A Day In The Life Of A Barrister

| General

A Day In The Life Of A Barrister

Countless depictions of criminal law proceedings are found in popular culture, whether they are films, TV shows, or books, and barristers are always at the centre of the action, whether it is How to Get Away with Murder, Daredevil, or Suits. The question is, however, how accurate do these depictions represent the reality of what it's like to be a barrister?

Every day is different for a barrister. Those who work in this profession will tell you that no two cases are the same, no two careers are the same, and that also applies to the daily responsibilities.

So, What Is A Barrister? And What Exactly Is It That They do During Their Day-To-Day Life?

In the United Kingdom, a barrister is most likely self-employed and working in chambers. They are specialists in court advocacy, provide expert legal advice and draft legal pleadings. Barristers can also be found working within departments such as the Crown Prosecution Service, or in private companies and organisations.

In the dramatic portrayals of barristers in popular culture, the work is seemingly embroiled in scandal and bursting with drama and excitement, with compelling court scenes complete with witty quips and tension. The day to day is much less sensational with several important responsibilities that serve as foundation for court hearings and successful days.

In general, every morning is an early one, with many beginning their day from 6am or even earlier depending on how far they may be travelling for court appearances. Court cases tend to start around 10am, with barristers arriving an hour earlier, with enough time to meet clients and work out any kinks before hearings begin. This can include reassuring clients and family, discussing evidence, giving advice, and having deliberations with opposing legal teams.

The remaining several hours of the working day may be occupied with vast research for cases, writing legal documents, delivering legal advice to clients or solicitors, court appearances, and even negotiating with other legal professions or settlements for clients.

The large number of responsibilities means that as a result, some workdays may constitute a late finish, with plenty of evening work. However, there are good days when one can finish early, giving time to grab lunch with friends or take a well needed rest day.

A day can be demanding and taxing with exceedingly long days and even longer nights; thus, the work-life balance can be directly impacted. Many barristers struggle with spending enough time with family and friends and being present, this is a price to pay for the numerous benefits the job provides. However, it is crucial that one considers the long-term effects of such gruelling work, and puts in effort to mitigate that, whether it is taking regular well-deserved breaks, investing in therapy, or surrounding oneself with a good support system. Small actions can make a world of a difference for an individual’s state of mind and ensure that you are fulfilled in the work that you do.

The amazing aspect about the profession that every barrister can appreciate, is the range of people that you meet from all walks of life, whether it is the clients or professional colleagues. Once you work in chambers for long enough, you very rarely see any strangers, there is always a friendly face. This makes for a pleasant work environment; with colleagues you like and respect.

Practising law as a barrister has its perks, from feeling like one is making a real contribution to the world to being able to help people in need and be a voice for them. Moreover, every day is filled with something new, and it is immensely rewarding, even if you fail on a case, you can always expect the right outcome, and it is a rewarding experience for many people to be part of such a process.

An average day in the life of a barrister is hard work, but it is one that leaves you with a sense of accomplishment.

By Idil Farah

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