Types Of Practice Areas

April 8, 2022

In pursuit of your career as a barrister, one of your considerations will inevitably be which area(s) of law you intend to practice in. Whilst you may wish to establish a broad practice, covering a variety of areas of law, others may wish to establish a successful practice in only one area.

Once the time comes for making Pupillage applications, you will have the option to apply for pupillage in areas (broadly speaking) covering common law, commercial law, crime, civil law and family law. If you are unsure of which areas to develop your practice in, or if you would like to experience variety, you may wish to opt for a common law pupillage.


This would include areas of practice such as employment disputes, personal injury claims, professional negligence, family and criminal law. Family law for example would include dealing with matters relating to marriage, divorce, as well as issues relating to children, adoption and surrogacy. If you enjoy this variety and wish to explore a range of areas, a common law pupillage might be a suitable option for you.


This would include areas ranging from education to property, to professional negligence. Some civil law aspects will typically also be covered in a common law pupillage. Also, civil law practice can include chancery work as well. Therefore, this may be split into traditional and commercial work. Tradition work includes trusts, probates and tax, and commercial law would include a wide range of finance and business disputes.


This would cover offences such as violent crimes, fraud and white-collar crimes. If you generally would like to work on your feet and would like being in court regularly, the criminal bar might be for you! You can read up on the latest happenings at the Criminal Bar.

How to choose?

Conveniently, we have provided more information on the different routes to the bar. A law degree or the GDL will provide you with foundational knowledge into some of these areas, and the Bar vocational training will cover civil and criminal litigation, providing you with a more practical element. The Bar course will also allow you to explore either common law or commercial law in more depth.

Start here

Work experience is a great place to start if you would like to explore each area of law to see which you would like to pursue. This may take the form of a mini-pupillage, or work experience at a Solicitor’s firm. These experiences can provide exposure into the areas of law you may have intended to work in, and those which you would like to explore further. You can find out more about the type of Work Experience which can provide this kind of exposure on the Align work experience Blog page, or read up on recent legal news and articles in different areas of the law.

We match students to relevant work experience, saving them time and effort, choose from one of our options here- https://alignthebar.co/our-plan/.



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