Becoming a barrister
The Bar is a diverse profession which welcomes individuality and seeks to recruit the brightest talent, irrespective of background. There is advice and guidance available in our ‘Becoming a barrister’ brochure, co-produced with the Inns of Court. To become a barrister, you will need a degree (along with the Graduate Diploma in Law if it is a non-law degree). You will also need to complete the vocational component and pupillage/work-based component. You can find more information about careers at the Bar on the pages below.
The Bar Council aims to provide students with the information they need to reach an informed decision about a career at the Bar, ensure vocational training and pupillage equip barristers for success in the profession, and ensure that barristers develop and maintain the skills they need to sustain and advance their practice.
Scholarships from the Inns of Court
The Inns all offer different awards to pupils, but the following types are available.
- Scholarships for the GDL
- Scholarships for the vocational component
- Pupillage awards
- Assistance if you are a disabled student
- Assistance for work experience opportunities (including international opportunities)
- Essay and mooting prizes
You should check the relevant Inns’ website – Gray’s Inn, Inner Temple, Lincoln’s Inn and Middle Temple – to find out more information about specific scholarships.
The Inns run events for prospective barristers throughout the year, across England and Wales. Please see each of their calendars for upcoming events and programmes.
Inns of Court events and schemes
There are four Inns of Court – Gray’s Inn, Inner Temple, Lincoln’s Inn and Middle Temple – and you must be a member of one of the Inns before beginning the vocational component of becoming a barrister. They are like professional associations and have a very important role in the education of young barristers and oversight over several parts of becoming a barrister. The Inns also provide a strong sense of community and support for your professional development.
The Inns of Court provide a lot of information and resources for prospective barristers. Additionally, they are a major source of financial assistance to students looking at a career at the Bar. Please see below to find out more about the events, programmes, and funding that the Inns provide.
If you have any further questions about careers at the Bar, please contact Careers@BarCouncil.org.uk.
How to get work experience?
Generally, chambers only host university students in their second and third years, so it is unlikely that you will get work experience at the Bar (also known as ‘mini-pupillages’) before you go to university. If you are a state-educated sixth-form or college student, you can apply for the Bar Placement Scheme. You should focus on developing your debating and public speaking skills. You may also be able to get voluntary experience.
- Funding. There are scholarships available, but you will need to think about how you would fund an additional year of study, as you typically can’t get a traditional student loan for the GDL.
- Future practice area. Certain practice areas may suit different degrees. For example, a science degree would be very helpful if you would like to practice in Intellectual Property. You should consider how your future practice might benefit from a specific degree subject.
- Your interests. Ultimately, you should choose a subject which you enjoy and in which you will succeed. If you study a subject which you are passionate about, you can talk about it in your applications and interviews.
Where can I find out more?
Visit the websites of the following professional bodies to find out more about courses and careers in law.