Category Archives: Young Bar Toolkit

Young Bar Toolkit

The Young Bar Toolkit has been written by members of the Bar Council’s Young Barristers’ Committee, with input from solicitors, fellow barristers, pupil supervisors and clerks, and from Bar Council staff. It is designed for barristers, including pupils, in the early years of practice.

The Toolkit features five sections, with relevant sub-sections:

This site is continually being updated and added to. If there are things you would like us to cover in future updates, or if you would like to comment on the material that is here, please let us know at YBC@BarCouncil.org.uk.

Building and managing a practice: the self-employed Bar

This section of the Toolkit looks at many of the practical issues associated with the early years of practice at the Bar. It contains tips on how to conduct yourself, and how to get on in Chambers, as well as regulatory information.

It does not include information on getting pupillage: there are lots of other online resources about this – see the section Pupillage and how to get it. If you would like to see more information on pupillage added to the site, please let us know.

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Financial affairs, accounting and tax for the self-employed Bar

The Bar Council has published a Taxation Handbook entitled ‘Taxation and retirement benefits guidance’. The Handbook, now in its 8th edition, aims to provide “guidance for Barristers and Clerks to support the efficient management of their practices”.

It provides a wealth of detail, with chapters on – amongst other things – income tax, advice to pupils and barristers starting practice, chambers expenses, VAT, self-assessment, and making a will. Access the Handbook here: http://www.barcouncil.org.uk/media/301386/taxation_guidance_8th_edition__for_website_.pdf

This section of the Toolkit touches on some of the key issues we think are relevant to barristers in their early years of practice, based on the experience of YBC members.

The site is being continually updated and added to. If there are things you would like us to cover in future updates, or if you would like to comment on the material that is here, please let us know at YBC@BarCouncil.org.uk.

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The employed Bar

This section of the Toolkit contains information of specific relevance to the employed Bar. There is masses of information in other sections of the toolkit which may be relevant too, including in particular the sections on work-life balance and continuing professional development.

The site is continually updated and added to. If there are things you would like us to cover in future updates, or if you would like to comment on the amterial that is here, please let us know at YBC@BarCouncil.org.uk.

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Around 20% of barristers practising in England and Wales are employed barristers in the public or private sectors: generally either the Crown Prosecution Service, Government Legal Service, armed forces, industry, solicitors’ firms or miscellaneous other bodies including public authorities, regulators and charities.

There are a number of potential advantages and benefits to practising at the employed Bar.  For example, generally, the employed Bar will offer a steady salary and regular working hours, a guaranteed level of work, the support structures and resources of employers, and the ability to pay tax easily through the PAYE system (without having to retain an accountant).  Some employed barristers will also be able to benefit from union membership, and many employers pay their barristers’ practising certificate fees.

In addition to these practical advantages, the employed Bar offers a very wide range of potential practice areas, both in terms of the area of law and the capacity in which the barrister is employed.

Barristers can move into employment at any point in their career.

Some organisations are Approved Training Organisations. These organisations can offer employed pupillages, meaning it is possible to train as an employed barrister.

The Bar Council has an Employed Barristers’ Committee. In brief, its remit is to provide support to the employed Bar in all matters relevant to practice at the employed Bar; to influence policy and advise representative committees of the Bar Council and their sub-committees on all matters of particular concern to the employed Bar, or upon which advice is sought by other representative committees or sub-committees of the Bar Council; and to consider and advise on the implications for the employed Bar of any regulatory changes proposed by the BSB.

See generally: http://www.barcouncil.org.uk/about-us/constitution-and-structure/committees/employed-barristers’-committee/.

Wellbeing and work/life balance

This section looks at the stresses and strains of working at the Bar. It offers some ideas on how to deal with them, and provides information on the practical measures which Chambers (and employers) are required to put in place to ensure equality of opportunity and treatment in the workplace and in practice – and what to do when things go wrong.

This site is being continually updated and added to. If there are things you would like us to cover in future updates, or if you would like to comment on the material that is here, please let us know at YBC@BarCouncil.org.uk. Alternatively, please visit the Wellbeing at the Bar website on www.wellbeingatthebar.org.uk for further information.

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Pupillage and how to get it

There are plenty of resources online giving guidance on pupillage, from the formal Pupillage Gateway, to guides like chambers student guides, Simon Myerson QC’s blog on ‘Pupillage and how to get it’ and the tabloid coverage of Legal Cheek.

There are also employed opportunities for pupillage within the Government Legal Service (GLS), which is split between the GLS department you have been allocated, and a set of external barristers’ chambers. Further information about the application process is available here, or contact the GLS directly at glstrainees@tmpw.co.uk.

Prospective pupils should be aware of what the Bar and Inns of Court can do for them. Contact your law school’s careers department and the education department of your Inn for details of pupillage scholarships, the Inns’ matched funding scheme for pupillages and help in preparing application forms and for interviews.

This Toolkit is not about getting pupillage. If you would like us to add more information on this, please let us know.