You must hold a recognised law degree or the Society’s diploma in Legal Studies in order to be eligible to sit the entrance exams at the Law School of Kings Inns to qualify and be admitted with a degree as a Barrister-at-Law and thereby entitled to be called to the Bar of Ireland. The student must show that during their approved degree or diploma that he/she passed the following core subjects required by the society:
- Land Law (including Succession)
- Administration Law
- Company Law
- Law of the European Union
The subjects then that the student has to sit and pass by the Kings Inns include the following;
- Law of Contract
- Criminal Law
- Irish Constitutional Law
- Law of Tort
Having successfully completed the Entrance Exams the student then completes a one year full time training course or two years part-time modular course in the Law School. Once completed the Barrister then Devils for their first year with their own selected Master (who is an established Barrister) which is unpaid work. In this year they gain experience and significant contacts. Alot of Barristers also devil for a second year however usually this is more of a loose arrangement as they are busier with their own practices. Early years at the Bar can be stark because it takes a while for work to come in and money usually lags a couple of years behind that. Some people will get established faster than others. Patience is a key element in success. From about year 5 onwards, a Barrister should begin to see a reasonable living but this is only an estimate.
Barristers do not have access to the public directly. They can neither advertise nor canvass for business. The flow of work is, save for rare exceptions, entirely dependent upon solicitors retaining the Barrister on behalf of the client.
Many Barristers specialise in one area of practice – Criminal, Family, Personal Injury, Employment, Probate and Chancery.
The skills, which a Barrister develops, are highly transferable and many Barristers move into business, academics, arbitration and dispute resolution or In-house in Government departments.