Misunderstandings and jargon prevent many from seriously considering a career as a barrister in the belief that such a career is not for them or that they are not for it. Others know that they might want to become barristers but not how to go about it, or just want to know more about... this somewhat mysterious profession. This book (by a barrister who was formerly a university law lecturer) clearly but informally explains the traditions, terminology and institutions of the Bar, and what it is actually like to be a barrister. With this aim, several barristers practising in different fields describe in detail a typical week in their life. Advice is then given on how to be accepted into, fund and survive the various academic and other stages that precede qualification as a barrister, including work experience, Bar School, and pupillage (the barrister's apprenticeship). Space is also given to how to transfer to the Bar after another legal or non-legal career. This second edition is fully updated to take account of the changes to the Bar, training for it and the process of recruitment to it.Adam Kramer regularly provides updates to this book, which can be seen at:www.hartpub.co.uk/updates/bewigged-updates
"A JARGON-BUSTING GUIDE TO MODERN BROTHERS (AND SISTERS) IN LAW…WITH GREAT UPDATES! This is a very much needed book, with useful online updates, for anyone interested in becoming a barrister-at-law in England and Wales in 21st century. There has always been a certain amount of mystique about the Bar and what we actually do. Adam Kramer has been able to distill the work we do in a matter-of-fact way as though he were addressing a jury- and he puts the issues across very finely indeed with most questions answered. Ex Bar Chairman, Stephen Hockman, introduces the book in a very friendly manner and then launches into the realities of life at the Bar and the sort of problems we are facing at the moment. He concludes that ‘I only wish it had been available to me when I started in practice 35 years ago’ thereby identifying that today we have many new entrants to the profession from ‘outside’ so they will not know much of the intricacies of professional life gleaned from parents and relatives. This is a good thing because it shows the broad base which gives the Bar its unique talents for today. And, of course, this sort of book is needed as it explains all those little things which happen which appear a bit odd to ‘outsiders’ but are part of the traditions of the legal profession (and they work otherwise we would have got rid of them!). The book has 14 fact-filled chapters, and a most useful ’further information’ section at the back to go with the glossary, index and ‘timetables for routes to the Bar’. Probably the two biggest issues to be faced are well covered by Kramer: all aspects of money from paying fees to earnings; and ‘can you do the job?’ With the regular suggestions of change to the way barristers are trained, I would expect more emphasis on continuous professional development and reflective practice at the Bar in future editions to meet current policy directives from our regulators. READ THE ONLINE UPDATES Since the book appeared, the Legal Services Act 2007 was given Royal Assent on 30th October 2007, and we are still assessing the main implications for reform so read the updates online. Clearly more changes will follow and I hope that readers will not be put off by some of the statistics produced by Kramer on ‘success rates’ for pupillage, quoting 2004 levels with 1,251 passes for the BVC, and only 556 pupillages available. Since then, notwithstanding diversity policy which has failed, the situation has declined markedly and it would seem that big changes will have to take place to ensure that we have a sufficient supply of new barristers ‘in stock’ to balance wastage. The message comes clearly through that it is in the interests of no-one to see the Bar wound up and merged into some form of trial lawyer section of a big firm of City solicitors. WHY BARRISTER? So, do not be put off when you read this book! Kramer writes “it will then be for the reader, who knows his or her character and circumstances, to decide whether to seek to become a barrister”. Yes, he has succeeded in giving an understanding of the process by which a person wants to become a barrister at a time of numerous (yet incomplete) changes to the system. No book can ever give you the reality of what it is like to do pupillage as some many are so different. My pupillage was before the rules changed, and it was in a common law set with a general and varied practice whereas much training today will be in highly specialized areas of great value to the paying client. I was also lucky to have had a small drama scholarship and, with the two professions have much in common concerning fame, fortune and the daily grind of ‘jobbing’ work, it was of help because pupillage selection committees often look for the ‘rounded person’ who does not necessarily come from a straight legal background. The rewards are there and, for me, work at the Bar is giving fair representation to the under-privileged (that is, most of us) who have absolutely no idea about what those ‘guys in wigs’ do. You do now, with Adam Kramer’s great pocket guide on being bewigged but no longer bewildered. "
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