This article focuses on the difference between an Advocate and a Lawyer in Kenya. Many people have been using the two terms as synonyms. However, the two are very different from each other. An advocate may be a lawyer but a lawyer may not be an advocate.
A lawyer is a legal professional who has attended law school and successfully obtained a Bachelor of Law (LLB) degree. The term may be used to designate anyone in the legal field. On the other hand, an advocate is a step ahead of a lawyer.
An advocate goes beyond the degree level and has to enrol at the Kenya School of Law for a postgraduate diploma in legal studies. The school is located on Karen-Langata South Road in Nairobi. For one to practice as an advocate, he/she must be admitted to the bar and be a member of the Law Society of Kenya.
Being admitted to the bar is not a walk in the park. It goes way beyond undertaking a postgraduate diploma in legal studies at the Kenya School of Law. You must undertake a pupillage for about six months under an advocate of at least five years experience in institutions recognised by the Council of Legal Education.
After that, you petition the Chief Justice on the recommendation of the Law Society of Kenya, after which you are admitted to the bar and your name entered in the roll of advocates.
The major distinction between the two is that a lawyer is not eligible to represent a client in the court of law, speak on behalf of a client or plead the client’s case. Only advocates represent clients in courts. Lawyers can only offer legal advice.