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How to spot a bad barrister

“I’ve never been quite sure what makes a good barrister,” said TheBusker. “But there’s one thing that’s never hard to spot – and that’s a bad one.”

“Shame that solicitors or their clients don’t often realise,” said BusyBody.

“That’s because solicitors rarely attend court and clients usually know no better,” said TheVamp.

“Yes, it’s often hard to put your finger on it but you certainly know it when you see it,” said HeadofChambers.

“Jumping up and down and interrupting,” said OldSmoothie.

“Misleading the judge as to what’s been said outside of court,” said UpTights.

“Trying to bring in evidence by the back door,” said Teflon.

“Or worse still, failing to understand the difference between making submissions and giving evidence,” said UpTights.

“Asking vague and open questions in cross-examination,” said TheCreep.

“Bullying in the robing room,” said OldRuin. “It always indicates a lack of confidence in my view.”

“Taking courtroom jibes personally is the clearest indication of a bad barrister,” said OldSmoothie.

“Lack of preparation,” said TheCreep.

“Although over preparation and fifty page skeleton arguments in small cases can be equally counter-productive,” said TheVamp.

“Getting angry with a judge isn’t great,” said BusyBody.

“Nor is snapping at your client or leading your own witnesses,” said OldSmoothie.

“For what it’s worth,” said OldRuin, “in my experience bad barristers are a rare breed who don’t usually last very long at the Bar. Even if they’re not found out by their solicitors, they’re given such a hard time by their opponent and the judge that eventually they just move onto something which makes them less unhappy.”

BabyBarista is a fictional account of a junior barrister written by Tim Kevan whose new novel is Law and Peace. For more information and to read past posts visit Cartoons by Alex Williams, author of 101 Ways to Leave the Law.

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