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City of London

From Courts to the City, UK Barristers Mind The £150,000 Gap

The country’s beleaguered criminal defense lawyers are increasingly looking to leave their underpaid vocation for something more lucrative

Criminal lawyers protest outside the Old Bailey law courts in central London, in June.

Criminal lawyers protest outside the Old Bailey law courts in central London, in June.

Photographer: Jason Alden/Bloomberg

Britain’s criminal trial lawyers are overworked, underpaid and looking where else they can take their talents. 

Highly qualified barristers are leaving the profession in their droves. As many as a quarter of junior barristers have quit in the last five years, with numbers in the profession dropping by 38% a year. Struggling to earn minimum wage in a justice system that’s falling apart at the seams has forced them to diversify their practice or try something new entirely.