Becoming a Barrister
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Presentation by Helen Carter, College of Law, at University of Sussex, March 2011

Presentation by Helen Carter, College of Law, at University of Sussex, March 2011



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  • See careers handout!

Becoming a Barrister Becoming a Barrister Presentation Transcript

  • Becoming a barrister Sussex University Helen Carter GDL tutor, College of Law
  • Routes to a career in law Qualifying degree in English Law If you intend to become a barrister Bar Professional Training Course Full-time 1 yr Part-time 2 yrs Pupillage 6 months non-practising and 6 months practising Call to the Bar Non-qualifying law degree or degree other than English Law Graduate Diploma In Law Full-time 1 yr Part-time 2 yrs If you intend to become a solicitor Legal Practice Course Full-time 1 yr Part-time 2 yrs Admission as a solicitor Training Contract 2 years including Professional Skills Course
  • Barristers must be able to:
    • Analyse complex problems
    • Research accurately & update knowledge
    • Understand business & social issues
    • Be confident in difficult situations
    • Persuade through argument
    • Work with others & communicate effectively
    • Organise, prioritise & self-motivate
  • College of Law GDL
    • Outstanding opportunities including practitioner events, mooting, mock trials, probono centre & careers service
    • Preparing for Practice module on GDL
    • Various part time & full time study options
    • Support from time you accept your place
    • Specialist advice & knowledge for intending barristers
  • College of Law BPTC
    • Civil & criminal trial processes taught in order from start to finish
    • Continuous integration of knowledge subjects & skills subjects
    • Classrooms are courtrooms
    • Small advocacy training groups for maximum chances to practise
    • LLB if both GDL & BPTC done with us
  • Creating a strong CV
    • Mini pupillages are expected, but can be hard to get before starting GDL / LLB
    • Marshalling is an excellent opportunity
    • In-house legal departments & solicitors firms are also valuable experiences
    • -> some firms prefer ‘work shadowing’
    • Charity work, public speaking & community projects can be done now
  • Brace yourselves!
    • Approx 500 pupillages for 1,500 passing BPTC each year. Around 50% of students passing BPTC nationwide never even secure a pupillage interview
    • Only one third of pupils find a tenancy
    • Average cost of BPTC year estimated at over £20,000 including living costs
  • Scholarships (GDL & BPTC)
    • Visit the Inns of Court websites to compare scholarship opportunities
    • Some have a few large scholarships
    • Others give out more but smaller ones
    • You do not have to join until the scholarship decision has been made
    • You can only apply to one Inn of Court & joining early allows use of facilities
  • Pupillage applications
    • Online portal – you choose 12 chambers, some parts of the form are generic, some parts are specific
    • - end March to end April to apply online, interviews are then in May or June
    • Others – some chambers opt out & have their own forms & timetables
    • See
  • Apply wisely!
    • London or the regions?
    • Large or small chambers?
    • Area of work - link to interests, academics and personal skill set plus…
    • Type of work - lots of court appearances or researching in a library?
    • - travelling or staying in one city?
    • Look at current tenants on websites
  • Pupillage year
    • First six months = non practicing
    • Second six months = you start to run cases
    • Third six = many pupils do an extra six months to gain further experience
    • Grants / money received must be at least £12,000 total for the year
    • You also must do further training courses at your Inn of Court (advocacy & accounting)
  • What if I don’t get tenancy?
    • Undertake a third six in a different chambers -> may lead to tenancy
    • Become a ‘squatter’ -> may lead to tenancy
    • Go in-house within a company, law firm or governmental department
    • Legal Services Act 2007 may well create some new & interesting roles
  • Maximise your chances
    • Focus on exams – get a first or 2:1
    • Use university & CoL careers service
    • Keep up-to-date with legal issues
    • Visit court & gain work experience
    • Join in with charity work, debating etc
    • Apply for GDL scholarships by April,
    • BPTC in November
    • Good luck!