Graduate Job Profile - Barrister

Barristers provide legal advice to solicitors and other professional such as architects who consult them on behalf of their clients. They may represent individuals and organisations in court or at tribunal.

A lot of time is spent collecting facts and figures relating to the case including statements and legal reports, and if necessary talking with the client. In court Barristers present the case and cross-examine witnesses. They try to convince the court to support their case by summing up all the relevant material. Barristers have the right to appear in the higher courts. The main areas of law that barristers are involved in are Common Law and Chancery Law.

Barristers are mostly self-employed. However, some work for commercial employers, or in local or central government.

You must have an approved law degree (minimum 2:2) or a non-approved degree (minimum 2:2) followed by either a law conversion course such as the Common Professional Examination (CPE) or a Postgraduate Diploma in Law (PgDL). Vocational stage of training is undertaken after your degree. During the first three years of practice, you must obtain a tenancy in a set of chambers, or work with another barrister who has at least five years' experience.

After a number of years practising as a barrister, one may apply 'to take silk' or become a Queen's Counsel, which is necessary in order to become a Court of Session judge or High Court judge.

Initially during pupillage most barristers receive around £10,000, although some may get as much as £20,000. The majority of practising barristers are self-employed and earn between £19,000 and £260,000 a year. Barristers employed by the Crown Prosecution Service, earn between £21,506 and £55,088.

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