Barristers are professional lawyers who give special legal advice and represent their clients in the court. They are experts in advocacy and represent organizations, businesses or individuals in court. Usually, they are appointed by solicitors to represent cases in the court.
Barristers appeal the case on side of their clients and solicitors of clients. General public can also easily ask a barrister for legal advice and representation in the court. Usually, barristers specialize in particular fields like banking law, international trade law, company law, media law, insolvency law and etc. Courts sit at regular hours but barristers often have to work long hours including evenings and weekends.
Basic roles, duties & responsibilities of barristers
So, what do barristers do? Here is the list of general roles, duties or responsibilities carried out by barristers:
- Advise solicitors, clients and other processionals
- Draft legal files and documents
- Bargain settlements
- Represent clients and organizations in court
- Research and prepare cases and legal documents
- Study evidences and cross-examine them
- Interpret law, verdicts and legislative needs
The duty requirement is affected by various factors such as area of practice, national laws and so on. Barristers are self-employed and carve their own career. They often have to work long hours, endure heavy workloads and meet strict deadlines. Barristers contribute to joint management of chambers like enrollment of new recruits and students.
Employers of barristers
Most barristers are self employed, but they also work within group of other barristers which is known as chambers. There are various chambers in Bar Council which specialize in specific areas of law such as criminal law, sports law, media law and etc.
Nowadays many barristers find work with in-house law teams in various organizations like government bodies, armed forces, business house and industries and also general people.
Qualification and Training
Graduates from any educational background can pursue law but have to pass a law-conversion course before they pursue professional training. There are 3 steps to training:
Qualifying law degree from any recognized institute or undergrad degree in any subject followed by Graduate Diploma in Law also commonly known as CPE. The entry at bar is very competitive and a good degree is a must.
Taking Bar Professional Training Course known as BPTC, which takes 1 year for completion.
One year of practical training with authorized pupilage training office under the supervision of a practiced barrister.
The main purpose of taking the BPTC is to make sure that the aspiring barristers garner the required aptitude, skill, knowledge and competency to take on the pupilage. The pupilage is distinguished into 2 parts:
- Non-practicing 6 months also known as ‘First Six’
- Practicing 6 months also known as ‘Second Six’
Required skills or job specifications for barrister
- High academic qualification
- Knack for practicing legal theories in court
- Skills to present a point influentially
- Ability to work under pressure and meet deadlines
- Advocacy and interpersonal abilities
- Good command of oral and written communication
- Updated legal awareness
- Ability to analyze large amount of information