The Employed Bar

London Skyline -EmpBar

What is the Employed Bar?

Approximately 20 per cent of barristers in England and Wales are employed barristers.  Increasingly, the opportunities to complete pupillage at the employed bar are opening up.  Employed barristers provide specialist legal services to their employer. They remain independent, but accept their instructions from and provide legal services solely to their employer.

Why choose the Employed Bar?

The employed bar offers an opportunity to train in specialist areas of law, as well as increased financial security and a broader range of employee benefits (including paid leave!) and protections. In 2018, generally speaking, employers are much more flexible than they have ever been and most should be supportive of your professional development to accommodate your plans with this. 

Sara George

A career as an in-house barrister

Where can you work as an Employed Barrister?

Their work will vary greatly depending on their employer. Employers of barristers include the Crown Prosecution Service, the Government Legal Department, the Armed Forces, local government, regulatory bodies (regulators such as the Nursing and Midwifery Council) and private companies (such as banks). 

Captain Stuart Wright RN

We are Royal Navy Officers first

Can I transition between the self-employed and employed bar?

It is possible to move between the self-employed and employed bar - an effective way of 'trying out' employed or self-employed practice is through secondments (short term placements with employers or chambers). Speak with colleagues and peers about their experiences of moving between areas. This is an effective option once you have qualified and if you are unsure of your next step with practice at the bar. 

For many who are nearing completion of pupillage and facing the decision over tenancy applications, a career at the employed bar is certainly an option.  

Can I complete pro bono work as an employed barrister?

Due to a recent change in policy, it is now possible for all employed barristers to undertake pro bono work. 

For more details on life at the employed bar, please visit