Careers - Barristers
About being a Barrister
A Barrister's main role is to be an advocate in court. The amount of time spent doing this depends on the area of law you decide to practice in. Outside of court the give specialised legal advice and opinions as well as drafting court documents.
Qualifying as a Barrister is highly competitive and expensive. Once you graduate with a qualifying law degree or conversion course, you then apply for the “Bar Practioner Training Course” or “BPTC”. The cost of this is anywhere between £14,000 - £18,500, depending on what part of the country you choose to study in.
There is funding available from Inns of Court, which may cover all or part of this cost. However there are only 100 scholarships per year available. Gaining a scholarship is a good prediction of whether you will gain a “Pupillage”. A “Pupillage” is the required practical training to qualify as a practising barrister and lasts one year. In the first 6 months you work with and shadow other barristers at your chambers. During the second 6 months you begin to take on your own clients in low level cases e.g. at the magistrates court.
Gaining a Pupillage is where the Bar becomes most competitive. In 2011/2012 1,600 students studied the BPTC, however there was only 395 Pupillages available. Therefore each year there becomes a bottle neck of students from previous years applying for Pupillage. The main pit fall to this is that the BPTC can expire after 5 years if you do not practice within that time.
But if you have strong academics (2:2s need not apply), good written and oral skills, a flair for advocacy and solid communication skills then the Bar may be the career for you.