On the BPTC you will be taught advocacy, writing proofs and advice and will have much more of a chance to start specialising. The 12 formal dinners at the Inns of Court can be substituted for training days, but the idea is to network and get to know other Barristers, especially when looking for pupillage.
- Barristers will belong to an Inn of Court and regularly attend many social and professional events there. The key to any successful career here is networking and particularly those wanting to be judges will need to have people who can vouch for their ability.
- A Barrister will also work in a chambers along with other Barristers. Mostly, the actual work tends to be their own but they will share the services of a clerk. The clerk tends to bring in most of the business for a Barrister so they are crucial.
- Barristers will refer to one another as ‘my learned friend’ in court and solicitors just as ‘my friend’, this is a traditional form of address which, like the outfit, is often seen as slightly outdated.
- Barristers may also work for the CPS (Criminal Prosecution Service) or GLS (Government Legal Services).
- Barristers are regulated by the Bar Standards Board (BSB), this has been since 2006 as before they were regulated far more by the Inns and the General Bar Council.
- The aim of the BSB is to regulate the Bar so as to promote high standards of practice and safeguard clients and the public interest.
- Since Arthur J.S Hall and Co. v Simons (2000) 3 AER 673 Barristers can be sued for malpractice. Until then the courts were against it as they worried that there would be a torrent of claimants suing just because they lost and were unhappy. However compared to other professions, such as medicine, this doesn’t happen. Therefore Barristers can be sued if it is shown loss has been suffered as a result of their negligence.
- Barristers also follow the Bar Code of Conduct which implements rules such as the Cab Rank Rule.
- Barristers provide specialist legal advice and represent their clients in courts and tribunals. The work is intellectually challenging in an intense and demanding professional environment. It is also a very rewarding career. Barristers’ work varies considerably depending on the area of law they practise in, and their seniority.
Typically, barristers do some or all of the following:
- Advising clients on the law and the strength of their legal case. This often requires considerable amounts of legal research, followed by writing an ‘Opinion’ for your client setting out your advice.
- Holding ‘conferences’ with clients to discuss their case and give them legal advice.
- Representing clients in court. This can include presenting the case, cross-examining witnesses, summing up all relevant material and giving reasons why the court should support your case.
- Negotiating settlements with the other side.
Most barristers are self-employed and work in chambers, although approximately 20 percent are “employed barristers” and work for an employer in industry, commerce or central or local government. This is known as the 'Employed Bar'. The role of the employed barrister can vary greatly depending on the employer. The majority will work in specialist legal departments advising only the organisation they work for. Self-employed barristers work in offices called chambers which they may share with other barristers. On completion of their training, barristers apply for tenancy in a set of chambers.