A barrister is a professional lawyer who specializes in courtroom advocacy. They typically work in the courtroom, representing clients who are going to trial. There are several steps that must be taken in order to become a barrister, including completing an undergraduate degree, completing a one-year pupillage and passing the Bar Practice Course (BPC).
How can you become a barrister?
Bachelor of Laws (LLB)
The most popular degree that leads to becoming a barrister is the Bachelor of Laws (LLB), a three-year undergraduate degree that qualifies students to practice law. The LLB is an internationally recognised degree that opens up career paths in the public and private sectors of the legal profession.
There is a range of modules that future barristers must study to obtain their LLB degree. These include criminal law, contract law, and tort law. They must also complete legal research and writing modules, which will give them the skills they need to compile legal arguments and briefs.
Students typically also have to complete an internship or apprenticeship. This gives them the opportunity to gain practical experience in a legal setting.
LLB Law Online
The LLB Law Online degree can be studied online, which is ideal for those who want to continue working while they study. The modules are flexible, so you can choose the topics that interest you the most.
An Accelerated LLB is a course of study that allows students to complete their law degree in a shorter amount of time. This is done by incorporating modules into the course which allow students to focus on specific areas of law.
MA Law (Conversion)
The MA Law conversion is a postgraduate qualification designed for those who have already completed a non-law undergraduate degree and want to pursue a career in law.
Completing a MA Law conversion degree can provide students with the skills and knowledge they need become barristers. The programme also offers the opportunity to gain invaluable experience working with lawyers and other professionals in the legal field.
MA Law Online (Conversion)
The MA Law Online is a new, innovative way of studying law. It consists of a series of modules which can be studied at home or at work. There is no need to physically attend lectures or seminars; everything is available online. The course is also accredited by the Bar Standards Board, so it provides excellent training for barristers.
Graduate Diploma in Law (GDL)
This program is designed for non-law graduates who want to pursue a career in the legal field. A GDL typically takes one year to complete, and graduates are eligible to become barristers.
The program is structured so that the students can complete their studies in a shorter time than those who are studying for a master's degree or doctorate. The GDL is recognised by universities and employers across the UK and around the world.
Graduate Diploma in Law Online (GDL)
It covers the same ground as the full-time GDL, but students have more flexibility in how they study. The online GDL allows students to study at their own pace, and to take breaks if they need them. It is ideal for professionals or caregivers who want to become barristers.
Bar Practice Course (BPC)
This course is delivered by the Inns of Court School of Law, and is compulsory for all first-time entrants to the Bar.
The BPC comprises seven core modules: The Barrister's Role, Ethics and Professional Responsibility, Civil Litigation, Criminal Litigation, Advocacy, Evidence and Directions Hearings.
In addition, there are three elective modules which may be chosen from a range of options: Intellectual Property Law, Employment Law and Company Law. Students also learn how to research cases and present arguments in court.
It is important to note that not all graduates of an undergraduate law degree are eligible to do the BPC. This is a highly competitive course, with only around 20% of applicants being accepted.
Successful completion of the BPC is required before a person can be called to the Bar in England and Wales. The course is also recognised by other common law jurisdictions, such as Singapore and Malaysia.
What is the career path of a barrister?
Barristers employed by law firms are responsible for providing legal advice to clients, preparing cases for court, and representing clients in court. They typically specialize in one or more areas of law, such as family law, criminal law, or intellectual property law. Barristers work with solicitors and other legal professionals within the firm to provide a comprehensive legal service to clients.
Crown Prosecution Service and local authorities
CPS barristers work as defence counsel in criminal trials. This involves representing defendants who have been charged with a crime and ensuring that they receive a fair trial. Defence counsel may cross-examine prosecution witnesses and argue on their client's behalf in court.
In addition to prosecuting and defending individuals in criminal cases, barristers employed by the CPS also provide legal advice to the police and other law enforcement agencies. They may be involved in reviewing evidence and making decisions about whether or not to charge someone with a crime.
Barristers hired by local authorities can do a variety of things, but most commonly they act as legal advisors to the local authority. They may also be called upon to provide representation in court proceedings or to give legal advice to employees of the local authority.
In some cases, barristers may also be appointed as special advocates, which means that they are given access to sensitive information in order to protect the interests of their client (in this case, the local authority).
A barrister who works as parliamentary counsel may be involved in a wide range of legal work. This may include providing legal advice to parliamentarians and their staff, preparing legislation, and providing support during parliamentary debates. They may also be called upon to provide legal advice on matters relating to the executive branch of government.
The academic field employs barristers to teach law students or write legal articles. Some professionals choose to do both – they teach at university and also practice law. This gives them a unique perspective on the law, which can be beneficial for their students. Additionally, it allows them to share their expertise with the wider community.
Barristers who are self-employed generally have their own practice, which can include criminal law, family law, or civil law. They may also choose to specialize in a particular area of law. Self-employed barristers often work from home or in a small office.
They may represent clients in court and provide legal advice. Some self-employed barristers also work as mediators or arbitrators.
The advantages of being self-employed are freedom and flexibility. Barristers can choose their own hours and clients, and can easily fit work around other commitments.
What are the key responsibilities of a barrister?
There are many services that barristers can provide. One of the main services is acting as a legal advisor. This can be for someone who is looking to start a business and needs some guidance with the legal process, or for someone who is going through a divorce and needs help sorting out their legal rights.
Barristers can also represent clients in court, whether it's during a trial or in front of a judge during settlement negotiations. They can give expert legal advice on specific cases, and will have knowledge of the relevant laws that apply to that particular case.
Barristers often offer training sessions to businesses and organisations on various legal topics. This could be anything from data protection to employment law.
They also need to keep up to date with the latest changes in the law. This is because they must be able to provide the best possible representation for their clients, and be aware of any changes that could impact their case.
One way that barristers can stay informed and improve their knowledge is by attending professional development events. They can also read legal journals and keep an eye on the latest news stories related to the legal landscape.
Skills every barrister needs
The ability to think abstractly is a key skill for barristers. Abstract reasoning allows barristers to see the big picture and understand the relationships between different concepts. This enables them to analyse complex legal arguments and identify the relevant issues. Abstract reasoning skills are also essential for problem-solving and decision-making.
To be effective advocates, barristers need logical reasoning skills. This means being able to think clearly and logically, see the important issues in a case, and make sound arguments based on the facts and the law. Good logical reasoning skills are also important for writing legal briefs and other legal documents.
There was a time when a good legal argument could be based on nothing more than pure intuition and experience. However, with the increasing prevalence of scientific data in both civil and criminal trials, barristers need to be able to utilise numerical reasoning to make well-informed decisions. This involves understanding complex statistical information and being able to apply it in a clear and concise manner.
Barristers are required to use their situational judgement to provide the best legal advice possible. Situational judgement is the ability to make decisions in specific, unpredictable situations. This is important for barristers as they often have to make quick decisions in court, which can impact the outcome of a case.
Verbal reasoning is an essential skill for barristers. It enables them to analyse complex legal arguments and to present their cases clearly and effectively in court. Good verbal reasoning also helps barristers to respond quickly and effectively to questions from judges and opposing counsel, and to make persuasive speeches in support of their clients' cases.
The legal profession is one of the most competitive in the world. Barristers need to have excellent skills as their work can have a significant impact on people's lives. The best way to accomplish this is by practising aptitude tests which will help you develop the necessary skills to become an efficient barrister.