Representing the Bar: How the Barristers' Profession Sells Itself to Prospective Members

Legal Studies 32.2 (2012): 202-225.

24 Pages Posted: 7 Dec 2015

Date Written: 2012

Abstract

The barristers' profession of England and Wales no longer relies on its special reputation to attract the next generation of practitioners. Today, the Bar deliberately sells itself to prospective members. This activity is designed to construct and communicate an appealing self-identity, and to tacitly sort out desirable recruits. It is a significant component of the Bar's enduring status ‘project’. Nonetheless, these processes take place within a complex wider environment, one which calls on the Bar to be competitive and distinct, as well as rational and inclusive. This paper is a unique, qualitative examination of the ways in which the barristers' profession markets itself within this context. It is the product of an investigation of the recruitment initiatives of one of the Inns of Court, targeted at law students. This paper identifies four main strands of the Bar's professional identity at this stage of entry: the Bar as traditional community; profession of excellence; inclusive profession; and a group facing certain challenges to its commanding position. The analysis shows how these multiple, sometimes conflicting, and often ambiguous themes are conveyed and handled. In the process, it reveals areas where the Bar is taking advantage of the current climate, and others where serious fault-lines in the Bar's identity have emerged. Finally, this analysis identifies the sorts of demands these images make of potential members if they want to be accepted into this old and sought-after profession.

Keywords: legal profession, barristers, identity, marketing, professions, change

Suggested Citation

Rogers, Justine, Representing the Bar: How the Barristers' Profession Sells Itself to Prospective Members (2012). Legal Studies 32.2 (2012): 202-225., Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=2700038

Justine Rogers (Contact Author)

UNSW Law ( email )

Kensington, New South Wales 2052
Australia

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