Stages To Becoming A Barrister

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Stages To Becoming A Barrister

Barristers are specialists in court advocacy and provide independent legal advice to their clients. They are usually self-employed and work in chambers. The path to becoming a barrister is difficult but rewarding as they play a key role in the administration of justice. The route to qualifying as a barrister consists of three components:

  • Academic Component
  • Training Component
  • Work-based learning Component

Academic Component

The first stage to becoming a barrister is to complete either a Qualifying Law Degree (QLD) or a non-law degree along with a conversion course such as the Graduate Diploma in Law (GDL). Your law degree or conversion course must include the seven foundations of law which consist of:

  • Equity and Trusts
  • Constitutional and Administrative Law
  • Tort Law
  • Criminal Law
  • Land Law
  • European Union Law
  • Contract Law

Training Component

The next step is to apply for and complete mini pupillages. These are short (1-2 weeks) work experience placements which usually involve shadowing a barrister and possibly even attending hearings in court. They are a great introduction to a career at the Bar and helps broaden your network to include experienced barristers.

Subsequently, you will be expected to join one of the Inns of Court and sit the Bar Course Aptitude Test (BCAT) before commencing your vocational training. The training consists of a range of modules to provide you with the skills, attitude, competence and knowledge of procedure and evidence required to become a successful barrister. After completion of the vocational training, you will be Called to the Bar by your Inn.

Work-based Learning Component

In order to practise as a barrister, you must undergo a period of practical training under the supervision of an experienced barrister. This is known as a pupillage and is very competitive to obtain. All pupillages are advertised on The Pupillage Gateway. Pupillages are divided into two parts – a non-practising period and a practising period, usually of six months each. During the non-practising period, you will observe and assist your pupil supervisor with legal research, case preparation and hearings. In the final six months, you will be able to take on your own matters and clients.

In the course of this period, you will receive a minimum award of at least £19,144 per annum for pupillages in London and £17,152 per annum for pupillages outside London.

Learn more about average salaries for barristers in and outside London using the Legists salary checker.

During your pupillage, you will also take part in compulsory training in advocacy, practice management and accounting. Once your supervising barrister has confirmed that you have met the required standard with the Bar Standards Board, you will be issued with a Practising Certificate. You can then apply for a tenancy in chambers and start practising as a barrister.

For exciting barrister and pupil barrister roles click here to visit the Legists job board.

By Neha

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