Barrister

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

Salary range: £12,000 to £250,000

How to become a barrister

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

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.

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.

What it takes

Skills and knowledge

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

Restrictions and requirements

You’ll need to:

What you’ll do

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.

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.

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