Counsel / Berufsbezeichnung

The various uses of the word counsel are confusing enough to those new to common-law countries without Allen & Overy creating a new definition.

In England and Wales, counsel means a barrister (two counsel – no s on the plural – means two barristers). In the USA too, the term applies to a lawyer in court. But the words of counsel after a lawyer’s name mean something different: that the lawyer is a consultant to the firm, for example, or assisted in a matter without being the main lawyer in the case.

But at Allen & Overy, according to RollOnFriday:

The track to partnership stays the same, but an alternative role of “counsel” will be available to a very limited number of senior associates. They can expect to earn between £150,000 and £230,000 basic, again with a bonus of up to £50,000 on top.

Another term new to me is PSL or professional support lawyer. Here is a definition from the mysteriously named British Law site:

The role of Professional Support Lawyer (PSL) was established more than 10 years ago and utilised the skills of lawyers looking for reduced hours (often female lawyers). Support work is now a career in its own right, and PSL’s may even achieve partnership in law firms. Most PSL’s play a part in a firm-wide support function, while others join specialist departments such as corporate and commercial property. New areas of work now include support for IT projects.

4 thoughts on “Counsel / Berufsbezeichnung

  1. In wonder if the RollOnFriday blog has got it slightly wrong, ie that the alternative role is not “of counsel” but of “of counsel”, as it were. This harks back to your own posting last year Margaret on the “of counsel” title.

  2. PSLs (no apostrophe methinks) certainly look as if doing actively more than locums.

    BTW – as Eng. Bar Examiners used to moan about – initial caps, no article, def. or indef., (quaere a Counsel once quipped) and no plural for Counsel as a Barrister.

    of counsel i.e. as an inhouse non-Barrister adviser is inconsistently written with initial or caps or otherwise. I doubt the actual legal qual. can be extrapolated from such spelling trivia.

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