Salaries for those undertaking pupillage (final stage of qualification for the Bar) must be no less than £12,000 per annum, set by the Bar Standards Board (BSB). However, some chambers offer substantially more than the minimum and salaries can be up to £65,000 depending on the area of practice.
Qualified barristers can be paid anything from £25,000 to £300,000.
Salaries for those with over ten years’ experience can rise to £1,000,000.
Salaries vary depending on a range of factors, including location, area of practice, experience, reputation and type of employer (self-employed or employed).
Earnings for barristers starting out are sometimes extremely low and there may be a considerable delay between doing the work and receiving remuneration.
Around 80% of barristers are self-employed (The Bar Council, 2012) and have to contribute towards the running/overheads of chambers from their income, as well as covering their own tax and pension arrangements.
While courts tend to sit at regular hours during the day, barristers frequently have to work long, unsocial hours involving evenings and weekends, particularly early on in their career.
Most opportunities are in London and other major cities and towns.
This is a demanding and intellectually challenging role, but there is a very supportive professional community.
Barristers are expected to conform to high standards of dress, ethics and professional conduct.
While it is relatively rare to travel or work overseas, travel within a working day is a common feature.
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