Barristers give specialist legal advice, advising solicitors and representing people in court, at tribunals and in public inquiries.
Recently, a number of barristers have been involved in challenging the legality of the lockdowns in the UK and identifying if the massive spending of the Government on things like brokers to purchase PPE is justified. There will be some interesting court cases to look out for in the future, as so many groups and individuals are unhappy with the Government response to the current crisis. It would seem that being a barrister is a career worth checking out!
Average salary (a year)
£12,000 Starter to £250,000 Experienced
How to become a barrister
You can get into this job through:
- a university course
- working towards this role
- do a law degree
- do a non-law degree followed by the Graduate Diploma in Law
You would then complete a period of professional training which includes:
- the one-year Bar Professional Training Course
- a follow-on year of practical training, called a pupillage
To get into some universities you’ll need to pass the Law National Aptitude Test (LNAT).
You’ll usually need:
- 2 to 3 A levels, or equivalent, for a degree
- equivalent entry requirements
- student finance for fees and living costs
- university courses and entry requirements
You could start your career by working in a law firm or the law department of an organisation.
With support from your employer, you could complete a qualification like the Level 6 Professional Higher Diploma in Law through the Chartered Institute of Legal Executives.
Solicitors can apply to become barristers by approval of the Bar Standards Board and sitting a Bar Transfer Test.
Professional and industry bodies
You could join The Bar Council, for professional development, training opportunities and to make industry contacts.
What it takes
Skills and knowledge
- legal knowledge including court procedures and government regulations
- knowledge of English language
- excellent verbal communication skills
- active listening skills
- analytical thinking skills
- the ability to read English
- to be thorough and pay attention to detail
- the ability to think clearly using logic and reasoning
- to be able to use a computer and the main software packages confidently
Restrictions and Requirements
You’ll need to:
- pass background checks
What you’ll do
Your day-to-day duties could include:
- having meetings with clients and taking on cases (briefs)
- researching the law relating to previous similar cases
- reading witness statements and reports
- offering advice and providing written legal opinion
- negotiating settlements out of court
- preparing legal arguments and getting briefs ready for court
- cross-examining witnesses and presenting the case to the judge and jury
- summing up the case
You could work in a court, at chambers or in an office.
Your working environment may be emotionally demanding.
Career path and progression
With experience you could find employment with firms supplying legal services in commerce, finance or industry. You could lead a team or move into general management.
You could also apply to become a Queen’s Counsel (QC), a judge or an ombudsman.