A career as a barrister


A career at the Bar is a challenge, but we are here to help. We provide support to all those wishing to become barristers; and we can also involve you in related activities.

Self-employed barristers are generally instructed by solicitors, however direct access is becoming more widely available and members of the public may instruct certain barristers directly. Self-employed barristers join chambers to which they pay rent for their office space and other administrative services. Employed or in-house barrister work for government departments or agencies such as the Crown Prosecution Service, law firms and other large companies.

The rules of the Bar training and qualifying as a barrister are continuously changing.  Find out more here.  In the same way the rules of pupillage training are changing. Read more here.


Knowledge of the law is not sufficient  

Law degrees and the Bar training generally entail learning about the law and its applications. Knowledge on other essential elements, such as human behaviour including free will, human memory and biases – is not part of the curriculum. While knowledge of the law and its applications is an essential component of the knowledge required to becoming a good lawyer, it is not sufficient, including because laws, being created (not real), do not equip you with real knowledge – knowledge that can be useful in understanding essential components of the justice system. For example, knowledge of laws will not provide you with an understanding of how the legal system works, or psychological/mind realities interfering with the justice process. To become a good lawyer you will need to gain knowledge in other areas of life, and particularly in those most relevant, such as Psychology and Genetics (read more here…).

Routes to becoming a practising barrister

  1. A qualifying law degree + Bar Professional Training Course (BPTC) + joining an Inn of Court + 12 compulsory dinning sessions + pupillage; or
  2. A qualifying degree (any) + Graduate Diploma in Law + BPTC + joining an Inn of Court + 12 compulsory dinning sessions + pupillage
You will be Called to the Bar by the Inn of Court you join (generally on commencement of the BPTC). On completion of pupillage, you will need to secure a place in Chambers. For detailed report on how to join a leading set of chambers, click here .

Cross-qualifying / Qualifying from Overseas

Cross-qualifying form overseas is possible depending on where you are qualified. The route, price etc. depend on your circumstances.  Click here for more information.

Joining chambers as a Foreign Lawyer

You can also join a set of chambers as a foreign lawyer. Requirement are insurance and the Head of Chambers need to notify the BSB also confirming undertaking by foreign lawyer to conform with BSB regulations. Barrister Job Sites


Which Inn of Court?

Inns of court have some differences which are best explored by visiting the Inns of Court and doing some general research. These differences, however, are unlikely to make any difference in relation to qualifying as a barrister, unless special circumstances apply. Click Inns of Court Compared for more information.

Further selected information on Careers


Undergraduate – work experience and internships

  • TARGETjobs ⇒ Find graduate jobs by searching different industry sectors: https://targetjobs.co.uk/
  • AllAboutLaw ⇒ Law jobs, courses & advice all in one place: http://allaboutlaw.co.uk/
  • AllAboutCareers ⇒ Career exploration, jobs & advice: http://www.allaboutcareers.com/
  • Grad dairy ⇒ Features the largest database of graduate jobs in the UK for sectors including banking, accounting, law, consultancy and finance. They offer a completely free online resource helping students apply for graduate jobs: http://www.graddiary.com/
  • Bright Network ⇒ Be part of the exclusive careers network just for Times Top 20 & Russell Group students: http://www.brightnetwork.co.uk/
  • Aspiring Solicitors ⇒ This organisation is committed to increasing diversity in the legal profession, for more information: https://www.aspiringsolicitors.co.uk/
  • Law firm websites ⇒ first year insight schemes, vacation schemes and training contracts
  • Barrister Chambers websites ⇒ mini pupillages/pupillages

Paralegal Job Sites

  • Institute of Paralegals ⇒ Their role as the representative body for paralegals is not to sell expensive training, but instead to help people who want to become professional paralegals with a serious legal career. They identify, verify and certify professional paralegals so that their experience and expertise will be recognised by clients, employers, other legal professionals and government: http://www.theiop.org/
  • National Association of Licenced Paralegals ⇒ ALP is a non-profit Membership Body as well as being the only Paralegal body that is recognised as an awarding organisation by Ofqual (the regulator of qualifications in England & Wales). Through its training arm, NALP Training, accredited recognised professional paralegal qualifications are offered for a career as a paralegal professional: http://www.nationalparalegals.co.uk/
  • Paralegal vacancies are generally not well advertised so a good approach is to submit your CV to firms or organisations which you are interested in working for

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