Alternative titles for this job include Advocate

Barristers give specialist legal advice, advising solicitors and representing people in court, at tribunals and in public inquiries.

Average salary (a year)

£12,000 Starter


£250,000 Experienced

Typical hours (a week)

36 to 38 a week

You could work

evenings / weekends

How to become a Barrister

You can get into this job through:

  • a university course
  • an apprenticeship
  • working towards this role
  • specialist courses run by professional bodies


You could do a:

  • law degree
  • non-law degree followed by a law conversion course

To get into some universities you'll need to pass the Law National Aptitude Test (LNAT).

You would complete a period of professional training in work before applying to become a barrister.

Entry requirements

You'll usually need:

  • 2 to 3 A levels for a degree

More information


You could do a degree apprenticeship to get into legal roles like:

  • chartered legal executive
  • solicitor

These routes can take 5 to 6 years to complete.

With experience, you could then apply to become a barrister.

Entry requirements

You'll usually need:

  • 5 GCSEs at grades 9 to 4 (A* to C) and college qualifications like A levels for a higher or a degree apprenticeship

More information


You could start your career by working in a law firm or the law department of an organisation.

With support from your employer, you could complete a qualification like the Level 6 Professional Higher Diploma in Law through the Chartered Institute of Legal Executives.

Solicitors can apply to become barristers by approval of the Bar Standards Board and sitting a Bar Transfer Test.

Other routes

If you've taken a non-law degree, a non-solicitor apprenticeship or work-based qualifications, you'll need to take the Common Professional Examination (CPE) or Graduate Diploma in Law (GDL). You'll then need to:

  • pass the Bar Course Aptitude Test
  • apply for the 1-year Bar Professional Training Course
  • apply for a follow-on year of practical training, called a pupillage, through the Pupillage Gateway

On successful completion of academic and practical parts, you’re eligible to become a barrister, known as being ‘Called to the Bar’. You can apply for a tenancy (self-employment in barristers’ chambers) or paid employment.

More information

Further information

You can get a detailed careers guide on becoming a barrister from The Bar Council.

What it takes

Skills and knowledge

You'll need:

  • legal knowledge including court procedures and government regulations
  • knowledge of English language
  • excellent verbal communication skills
  • active listening skills
  • analytical thinking skills
  • the ability to read English
  • to be thorough and pay attention to detail
  • the ability to think clearly using logic and reasoning
  • you will be expected to know how to use a computer and tools to benefit this job.

What you'll do

Day-to-day tasks

Your day-to-day duties could include:

  • having meetings with clients and taking on cases (briefs)
  • researching the law relating to previous similar cases
  • reading witness statements and reports
  • offering advice and providing written legal opinion
  • negotiating settlements out of court
  • preparing legal arguments and getting briefs ready for court
  • cross-examining witnesses and presenting the case to the judge and jury
  • summing up the case

Working environment

You could work in a court, at chambers or in an office.

Your working environment may be emotionally demanding.

You may need to wear a wig and gown.

Career path and progression

With experience you could find employment with firms supplying legal services in commerce, finance or industry. You could lead a team or move into general management.

You could also apply to become a Queen's Counsel (QC) or a judge.

Training opportunities

Apprenticeships In England

Solicitor Apprenticeship Rawlins Davy

  • Wage : £11,500.00 - £18,000.00 Annually
  • Location: Bournemouth BH2 6HT

Courses In England

Legal Secretary Diploma with City & Guilds CILEx Level 2

  • Provider: Pitman Training London
  • Start date: 01 October 2019
  • Location: LONDON

CILEx Level 6 Land Law

  • Provider: Chichester College Group
  • Start date: 18 September 2019
  • Location: Chichester

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