Hey there! Sign in to join this conversationNew here? Join for free
    Offline

    17
    ReputationRep:
    Looking at some of the fees paid to counsel, I'm not sure I'd describe the bar as a low-cost option (though then again, I suppose my firm charges up to £680 an hour for partners).

    In this country barristers are advocacy specialists. Its just a different career route really. For example, on commercial matters, barristers will often start with smaller matters and work their way up. Trainees at law firms will do junior-level work on sometimes extremely large matters, but even litigators are unlikely to be able to pick up any advocacy experience, so becoming a litigator at a law firm and becoming a barrister are very different career progressions.

    People ITT also need to appreciate that there is a lot more to law than litigation. Possibly a majority of lawyers do non-contentious work. Corporate work (aiding companies, running takeovers), commercial work (doing contracts), much of employment work (e.g. making sure redunancies are done properly), finance (advising borrowers or lenders), Real Estate (conveyancing, doing leases) and Insolvency (advising administrators) etc. etc. are all the kind of work where you need lawyers, but you would only end up in court if something went badly wrong. Barristers obviously concentrate on the contentious side of things.
    Offline

    2
    ReputationRep:
    (Original post by jacketpotato)
    Looking at some of the fees paid to counsel, I'm not sure I'd describe the bar as a low-cost option (though then again, I suppose my firm charges up to £680 an hour for partners).

    In this country barristers are advocacy specialists. Its just a different career route really. For example, on commercial matters, barristers will often start with smaller matters and work their way up. Trainees at law firms will do junior-level work on sometimes extremely large matters, but even litigators are unlikely to be able to pick up any advocacy experience, so becoming a litigator at a law firm and becoming a barrister are very different career progressions.

    People ITT also need to appreciate that there is a lot more to law than litigation. Possibly a majority of lawyers do non-contentious work. Corporate work (aiding companies, running takeovers), commercial work (doing contracts), much of employment work (e.g. making sure redunancies are done properly), finance (advising borrowers or lenders), Real Estate (conveyancing, doing leases) and Insolvency (advising administrators) etc. etc. are all the kind of work where you need lawyers, but you would only end up in court if something went badly wrong. Barristers obviously concentrate on the contentious side of things.
    Do you have any sense of how often barristers are instructed to give advice on complex transactions/trusts/taxes that kind of thing? This side of the work appeals to me as much as the advocacy aspect. I was under the impression that barristers didn't only do contentious work, particularly in chancery/commercial practice.
    Offline

    0
    ReputationRep:
    (Original post by jjarvis)
    Do you have any sense of how often barristers are instructed to give advice on complex transactions/trusts/taxes that kind of thing? This side of the work appeals to me as much as the advocacy aspect. I was under the impression that barristers didn't only do contentious work, particularly in chancery/commercial practice.
    Jacketpotato is right about the litigation aspect. Even in chancery most barristers are instructed or become involved with a view to litigation, even if the case doesn't end up in court. It'd be fairly rare for a barrister to draft an agreement up from scratch, most solicitors in large firms do this sort of thing. Some may see a barrister's skills as being wasted in doing this sort of work although it may lead to less litigation.

    I don't think the Bar could be described as low cost although it can be seen as cost effective. In an ideal world you should get a fairly objective and realistic view of the chances of success of your case from a barrister and hopefully receive it in an efficient manner. You might get charged a lot per hour but it will exclude other layered charges that often come with work from large law firms - partners and senior associates looking into something and the £800 photocopying bill.

    EDIT: if you want to do purely non-contentious work and get into minute detail on contracts between commerical entities for example, I'd say go for the solicitor route. If you want to review an agreement and comment on how the court will likely interpret a specific clause in that agreement and argue your position in court (and maybe with your client!) the barrister route is probably more appropriate.
    Offline

    17
    ReputationRep:
    (Original post by jjarvis)
    Do you have any sense of how often barristers are instructed to give advice on complex transactions/trusts/taxes that kind of thing? This side of the work appeals to me as much as the advocacy aspect. I was under the impression that barristers didn't only do contentious work, particularly in chancery/commercial practice.
    In my (very very limited) experience, not often.

    We might get counsel's opinion if we are trying to do something very very novel (often as much to get a second opinion to cover our own back as anything else - if counsel says the answer is X, there is less chance of us being sued when we say the answer is X). This doesn't happen often though.

    The thing is large law firms have experts in tax and they have experts in trusts (e.g. my firm has a specialist Trusts group sitting within the Litigation division and it has an experienced tax group), so there isn't usually much need to go to the bar - its much easier to pick up the phone or drop an email to an expert sitting a few floors up. I don't think we'd normally get counsel involved unless court proceedings have been brought or are extremely likely to be brought. Someone with more experience may be able to give you a better answer.
    Offline

    2
    ReputationRep:
    (Original post by LibraryHomeCinema)

    EDIT: if you want to do purely non-contentious work and get into minute detail on contracts between commerical entities for example, I'd say go for the solicitor route. If you want to review an agreement and comment on how the court will likely interpret a specific clause in that agreement and argue your position in court (and maybe with your client!) the barrister route is probably more appropriate.
    (Original post by jacketpotato)
    In my (very very limited) experience, not often.

    We might get counsel's opinion if we are trying to do something very very novel (often as much to get a second opinion to cover our own back as anything else - if counsel says the answer is X, there is less chance of us being sued when we say the answer is X). This doesn't happen often though.

    The thing is large law firms have experts in tax and they have experts in trusts (e.g. my firm has a specialist Trusts group sitting within the Litigation division and it has an experienced tax group), so there isn't usually much need to go to the bar - its much easier to pick up the phone or drop an email to an expert sitting a few floors up. I don't think we'd normally get counsel involved unless court proceedings have been brought or are extremely likely to be brought. Someone with more experience may be able to give you a better answer.
    Thanks, guys. Good info to have. I should give some more serious thought to applying for VS's to see more of how things look on that side of the profession.
    Offline

    20
    ReputationRep:
    (Original post by jacketpotato)
    In my (very very limited) experience, not often.

    We might get counsel's opinion if we are trying to do something very very novel (often as much to get a second opinion to cover our own back as anything else - if counsel says the answer is X, there is less chance of us being sued when we say the answer is X). This doesn't happen often though.

    The thing is large law firms have experts in tax and they have experts in trusts (e.g. my firm has a specialist Trusts group sitting within the Litigation division and it has an experienced tax group), so there isn't usually much need to go to the bar - its much easier to pick up the phone or drop an email to an expert sitting a few floors up. I don't think we'd normally get counsel involved unless court proceedings have been brought or are extremely likely to be brought. Someone with more experience may be able to give you a better answer.
    Whilst I do not doubt that what you say is representative of your firm, most barristers at the tax bar and a fair number of those at the "traditional" chancery and patent bars are mostly doing advisory work.

    If one looks at the websites for sets such as Pump Court Tax Chambers (one of the leading specialist tax sets) http://www.pumptax.com/ the emphasis is on the advisory rather than the litigation practice.

    Likewise with a traditional chancery set such as 5 Stone Buildings

    http://www.5sblaw.com/default.aspx?page=home

    A set such as Falcon Chambers http://www.falcon-chambers.com/index.cfm which handles a lot of the major property disputes also does a surprising amount of advisory work. Amongst other things obtaining counsel's opinion is a way of vendors reassuring purchasers and lenders that an apparent title issue is not actually a problem. It breaks a logjam in negotiations.
    Offline

    14
    ReputationRep:
    Pay, status, self-achievement.
    Offline

    0
    ReputationRep:
    I would like to be a barrister because I would like to fight cases in court. I know solicitors have rights of audience but in many cases solicitors pass off the case to a barrister as it starts to get interesting. I would to win cases for people and get justice for them and I like that it is self employed.
    I also want to succeed at this profession becauses it is something I havent wanted for a long time.
    Oh and I want to become a QC
    Offline

    2
    ReputationRep:
    (Original post by nulli tertius)
    Whilst I do not doubt that what you say is representative of your firm, most barristers at the tax bar and a fair number of those at the "traditional" chancery and patent bars are mostly doing advisory work.

    If one looks at the websites for sets such as Pump Court Tax Chambers (one of the leading specialist tax sets) http://www.pumptax.com/ the emphasis is on the advisory rather than the litigation practice.

    Likewise with a traditional chancery set such as 5 Stone Buildings

    http://www.5sblaw.com/default.aspx?page=home

    A set such as Falcon Chambers http://www.falcon-chambers.com/index.cfm which handles a lot of the major property disputes also does a surprising amount of advisory work. Amongst other things obtaining counsel's opinion is a way of vendors reassuring purchasers and lenders that an apparent title issue is not actually a problem. It breaks a logjam in negotiations.
    Since traditional chancery is an area I'm interested in, and the advisory side appeals to me, it's good to know this. Thanks!
 
 
 
  • See more of what you like on The Student Room

    You can personalise what you see on TSR. Tell us a little about yourself to get started.

  • Poll
    What newspaper do you read/prefer?
    Useful resources
  • See more of what you like on The Student Room

    You can personalise what you see on TSR. Tell us a little about yourself to get started.

  • The Student Room, Get Revising and Marked by Teachers are trading names of The Student Room Group Ltd.

    Register Number: 04666380 (England and Wales), VAT No. 806 8067 22 Registered Office: International House, Queens Road, Brighton, BN1 3XE

    Quick reply
    Reputation gems: You get these gems as you gain rep from other members for making good contributions and giving helpful advice.