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Law careers

Barrister

If a barrister were a footballer they would be Messi, Rooney or Ronaldo…

These superstars of the legal world with their fancy outfits, sharp tongues and quick wit are undoubtedly very well paid, but what is a career as a barrister really all about?

These guys are confident and emphatic orators, but their jobs don’t always involve exciting dramatic court room scenes. Indeed, a lot of court hearings will be formalities that simply involve following procedures.

Why is it important? What does it involve?

Barristers represent their clients in court and are usually instructed by the client’s solicitor. They have to construct legal arguments in order to show the judge or jury why they should pass judgment in favour of their client, and also defeat the propositions that are put forward by the opposition.

Most barristers spend a lot of time meticulously preparing for their cases; however, it is entirely possible that clients may pop up with last minute changes in instructions, or material issues in the case may change or take a turn for the worse. These eventualities may cause the complete breakdown of a barrister’s well-prepared strategy. Consequently, a lot of tasks already completed may need to be totally redone or changed in ways that involve additional tasks. With very little time in which to implement these actions, things can get pretty stressful.

The nature of a barrister’s work means that you will sometimes be rushed off your feet, multitasking constantly; whilst at other times you may not have any pending work at all. Changes in court schedules, continuances that delay trials or the absence of crucial witnesses are commonplace events in a barrister’s life, which may make some weeks very busy and others less so. It is important that you are agile and flexible, both mentally and physically, to cope with the constant seesawing of circumstances.

Break it down for me a little bit!

Barristers are few and far between in the legal sector, so if you want to become one, you need to be highly-intelligent, incredibly determined and extremely talented. The number of people that want to become barristers massively outstrips the number of places available. Furthermore, some people suggest that this is a subsector which is still dominated by candidates with a public school background, although currently there is no data to prove this suggestion!

Do you see yourself centre-stage in the courtroom (and no, we don’t mean in the docks), blowing the judge and jury away with your eagle-eyed observations and all the while absolutely rocking that white wig? If so you should consider a career as a barrister - case closed!