minute you read something that you can’t understand, you can almost be sure that it was drawn up by a lawyer.” —Will Rogers

Will Rogers was indeed an astute man, to have pinpointed so succinctly a lawyer’s life’s blood: the drafting, revising, reviewing and critiquing of legal documents.

In a rule-based society, somebody has to write the rules, in the form of contracts, agreement, by-laws, resolutions, and such, and someone has to interpret them, and then, of course, someone has to figure out how to bend them, and universally, those tasks are the work of lawyers. In Canada, as in much of the British Commonwealth, the paper-pushers of the legal profession are called Solicitors.

In British Columbia, lawyers receive two diplomas, one entitling them to appear in court, as a barrister, and one adding their names to the solicitors’ rolls, allowing them to prepare and file legal documents. On their business cards they are referred to as “Barristers & Solicitors’ although, in practice, most lawyers tend to practice in one of these two divisions of the profession.

Thus, a day in the life of a solicitor involves the drafting of wills and powers of attorney, and advising clients concerning their ‘end of life ‘planning, preparing the court documents necessary to probate estates, and facilitating commercial transactions by preparing contracts that ensure the business deal accurately reflects the wishes of the parties and is legally enforceable.

Solicitors are always involved in real estate transactions, searching titles, reviewing easements, rights of way and restrictive covenants, and the drafting of transfers and mortgages, as well as safeguarding and facilitating the flow of funds.

So, whenever your favorite Hollywood star quips ‘I’ll have my lawyer draw up the papers” another long day for a solicitor begins.