Careers at the Commercial Bar

What is a commercial barrister?

A barrister is a specialist lawyer who is referred complex legal disputes by a solicitor and, often, will be responsible for presenting the arguments in court. A commercial barrister is one who specialises in legal issues in the broad field of business and finance, often with an international element. Many commercial barristers are self-employed, although they share premises and expenses with other barristers in ‘sets of chambers’.

Why choose a career at the Commercial Bar?

A career at the Commercial Bar is varied and intellectually stimulating, as well as potentially well-paid. Barristers often deal with complex and novel legal problems. Commercial work is varied and challenging.

The key benefits of a career at the Commercial Bar include:

  • The opportunity to be a specialist advocate, dealing with complex problems across a variety of commercial situations, cross-examining witnesses and using your intellect, skill and powers of persuasion.
  • Independence and a sense of control over when and in what circumstances you work.  
  • Travel to centres of international finance and business such as Hong Kong, New York, Dubai, Singapore and offshore jurisdictions.
  • Pro-bono work on behalf of those in need of assistance but without the necessary funds.  
  • Financial rewards.

Click here to download Combar’s careers brochure to learn more about a career at the Commercial Bar.

Who should become a commercial barrister?

The Commercial Bar is a thoroughly modern profession which is open to anyone with the right skills, whatever their personal background or circumstances. There is no ‘typical’ commercial barrister, or typical background, and many barristers do not follow ‘traditional’ routes into the profession. The ‘traditional’ image of a barrister wearing a wig and a gown does not apply: barristers in the Commercial Court wear business attire, not suits and gowns.

If you are a student or graduate with:

  • a high level of intellectual ability;
  • articulate and persuasive written and spoken English skills;
  • an ability to think and communicate clearly under pressure;
  • determination, self-reliance and a strong work ethic;

then a career at the Commercial Bar should be high up your list of potential careers.

The Commercial Bar is also a diverse profession.  It welcomes individuality and seeks to recruit the very best people irrespective of age, disability, gender reassignment, marriage and civil partnership, pregnancy and maternity, race, religion or belief, sex and sexual orientation.  Combar positively encourages individuals from groups which are currently underrepresented in the profession to consider a career at the Commercial Bar. Click here to read some personal stories from some of Combar’s members about their journey to practising at the Commercial Bar and about the work they do.