Barristers represent clients and solicitors in court and through legal proceedings.
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What does a barrister do?

Barristers represent clients and solicitors in court and through legal proceedings. Barristers translate their client’s case into a legal argument. You’ll need excellent communication skills as well as a flair for public speaking to be a barrister.

Where and how you practice will vary depending on the area of law you specialise in. You may be working on criminal cases, where you could be defending or prosecuting in a Magistrates or Crown Court. You may also work in civil courts and employment or residential property tribunals.

As well as arguing a case, you’ll also advise clients and solicitors on the strength of the case. Most barristers are self-employed and work with other barristers in partnership in chambers, so you’ll also need good administrative and numeracy skills. 


What do I need to do to become a barrister?

To become a barrister, you must first complete an academic stage of training, followed by a work-based (vocational) stage and practical experience (called a pupillage).

You can complete the academic stage by gaining:

  • either an approved law degree – known as a qualifying law degree – at class 2:2 or above
  • or a degree at 2:2 or above in any other subject, followed by a postgraduate Common Professional Examination (CPE) or Graduate Diploma in Law (GDL) 

Related skills

  • Administration
  • Business management
  • Communication
  • Interpersonal skills
  • Numeracy
  • Patience
  • Problem solving
  • Time management

Related subjects

  • Drama, music, and performing arts
  • English
  • History

Essential qualifications

  • Either an approved law degree – known as a qualifying law degree – at class 2:2 or above
  • Or a degree at 2:2 or above in any other subject, followed by a postgraduate Common Professional Examination (CPE) or Graduate Diploma in Law (GDL)
  • Vocational training
  • Pupillage

Where to find out more


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