Go through our comprehensive job guide if you want to become a Barrister’s Clerk in the UK
What does a Barrister’s Clerk do?
As a barristers’ clerk, you would deal with the administration in barristers’ offices (known as chambers), and organise the workload of the barristers working there.
Your day-to-day duties could include:
- preparing papers and taking books, documents and robes to and from court
- messenger work (collecting and delivering documents by hand)
- photocopying, filing and dealing with letters, e-mails and phone calls
- handling accounts, invoices and petty cash
- collecting fees
- organising the law library
- managing each barrister’s daily diary and keeping their case information up to date
- liaising between solicitors, clients and their barristers
- reorganising barristers’ schedules when necessary.
With experience, you might be promoted to senior barristers’ clerk (which may also be known as chambers director or practice manager). In this key role you would also be responsible for:
- recruiting, training and supervising junior clerks
- bringing business into chambers
- allocating cases to barristers
- negotiating fees
- financial management of the chambers.
You would typically work standard office hours Monday to Friday, although your hours may occasionally be longer if your barristers were working on a complex case.
You would be based in an office in chambers, but spend some of your time visiting court, solicitors and other chambers. You are expected to dress smartly.
How much does a Barrister’s Clerk earn?
Salary and pay information:
- Starting salaries can be between £19,000 and £24,000 a year.
- With experience, earnings can be from £25,000 to £100,000, depending on seniority.
Figures are intended as a guideline only.
Most chambers will expect you to have at least four GCSEs (A-C) including maths and English, although many barristers’ clerks have higher qualifications such as A levels or degrees.
You will find it useful to have some experience in court administration, legal secretarial work, accounts or management.
Some chambers offer work experience to potential applicants, which may give you an advantage when applying for jobs.
Training and Development
You would usually start as a junior clerk in chambers, and learn on the job from senior clerks.
You will also be encouraged to work towards the BTEC Advanced Award in Chambers Administration for Barristers’ Clerks. This qualification is aimed at clerks with up to three years’ experience. The course usually takes around two years of part-time study in chambers with a mentor, plus some seminars and workshops.
The IBC also offers short courses and seminars for more experienced members to update their knowledge and skills.
Skills and Knowledge
- good spoken and written communication skills
- good organisational and time-management skills
- confidence and a professional manner
- tact and respect for confidential information
- the ability to work well in a team
- willingness to work long hours when necessary
- the ability to work under pressure and to deadlines
- good negotiation and financial skills, for senior jobs.
Most barristers’ chambers are based in major cities. There is usually a team of three or four clerks for every 20 barristers in chambers.
You may need to move to different chambers to gain promotion to senior clerk.
Jobs may be advertised by the Institute of Barristers’ Clerks (IBC), the legal press and by specialist recruitment agencies. You may also find the following websites useful for vacancies:
– CV Library