Why is this group different? Who are they? What do they do? And, why are they?”
The above comes from a paper by John Flood entitled “The Fall and Rise of Barristers’ Clerks” (refs. below).
Some basic definitions for those outside the UK
- a barrister: advocate called to the Bar
- a silk: leading counsel, barristers appointed as Queen’s Counsel (QC), or King’s Counsel (KC) during the reign of a King
- taking silk: being appointed as a QC/KC
- chambers or set: office bringing together several junior and senior barristers, run by clerks.
Let’s start with some preliminary explanations. 😉
A clerk said: “My barristers think they employ me. They don’t: I employ them.”
One barrister said to another, “My clerk lives in Essex.” The other replied, “My clerk owns Essex.”
I have actually had this post on ice for many months, pending a promised interview that didn’t happen. But thanks to Jonathan Goldberg, a good friend of this blog (see his guest post here), I discovered that a very detailed feature on the profession has just been published by Bloomberg Business Week – it also includes some great photos. You can read the article here.
Flood, J. (2007). ‘The Fall and Rise of Barristers’ Clerks’, Counsel, 14-16. Available here.
Here is how Prospects, a UK careers organisation owned by the registered charity Higher Education Careers Services Unit (HECSU), describes the job.
The Institute of Barristers’ Clerks’ website.