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Tips for Movers and Returners

Middle Temple’s Talent Retention Working Group is working towards putting on some events to support returners & movers, which will cover the key areas set out below. In the interim, we have put together a list of resources and tips for you, which is by no means definitive and we hope will act as a springboard for your own researches. We will update this periodically, to add more content.  Please do check the website for updates.

Securing Tenancy / Jobhunting

  • Take advantage of opportunities to develop your job/ tenancy-hunting skills, whether through formal training, mentoring, or less formal assistance.
  • Areas for reflection and potential development include CV writing, interview techniques (possibly including mock interviews), psychometric testing (see practice tests at, and returner mini-pupillages, if available.
  • There is a technique to completing competency-based application forms and interviews, and able candidates can sell themselves short if they fail to focus their applications and interview responses on the relevant criteria.
  • Working in short- to medium-term roles in solicitors’ firms may be a good steppingstone back into independent practice at the Bar or a rewarding long-term change in direction.
  • Advertised job vacancies and tenancies:
  • Opportunities at the employed Bar:
    • Government Legal Service
    • CPS
    • Bank of England Legal Department
    • Pensions Regulator
    • CMA
    • Other regulators, such as: the FCA, PRA, the General Medical Counsel, the Nursing and Midwifery Regulator.
    • Guardian Jobs: Most charities / third sector organisations post their legal jobs here; many jobs advertised for solicitors can in fact be done by barristers, but bear in mind possible supervision requirements if under three years call. 
    • Totally Legal posts hundreds of jobs for a wide range of sectors where you can set specific job searches for suitable job opportunities.
    • LinkedIn also posts hundreds of jobs for a wide range of sectors where you can set specific job searches for suitable job opportunities and get updates/messages on new jobs.
    • Note that the recruitment process for government jobs, regulators, the Bank of England, etc, can involve very particular and involved processes where people are assessed based on “success profiles”. As with competency-based recruitment processes more generally, it is important to learn the language and familiarise yourself with the process to ensure you demonstrate that you meet the specified criteria. Once you learn the method, this can be easier than a normal interview. Remember that, where appropriate, you can use non-legal experiences to demonstrate your skills and success profiles. As such, this approach can open up opportunity to those who may have been out of practice or are coming from different disciplines.
  • Recruitment consultants or coaches may be of assistance. Some suggestions below, with no endorsement intended:


Practice Development

  • Work closely with your clerks to formulate a strategy for developing or repositioning your practice. Take advantages of opportunities for practice review in Chambers whenever they arise. Fully participate in chambers marketing events (social events with solicitors, seminars, etc). Depending on your stage of practice, actively seeking out devilling work or junior briefs may be an effective way of (re-)building knowledge and confidence and growing your network of clients.
  • For those at the employed Bar, join & follow BACFI.
  • Ensure you comply with your CPD obligations. Give careful thought to how your CPD plan will support the growth or realignment of your practice in line with your goals. More information on the Bar Standards Board website.
  • Market yourself online and offline. For online marketing to be effective you need to build and maintain a presence with regular updates and useful content. It is not sufficient just to be online. Consider training on the best use of social media as a marketing tool:
    • Linkedin
    • Twitter
    • Podcasts, Webinars and, when it becomes possible again, seminars and lectures
    • Articles on online platforms
    • Articles for specialist and generalist legal journals
  • Develop your marketing skills. The Bar Council runs a number of courses on Practice Management and Practice Development. More information on the Bar Council website.   
  • Consider whether to apply for a practicing certificate extension to accept direct access instructions and/or to be able to conduct litigation (again, see Bar Council Training and Workshops page for courses. More information on the Bar Council website.
  • Consider obtaining accreditation in mediation or arbitration. The Bar Council provides mediation training.
  • Engage with your Specialist Bar Association (see Middle Temple list here). If you are a member of a Circuit engage with your Circuit. Annual conferences, summer schools and similar flagship events are particularly useful for training and networking.
  • Take advantage of the support offered by Middle Temple including the Talent Retention Scheme, mentoring, networking opportunities, training and wellbeing support, and the Survive and Thrive programme.


Regaining your confidence as an advocat

  • Whilst it is important to get back on your feet as soon as you can, time away from practice can knock your confidence:
    • Observing court hearings can be an excellent way to immerse yourself in oral advocacy after time away.
    • There may be opportunities for junior briefs when you return.
    • At present, with numerous courts sitting remotely, it is possible to observe court hearings online. Go to the daily list for the court you wish to observe ( where you should find instructions on who to contact to gain remote access.
    • The Supreme Court maintains an archive of recordings of past appeals which can be seen under Watch the Supreme Court at  
    • Consider taking on pro bono work. More information on


Regulatory and administrative matters

  • Ensure you are familiar with the current version of the BSB Handbook, and keep abreast of any changes. Download a copy from the Bar Standards Board website.
  • Ensure you remain compliant with your regulatory duties: Practice Certificate, insurance, CPD, etc.
  • Ensure you are and remain compliant with your duties under the GDPR. The Bar Council provides training on the GDPR, as do numerous private companies, including Briefed, who work in partnership with the Bar Council.
  • Always remember that the Bar Council provides guidance on ethical issues.

Check the Bar Council guidance in their Family Career Breaks Advice Pack.

Keeping up to date with substantive and procedural law


Pastoral and wellbeing

  • The Bar Council provides a range of wellbeing resources. A good starting point is the Mental Health & Wellbeing at the Bar hub. The Bar Council also provides training on wellbeing issues.
  • Middle Temple has excellent wellbeing resources, including its well-known Survive and Thrive programme, including recordings of previous sessions and a confidential counselling service for student and junior members up to 7 years’ call.
  • The Circuits and the SBAs have a growing focus on wellbeing. See their websites for more details.