The process of becoming a Barrister involves a dedicated and extensive combination of education, practical training, and meeting specific professional requirements. The path to becoming a Barrister can vary by jurisdiction, but here's a general overview of the steps involved:
• Undergraduate degree: first things first, you must obtain an undergraduate degree in law or a related field. In some jurisdictions, a non-law degree may be acceptable, with the addition of a conversion course, such as the Graduate Diploma in Law (GDL).
Complete the Bar:
• The Bar Course is a postgraduate qualification that individuals must complete to become qualified as a Barrister. The Bar Course is a one-year, full-time course (or two years if taken part-time), offering a practical and vocational training programme designed to equip expectant Barristers with the skills and knowledge necessary for practice at the Bar.
• Assessment methods include written exams, practical advocacy assessments, and professional skills assessments. Successful completion of the Bar Course, along with pupillage, allows individuals to be “called to the Bar”.
Inns of Court (England and Wales):
• In England and Wales, aspiring Barristers must join one of the four Inns of Court (Lincoln's Inn, Gray's Inn, Inner Temple, or Middle Temple). These institutions provide dining, education, and support services for Barristers.
• Prospective Barristers usually join one of the Inns during their undergraduate law studies or before commencing the Bar Professional Training Course (BPTC).
Call to the Bar:
• After completing the Bar Course, Barristers are eligible to be “called to the Bar” by their Inn, officially allowing them to practise as Barristers. This celebration involves an admission ceremony and the taking of certain oaths or affirmations.
Pupillage or Training Contract:
• The next stage for an aspiring Barrister, is to complete a period of practical training, known as pupillage (in England and Wales) or a training contract (in some other jurisdictions). During this time, individuals work under the supervision of an experienced Barrister or in a legal environment to gain practical skills.
• The process typically lasts for one year, and is divided into two parts: the first six months (non-practicing or "non-practicing period") and the second six months (practising or "practising period").
• The application process for pupillage positions is highly competitive. It usually involves submitting applications to Barristers' chambers, attending interviews, and potentially participating in an assessment process.
Professional Skills Course (PSC):
• In some jurisdictions, Barristers are required to complete a Professional Skills Course (PSC) to develop additional practical skills necessary for legal practice.