Law

Barrister

Barristers give specialist legal advice, advising solicitors and representing people in court, at tribunals and in public inquiries.

Annual Salary

£12,000 to £250,000

Average UK salary in 2018 was £29,588
(source Office for National Statistics)

Working hours

36 to 38 a week

You could work: evenings / weekends;

What's it all about?

Day to day tasks

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

Working environment

You could work in a court, at chambers or in an office.

Your working environment may be emotionally demanding.

You can get into this job through:

  • a university course
  • working towards this role
University

You could:

  • 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).

Entry requirements

You'll usually need:

  • 2 to 3 A levels, or equivalent, for a degree
For more information
Work

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.

Requirements and restrictions

You'll need to:

More information

Professional and industry bodies

You could join The Bar Council, for professional development, training opportunities and to make industry contacts.

Further information

You can find out more about becoming a barrister from The Bar Council and All About Law.

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.

Pathways to law course at Bristol University

Complete University Guide - routes into law

How to become a barrister from all about law

The Beginner’s Guide to a Career in Law looks at how lawyers recruit, what they look for in candidates, what candidates need to do when, and how they can maximise their chances, both immediately and as time goes by.

The Law Apprenticeships Guide focuses on the different types of law apprenticeship available, the key skills required, and the pros and cons of undertaking an apprenticeship or going to university, with case studies from those who have done it.

Skills required and how your skills match up

What skills are required?

You'll need:

  • 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
  • customer service skills
  • to be able to use a computer and the main software packages confidently
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