Barrister Job Description: Key Duties and Responsibilities

Happiness Oyiza
Happiness Oyiza  - Career Expert
10 Min Read
Barrister Job Description: Key Duties and Responsibilities

Barrister Job Description: Barristers play an essential role in the legal system, serving as advocates in courtrooms and advising clients on legal matters. But before you invest years of study and training, you’ll want to fully understand the day-to-day responsibilities of the job. In this article, we’ll walk you through the essential duties and tasks barristers perform to give you an inside look at this prestigious career path.

From researching cases and advising clients to presenting arguments in court, a barrister’s work is intellectually challenging yet deeply rewarding. If you have a keen mind, strong communication skills, and a passion for the law, this could be your perfect profession. Read on to learn what it really means to practice as a barrister.

What Is a Barrister?

Barrister Job Description: Key Duties and Responsibilities

A barrister is a specialized legal advocate in certain jurisdictions, including England and Wales. Barristers are qualified lawyers who advise clients and represent their cases in court. They are distinguished from solicitors, who provide legal advice and assistance to clients.

As a barrister, your primary duties revolve around advocacy and courtroom work. This includes:

  • Representing clients in court and arguing their case before a judge and jury.
  • Cross-examining witnesses in court to challenge their testimony.
  • Devising case strategies and arguments to present to the court.
  • Advising clients on the strengths and weaknesses of their case and the likely outcomes.

To become a barrister, you must complete a law degree and the Bar Professional Training Course. You then need to join one of the Inns of Court, complete a pupillage under a senior barrister, and pass the Bar exam.

Barristers work self-employed, practicing from chambers that provide office space and administrative support. Payment comes directly from clients for the cases barristers take on. Hours tend to be long and irregular, often requiring work on evenings and weekends to prepare for trials. However, barristers at the top of their field can make sizeable salaries.

Becoming a barrister is challenging, but a career can be gratifying for the right candidate. If you have a passion for advocacy, public speaking, and the courtroom, then working as a barrister may be your perfect role.

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Essential Barrister Duties and Responsibilities

As a barrister, your primary duties revolve around providing legal advice and representation to clients.

  • You’ll meet with clients to discuss their legal issues, review relevant documents and evidence, and determine the best way to proceed with their case. This often involves researching laws and past legal matters to build the strongest possible argument.
  • Barristers can represent clients in higher courts, so you may argue cases before judges and juries in the Crown Court, High Court, Court of Appeal, UK Supreme Court, and European courts. This requires preparing thorough legal arguments, examining witnesses, and presenting persuasive evidence during trials and appeals.
  • An essential part of your job is informing clients about their case’s progress. You’ll communicate with clients regularly to update them on legal strategies, court proceedings, potential outcomes, and next steps. Strong communication skills are essential.
  • Barristers may specialize in a particular area of law, such as crime, family, or commercial law. The type of specialization can impact day-to-day responsibilities. For example, a criminal barrister will spend more time defending or prosecuting cases in court, while a barrister specializing in corporate law may focus primarily on drafting and negotiating contracts.
  • Additional duties include staying current with legislation and case law changes, developing legal expertise, and promoting your legal services to attract new clients. Some barristers take on management and administrative tasks related to operating their practice.

In summary, barristers provide legal counsel and representation to clients in various legal matters. The role requires strong analytical, communication, and advocacy skills to serve clients’ best interests in and out of the courtroom. If arguing complex cases before a judge sounds exciting, becoming a barrister could be your ideal career path.

Essential Accountant Skills and Qualifications

You must have specific essential skills and qualifications to be a successful barrister.

1. Strong Communication Abilities

As a barrister, effective communication is critical. You’ll need to be articulate, persuasive, and able to explain complex legal issues clearly. Strong oral advocacy and written communication skills are must-haves. Communicate regularly with clients, judges, juries, and other legal professionals.

2. Analytical and Critical Thinking Skills

The ability to analyze cases, think logically and critically about arguments, and solve complex problems is essential. You must grasp legal principles and case law, evaluate evidence, and construct persuasive arguments. Quick thinking and sound judgment are critical.

3. Research and Documentation Skills

Conducting thorough research and managing large amounts of information are significant parts of a barrister’s job. You must be highly proficient at researching case law, past judgments, and legislation. Robust documentation and organizational skills are necessary to keep records and files in proper order.

4. Adaptability

The law is constantly changing and evolving. Barristers need to stay up-to-date with changes in legislation and case law and be able to adapt their knowledge and arguments accordingly. You may have to deal with unexpected events in court, so adaptability and thinking on your feet are valuable qualities.

To become a barrister, you’ll need a qualifying law degree and to complete the Bar Professional Training Course. You’ll then need to be admitted to your Inn of Court, complete a pupillage, and be called to the Bar by your Inn. Ongoing learning and development are also required to maintain your practice certificate.

While the path to becoming a barrister is demanding, it can be an intellectually rewarding career for those with the right mindset and skill set. If you have a keen interest in law, enjoy research and public speaking, can handle pressure, and want to advocate for others, this could be your proper role.

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What are the primary duties and responsibilities?

Your core responsibilities as a barrister include:

  • Representing clients in court during trials and appeals
  • Researching relevant laws, precedents, and legal documents
  • Drafting contracts, wills, pleadings, and other legal documents
  • Providing legal advice and counsel to clients
  • Negotiating settlements and plea bargains on behalf of clients
  • Cross-examining witnesses during trials
  • Delivering opening and closing arguments in court

Do I have to wear a wig and gown?

As a barrister, you must wear traditional legal court dress, including a horsehair wig, gown, bands, and a wing collar. The wig and gown are an essential part of court etiquette and tradition.

How much travel is involved?

As a barrister, you must frequently travel to local courts, tribunals, and clients’ offices. The amount of travel can vary significantly depending on your area of law and workload. Expect at least a few days each week in court representing clients at trials, hearings, and appeals.

How can I become a barrister?

To become a barrister, you must:

  1. Earn a qualifying law degree (LLB) or complete a law conversion course.
  2. Enroll in the Bar Professional Training Course (BPTC).
  3. Complete 12 months of pupillage under a practicing barrister.
  4. Be called to the Bar by an Inn of Court.
  5. Gain experience by practicing as a barrister.


So there you have it, a quick overview of what it takes to be a barrister. It certainly isn’t an easy job, but it can be an exciting and rewarding career for the right person. If you think you have what it takes to advocate for clients, interpret the law, and present persuasive arguments in court, then the barrister profession may be for you. Just ensure you go in with realistic expectations about the workload and pressures. But if you’re up for the challenge, you’ll find that being a barrister is a job. Good luck!

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By Happiness Oyiza Career Expert
I am Happiness Oyiza, a UnicrossBlog author dedicated to empowering you through education, scholarships, job tips, and career success.
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