Advice for newly qualified barristers

I have a great deal of sympathy for newly qualified barristers.

It is a tough game and starting out when the struggle is to get instructions to gain some experience and a foothold in the profession requires a great deal of fortitude and commitment.

Most of them start out with a great commitment to, and love for, the law and the universal principles of human rights and justice, the rule of law, and so forth.

But many struggle because they are not able to operate as self-employed professionals.

Being successfully self-employed involves many attributes and demands and one of them is to think like a businessperson and having a sound ability to organise and manage both themselves and their resources.

There are many other skills required but having a business-like approach to your profession is probably one of the most important.

It is hard to have sympathy, however, when a solicitor goes out of her way to instruct and give business to a newly qualified barrister, and they do a slipshod job and overcharge.

Then, to add insult to injury, the solicitor pays them out of her own pocket when her client goes quiet and they do not even have the courtesy to send an acknowledgement email with a simple word of thanks.

This is the type of thing to ensure you do not get further instructions from a solicitor.

And will ultimately cause you to spend some time in the not-too-distant future wondering where it all went wrong and why is it so hard to make a living as a barrister?

Advice for barristers starting out: when you are instructed by a solicitor and he or she pays you promptly, thank them for the payment and instructions.

Because they might instruct you again.