In Summary - Barrister
Barristers typically work in the following Career Sectors:
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The Work - Barrister
A barrister is a legal professional who gives solicitors and other client’s legal advice. When members of the public initially seek legal advice, they typically consult a solicitor, but they will be referred to a barrister in the event that a court appearance is required.
The Barrister's role includes researching and preparing cases, writing legal documents, representing clients in court and cross examining witnesses.
There are approximately 5,000 Solicitors and 1,350 practising Barristers in Ireland. The main difference between the two professions is that Barristers have an effective monopoly of audience before the High Court, the Supreme Court and even the Circuit Court. In cases heard in these courts, the Solicitor prepares 'the brief' or file before the court hearing, whilst the advocacy and cross-examination in the courtroom is performed by the Barrister. Even where litigation is not involved, if a difficult legal point arises, the Solicitor may refer the question to the Barrister for counsel's opinion.
Most commonly reported Work Tasks
- Represent clients in court or before government agencies.
- Present evidence to defend clients or prosecute defendants in criminal or civil litigation.
- Select jurors, argue motions, meet with judges and question witnesses during the course of a trial.
- Study Constitution, statutes, decisions, regulations, and ordinances of quasi-judicial bodies to determine ramifications for cases.
- Interpret laws, rulings and regulations for individuals and businesses.
- Present and summarize cases to judges and juries.
- Prepare legal briefs and opinions, and file appeals in state and federal courts of appeal.
- Analyze the probable outcomes of cases, using knowledge of legal precedents.
- Examine legal data to determine advisability of defending or prosecuting lawsuit.
- Evaluate findings and develop strategies and arguments in preparation for presentation of cases.
Most commonly reported Work Activities
- Getting Information Observing, receiving, and otherwise obtaining information from all relevant sources.
- Making Decisions and Solving Problems Analyzing information and evaluating results to choose the best solution and solve problems.
- Resolving Conflicts and Negotiating with Others Handling complaints, settling disputes, and resolving grievances and conflicts, or otherwise negotiating with others.
- Evaluating Information to Determine Compliance with Standards Using relevant information and individual judgment to determine whether events or processes comply with laws, regulations, or standards.
- Communicating with Persons Outside Organization Communicating with people outside the organization, representing the organization to customers, the public, government, and other external sources. This information can be exchanged in person, in writing, or by telephone or e-mail.
- Organizing, Planning, and Prioritizing Work Developing specific goals and plans to prioritize, organize, and accomplish your work.
- Analyzing Data or Information Identifying the underlying principles, reasons, or facts of information by breaking down information or data into separate parts.
- Identifying Objects, Actions, and Events Identifying information by categorizing, estimating, recognizing differences or similarities, and detecting changes in circumstances or events.
- Interpreting the Meaning of Information for Others Translating or explaining what information means and how it can be used.
- Establishing and Maintaining Interpersonal Relationships Developing constructive and cooperative working relationships with others, and maintaining them over time.
Interests - Barrister
This occupation is typically suited for people with the following Career Interests:
Enterprising people like situations that involve using resources for personal or corporate economic gain. Such people may have an opportunistic frame of mind, and are drawn to commerce, trade and making deals. Some pursue sales and marketing occupations. Many will eventually end up owning their own business, or in management roles in larger organisations. They tend to be very goal-oriented and work best when focused on a target. Some have an entrepreneurial inclination.
The Investigative person will usually find a particular area of science to be of interest. They are inclined toward intellectual and analytical activities and enjoy observation and theory. They may prefer thought to action, and enjoy the challenge of solving problems with sophiscticated technology. These types prefer mentally stimulating environments and often pay close attention to developments in their chosen field.
The Linguistic's interests are usually focused on ideas and information exchange. They tend to like reading a lot, and enjoy discussion about what has been said. Some will want to write about their own ideas and may follow a path towards journalism, story writing or editing. Others will develop skills in other languages, perhaps finding work as a translator or interpreter. Most Linguistic types will enjoy the opportunity to teach or instruct people in a topic they are interested in.
To be a Barrister, one needs to be eloquent or at least fluent, capable of thinking on one's feet, and resourceful. It will be necessary to understand and interpret complex legal wording in clear basic English.
Since the work is confidential an intending Barrister needs to be trustworthy and discreet. Mental and physical stamina are essential in order to cope with the long hours, travelling and stress.
Barristers need interpersonal skills to work with other professionals, including solicitors, judges and other court staff.
Whilst Solicitors do some advocacy in the lower courts, most of their work is concerned with interviewing and advising clients in their offices. So the message would seem to be that if you are particularly nervous of speaking in public, you should not think about becoming a Barrister, but could still contemplate joining the Solicitors' profession.
Entry Requirements - Barrister
To become a barrister, you must first complete a number of academic courses and periods of vocational training to obtain the necessary minimum skills to do the job.
There are three stages to becoming entitled to practise as a barrister, namely the academic, vocational and pupilage stages.
Academic: You must obtain a Law Degree from a university or other approved third level institution. If you have a non-law degree, you can study for a two year Diploma in Legal Studies at the King's Inns instead of a third level law degree. Students over 25 with no degree can also take the Diploma course.
Vocational: When you have your law degree or diploma, you must pass an entrance examination (usually 5 legal subjects) into the King's Inns. If you pass, you may enroll in a one year fulltime course or a two year part time course in the King's Inns leading to the degree of Barrister-at-Law. The emphasis in these courses is on advocacy, procedure and practical matters.
Pupilage: Having passed the Barristers-at-Law degree from the King's Inns, students are called to the Bar of Ireland by the Chief Justice of Ireland. Before being allowed to practice on their own, barristers are required to do pupilage (commonly called "devilling" - on the job training) with a suitably qualified barrister in an established practice for a period of 12 months.
Last Updated: November, 2015
Pay & Salary - Barrister
Salary Range (thousands per year)* 35k - 110k
Last Updated: March, 2017
* The lower figures typically reflect starting salaries. Higher salaries are awarded to those with greater experience and responsibility. Positions in Dublin sometimes command higher salaries.
Labour Market Updates - Barrister
No shortages have been identified for this occupation.
National Skills Bulletin 2018