Page contents
Research and statistics on remote working
What have barristers told us?
What support has chambers provided?
Tips for barristers
Tips for chambers

Barristers tell us there are lots of benefits to remote working such as more time for preparation, less travel, and more flexibility, but it can have negative impacts. Our research has found this disproportionately affects pupils and the Young Bar (those under seven years’ practice).

The Bar Council is committed to supporting barristers throughout their careers through guidance and initiatives. Since the pandemic, the Bar has been considering the opportunities and challenges of remote hearings but the changes in working practices also saw a shift from working in chambers to working from home.

We asked barristers at the beginning of their careers to tell us about working remotely and the impact it was having on their career development and wellbeing. We also asked chambers to tell us what support they put in place for new practitioners.

The feedback, along with our research, has helped put together this page which explores the benefits and disadvantages of remote working, and the steps barristers and chambers can take to ensure practitioners' careers develop and wellbeing is supported.

Do you have feedback or want to share good practices that have assisted those at the beginning of their careers at the Bar? Email [email protected].

For more information and resources on starting at the Bar, read our essential guide, written by young barristers for young barristers.

Research and statistics on remote working

Our 2022 Life at the Young Bar report, conducted immediately after the Covid-19 pandemic and the consequent lockdowns, found pupils and newly qualified barristers’  working lives were disproportionately affected by the pandemic:

  • More than three quarters saw a negative impact on their relationships with work colleagues.
  • Almost two-thirds reported a negative impact on their overall wellbeing.
  • Around half said it had a negative impact on their work-life balance.
  • Those who were pupils during the pandemic believed that the opportunities for informal learning from colleagues to develop a supportive network and benefit from the social side of chambers had been reduced due to remote working.

Barristers Working Lives 2023, our biennial survey of the profession answered by 3,535 barristers, confirmed that most continue to work remotely for a significant proportion of their working week. It also found:

  • 44% of barristers wanted more remote working.
  • 43% of barristers wanted more flexible working for work-life balance reasons.

In terms of wellbeing, there have been improvements at the Bar, but younger, more junior barristers in particular reported lower levels of overall wellbeing, according to our Wellbeing at the Bar Report 2024.

What have barristers told us?

Barristers under seven years’ practice shared the benefits and disadvantages of remote working with us.


  • More time available for preparation.
  • Possible to take on more work and earn more in fees.
  • Less travel, meaning lower levels of fatigue and less cost.
  • More flexibility in terms of time (i.e. able to choose when to come into chambers).
  • Greater ability to fulfil caring responsibilities.
  • Better work-life balance.


  • Loneliness/isolation can lead to lower wellbeing and demotivation - in some cases a desire to leave the profession.
  • Less access and time spent with senior practitioners and clients impacts learning from senior members of the Bar.
  • Fewer opportunities to develop professional relationships.
  • Fewer opportunities for “face time” with colleagues and mentors.
  • Less time with colleagues can reduce “team spirit” and/or loyalty to chambers.
  • Fewer practice management meetings (unless clerks/barristers are proactive).
  • Reduced skills development opportunities due to fewer in-person court appearances.
  • Problems take more time to be resolved (leading to demotivation or dissociation).
  • Lack of support network e.g. when you have a bad day in court. 
  • Working from home can mean fewer breaks and longer hours, leading to burnout.
  • Potential for both in-person and virtual hearings back-to-back (associated issues include lack of preparation time and difficulty finding a room).

What support has chambers provided?

We spoke to several chambers who told us what they were doing to ensure barristers feel supported and able to develop while working remotely.

  • Buddy scheme: pairing juniors with seniors to increase their exposure and help them develop relationships with senior members of chambers.
  • Remote working facilities in chambers: Ensuring there are adequate remote conferencing facilities and high-quality communal spaces. Some chambers are moving away from the need for members to have their own rooms.
  • Encouraging juniors: helping them to become more involved in marketing events and exercises like writing articles to boost their visibility despite not being in chambers as often.

One chambers said: “We stress to juniors and pupils in our initial documentation that they should discuss any concerns around bullying, discrimination, or harassment with their mentor. We ensure they are always aware of the people that they can go to.

We have ‘anchor days’ where every staff member tries to be in, and we have social events in the afternoons and evenings for everyone; we’ve done ping pong, cricket, five-a-side, pizza, and afternoon tea. There is a regular chambers lunch for staff and members, and we organise continuing professional development (CPD) talks on holistic topics, like coping with stress or being led.”

Another said: “In terms of going forward, there can be two working styles: both remote and in-person. I do think juniors need to not be awed by seniors, so they can pick up the phone when they are not in chambers.”

A third chambers told us: “Now the majority of staff are allowed to work from home at least one day per week, but on a flexible and informal basis. Pupillage supervisors have to predominantly be in chambers. More generally, the practice management teams check in with members every week (either on Teams or in person). We have appointed three Mental Health and Wellbeing Officers, and now have a wide framework of resources to support people. Our Wellbeing and Culture Committee covers the whole gamut of mental health and wellbeing matters from the softer elements to the more complex considerations. This year has been a defining year in terms of people’s working habits. Some will come in every day; others for a certain number of days; and some with come in if there are reasons to. If it works for chambers, and it works for your staff and members then support it.”

Tips for barristers

  • Keep records of your working hours and set boundaries where possible.
  • Treat working from home as you would working in chambers. For example, incorporate breaks, walks, and lunch into your working-from-home schedule.
  • Keep up to date with chambers’ events and try to be a regular attendee.
  • Seek out professional development opportunities and reach out to other practitioners.
  • Network with colleagues remotely such as via group chats.
  • Make use of Specialist Bar Associations and Circuits and what they offer in terms of network building and professional development.
  • Get involved in networks and organisations such as Bar Council committees, FREEBAR, Neurodiversity in Law, and Black Barristers’ Network.
  • Work from chambers regularly to stay “plugged in” to chambers’ culture.
  • Build a good profile on LinkedIn which demonstrates skills and experience. Understanding your Social Selling Index can help you improve your LinkedIn profile.
  • Check out the Bar Council’s support available to barristers and keep up to date with the training and events available to develop and network.
  • Subscribe to the Bar Council newsletters to keep up to date with the profession:
    • BarTalk: This fortnightly newsletter brings you the latest news, opinions and much more from the Bar.
    • What’s On: This weekly newsletter covers upcoming online and in-person training courses and events.
    • Young Bar: Find out about support, guidance, events, and opportunities available to barristers under the first seven years of practice.
    • Employed Bar: Four editions are released throughout the year, sending updates on news, updates, events, and opportunities available to the employed Bar.
    • International newsletter: Stay up to date with news and business development opportunities from around the world.
  • Report bullying, discrimination, and harassment even when it happens online. You can speak to:
    • Head of Chambers.
    • Equality or Diversity Officers.
    • Talk to Spot: A secure online tool to support anyone working at and around the Bar to confidentially raise concerns about inappropriate and abusive behaviour.

Tips for chambers

  • Emphasise the importance of working from chambers with both senior and junior members. Encourage attendance around key events such as lunches or training or have set “anchor days”.
  • Create communal spaces in chambers to support networking and give colleagues a reason to come to a specific space. For example, offer breakfast, and have a coffee-making area.
  • Consider having an open-door policy when members are in chambers.
  • Offer more frequent practice reviews, particularly for barristers in the first few years of Call.
  • Organise and/or promote “buddy” and mentoring programmes.
  • Encourage senior members of chambers to engage with juniors and develop good relationships with them.
  • Improve monitoring of junior practitioners' workload and working hours.
  • Increase online training and events opportunities.
  • Train clerks and chambers’ managers in supporting remotely, especially pupils and newly qualified barristers.
  • Find out more about the Wellbeing at the Bar: Certificate Programme criteria and guidance and apply.
  • Find out more about our work to support barristers and chambers professionals with the effective management of chambers through the Chambers Management Panel.