The Job description of a barrister includes legal advocacy and advice to solicitors and clients. They stand in place of their clients which may be an individual or organization in the court of law.
Barristers are only required in person when a court case is involved.
They are hired by solicitors to provide legal advice and representation when necessary.
However, different barristers may have different areas of expertise, and as such can only advocate when the case is in line with their area of expertise.
The different areas of specialization a barrister may be an expert in will be listed in the course of this article.
What are the Duties and Responsibilities of a Barrister?
Your duties and responsibilities as a barrister may vary depending on the type of case and your area of expertise.
Some of the common duties and responsibilities of a barrister include:
- Providing professional legal advice to clients and solicitors.
- Preparation of cases. And researching when necessary.
- Writing legal documents for clients.
- Defending clients in the court of law
- Legal representation
- Interviewing witnesses and evaluating evidence to draw conclusion.
- Settlement negotiations.
- Understanding and communicating to law to their clients.
- Presenting meaningful argument in the court of law
Your area of expertise as a barrister may require that you carry out more duties and responsibilities.
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What Qualifications Do I Need to Become a Barrister?
To become a lawyer, you must have a 2.1 degree in law.
For those with a degree other than law, you may have to complete a law conversion course (diploma in law).
A degree in law may take 5-7 years to complete whereas a law conversion course takes one year
After completing a degree or a degree and a diploma in law, it is also required of you to take a one-year Bar course.
After successfully passing the Bar course and completing your training, you will then be called to Bar.
The final stage of becoming a Barrister involves a 12-month training in different law chambers under the supervision of a pupil supervisor. This stage is called ‘pupillage’
After completing your pupillage, you now have to find a permanent base for practice.
Some barristers may find favor in the chamber where they did their pupillage and such will be retained
It is advised that students gain knowledge of the law as well as mini-pupillage while they are still in college or university and also start applying for pupillage in their final year.
Mini pupillage is one way to gain experience in advocacy. To know more about mini-pupillage, click. HERE.
Oftentimes, clients prefer barristers with some years of experience, and good recommendations to handle their cases.
As a result, experience is one of the necessary qualifications for getting a job as a barrister, just like in other jobs.
What Skills and Personality Suit a Barrister?
The role of a barrister requires good knowledge of the law and wisdom to carry out.
Putting the job description of a barrister into consideration, here are some skills and attributes a good barrister should posses
#1. High academic strength and ability to put knowledge into practice.
To become a good barrister, you should have good theoretical knowledge and mastery of the law.
Beyond having strong theoretical knowledge of the law, you should also know how to put this knowledge into practice as required.
#2. Excellent presentation skills
A good barrister has to know how to communicate well verbally and in writing.
You should be able to make meaningful and intelligent presentations.
#3. Strong advocacy skills
The importance of strong advocacy skills cannot be overrated.
You should be able to defend your clients in the best way possible.
#4. Great persuasion and negotiation skill
As a good barrister, you should be able to convince the judge he or she should rule in favor of your clients.
In a situation where your client is obviously guilty, you should be capable of negotiating for a light sentence.
#5. Capable of handling pressure
A good barrister should also be capable if handling pressure and working for long hours.
It is also important that you work with deadlines in mind and delivery before time elapses.
Where Do Barristers Work?
Firstly, as a barrister, you may decide to become self-employed. To achieve this, you have to open and register your own chambers.
Or, you can also decide to become a part of some other law chamber where you can practice.
Aside from chambers, some other people or places who require the services of a barrister includes:
- Government owned organizations.
- Private organizations
- Armed forces
A wide range and individuals and organizations seek the services of a barrister at some point.
How Much Do Barristers Make?
The earnings of a barrister are determined by so many important factors.
Some of such factors are :
- Area of expertise
- Type of case
And also, barristers who are self-employed may negotiate their pay with clients.
Of course, the pay of different clients will certainly be different.
What are the Different Areas of Specialization a Barrister Can Choose to Specialize in?
Not every barrister can handle any case. It has to be in line with his or her area of expertise.
Some of the different areas of specialization a barrister can choose to specialize in are:
- Criminal law
- Commercial law
- Chancery law
- Entertainment law
- Sport law
- Common law
As I already stated earlier, your job description may vary depending on your area of expertise.
For instance, a barrister whose area of specialization is criminal law may have yo appear in court more often.
Whereas a barrister whose area of expertise is common law may stand as a mediator during divorce cases to avoid having to go to court.
Conclusion: Barrister Job Description Guide
Gaining a job as a barrister starts with making a perfect resume.
Feel free to make use of this guide on the job description of a barrister to make yours.
While creating a resume, always state your qualification, years of experience, and skills clearly.
This will help employers easily ascertain whether you are qualified for the job.
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