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How to become a Barrister's Clerk

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What does a Barrister's Clerk do?

Barristers' clerks, or chambers clerks, organise the workload and day-to-day business in barristers’ offices, known as chambers. The clerk's role and responsibilities increase with experience.

Junior clerks' duties include:

  • court work – preparing papers, carrying books, documents and robes to and from court
  • organising the chamber's law library and administration
  • maintaining accounts, posting invoices and collecting fees
  • messenger work, collecting and delivering documents.
More experienced clerks' duties may include:
  • managing a master diary, including information relevant to specific cases
  • liaising between solicitors, clients and their barristers
  • overseeing petty cash systems
  • searching through published lists of upcoming cases and organising barristers' schedules.
Senior barristers’ clerks (also known as chambers directors or practice managers) have much influence in chambers. They are responsible for:
  • bringing business into chambers
  • allocating work
  • negotiating fees
  • recruiting, training and supervising junior clerks.

What's the working environment like working as a Barrister's Clerk?

Work is normally Monday to Friday; hours can be long and irregular.

Clerks work mainly in chambers but spend some time visiting solicitors' premises, other chambers and the courts. Clerks are expected to dress smartly.

What does it take to become a Barrister's Clerk?

To be a barristers' clerk, you should:

  • have confidence and a professional and business-like manner
  • be diplomatic when discussing cases
  • be able to work closely in a team
  • be willing to work late or to take work home
  • have some computer skills
  • be an excellent communicator with a good command of written and spoken English
  • be well organised.

Barrister's Clerk Career Opportunities

Finding a first position can be difficult. The more senior posts may be advertised in the national press; however, most vacancies are filled through a scheme run by the Institute of Barristers' Clerks. Details of vacancies are given to members and to people who join the Institute's mailing list.

It is usual to move to different chambers to gain promotion.

Further information

If you would like to know anything about Barrister's Clerk that does not appear on Hotcourses, further information can be found below.

Institute of Barristers' Clerks (IBC)
289-293 High Holborn
Tel: 020 7831 7144

Facts and Stats:

  • In 1445 a case was brought in the French courts against certain beetles that had destroyed a farmer's crop. The beetles failed to obey the summons and the case was abandoned.
  • In 1924, a Pike County Court in Pennsylvania, USA sentenced a dog to life imprisonment for killing a cat.
  • In America, 50 to 70 cents of every dollar awarded in damages by a jury goes to the lawyer.
  • A woman in Israel is suing a TV station and its weatherman for $1,000. Their heinous crime? They predicted a sunny day and it rained. She claims that the forecast led her to wear light clothing causing her to catch the flu.

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