Cost of setting up a practice

When coming to the Bar the reader is setting up a business. Obviously, business outgoings and personal living expenses must be paid. Usually, there will be little or no income in the first three to six months of practice. Even if a new barrister is lucky enough to obtain work and send out fee notices, the time lag between sending and receiving can mean that they will probably not be paid for some time. After three months, one might expect a small income, but it cannot be guaranteed. When planning to come to the Bar, one must assume that there will be no income for about six months.

Readers will need sufficient resources to be able to devote themselves to gaining experience and learning without requiring payment. A junior barrister needs to be able to afford to go to court with his or her tutor, undertake devilling (which is research work), and observing proceedings in court.

Cost of setting up a practice

The cost of setting up a practice varies, but may include the following:

Examination fees, 3 x $ 200.00
Professional indemnity insurance
Practising certificate
Bar Practice Course fee
Robes and wig
Basic financial and practice management software
Basic practice books and online subscriptions
Readers who float on a floor may also require a trolley
Total Cost

Monthly overheads (floor fees) vary considerably from chambers to chambers. Reading accommodation (including floor fees) can vary from $0 - $2,500 a month. Please apply to floor clerks for specific information.

Containing your overheads

You have no need to mortgage yourself to buy expensive chambers.  Wait to assess your library needs. Your floor will have a floor library and you will be invited to use the personal libraries of all members on your floor. There is also an excellent Bar Association library available in the sub-basement of Selborne Chambers. To use it you must be a member of the New South Wales Bar Association.

Become proficient enough to do your own word processing or share word processing services with other members of the floor or invest in a voice recognition programme.

Publishers discounts on subscriptions and texts

LexisNexis, Law Book Co and CCH may offer discounts to readers on selected subscriptions and texts.

For further information contact:

  • The Bookshop, LexisNexis 1800 648 825
  • CCH 1300 300 224
  • Thomson Legal & Regulatory Ltd (Lawbook Co) 1800 650 522