Becoming a Barrister


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

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  • Becoming a Barrister

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