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What the new-age barrister must look like

Lawyers Weekly spoke with several finalists for the Barrister of the Year category for the upcoming 30 Under 30 Awards to better understand how such court advocates must operate amid the changes and challenges facing the Australian market.

user iconJess Feyder 24 April 2023 The Bar
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Considering the backdrop of professional change post-pandemic for court advocates, several barristers unpacked what allows the barrister of the future to thrive, and how leading barristers can stand out from the crowd.

Angelika Yianoulatos of the Victorian Bar said that the new-age barrister has to be adaptable, flexible and present.

“I say present because one of the many catalysts of the pandemic is that advocates are longing for not only the solicitor/client-barrister relationship but also the face-to-face interaction,” she explained.


“It is essential as barristers that we are capable of providing legal services both in-person and remotely.”

“As we know, technology is ever-changing, so the barrister of the future also needs to be able to quickly pivot to new technologies and integrate them into their work to ensure they are always offering a leading service to clients,” stated Ms Yianoulatos.

“As a young member of the bar, I’d like to think that I am ahead of the curve in terms of adapting the necessary technology which we are now faced with in the profession, and that is exactly what has been critical to my success thus far at the bar.”

Ms Yianoulatos continued: “Despite these changes, the core skills of advocacy, legal analysis, and strategic thinking will remain critical for success as a barrister.

“However, these skills will need to be applied in new ways as the legal profession evolves.”

“The barrister of the future will need to be adaptable, innovative, and client-focused to thrive in the post-pandemic and potentially recessionary environment,” she told Lawyers Weekly.

“In addition, from a business standpoint, barristers need to be flexible and creative in finding new business opportunities.”

“This may involve diversifying their practice areas, exploring alternative fee structures or the way they provide advice,” she explained.

“The new-age barrister must be mindful of the changing legal landscape and stay up-to-date with regulatory and technological developments.

“By adopting these strategies, future leading barristers can stand out in a crowded and rapidly changing legal landscape and position themselves for long-term success.”

Caitlin Angus of Edmund Barton Chambers commented: “I think that as a result of the pandemic, barristers have learned to become more flexible both inside and outside the courtroom.”

“I do not think that this need for flexibility is going to change any time soon.”

“In terms of in-court advocacy, we have had to grapple with virtual hearings. It became important for barristers to take control of this online courtroom and be proactive.

“This often involves thinking of the practicalities of the case, well in advance of the hearing,” she highlighted.

Ms Angus continued: “For example, preparing an online court book with a hyperlinked table of contents was something that assisted in this new era of virtual advocacy.

“There is also the use of electronic briefing and cloud sharing, which can expedite information and document sharing, although this is another topic in itself.”

“Outside of the courtroom, I think that there is a desire and an increase in tendency for barristers to work remotely, a luxury which was uncommon prior to the pandemic.

“Whilst members of the profession have gained a greater degree of flexibility, as a baby barrister, you are always told that the best way to learn and improve court craft is to be in chambers talking to other (more senior) barristers and sitting in the back of the courtroom observing others,” she explained.

“The future leading barristers are striving to become better advocates by doing such things amidst this post-pandemic change.”

Chauntelle Ingenito of Chalfont Chambers also spoke to Lawyers Weekly.

“Long are the days of meeting counsel in their chambers, having an hour-long conference, and away the solicitor and client goes to run the matter,” she said.

“In the post-pandemic world, barristers are more accessible than ever, particularly to regional solicitors and clients, and with the court embracing the technological advancements of online hearings, are able to appear for all types of clients, not just ones based in a city!”

“Barristers are now more accessible and flexible than ever, and I am finding that solicitors are embracing the team and collaborative style in briefing and working with counsel,” she stated.

“Counsel and solicitors bring their own unique and specialised views to the running of matters.”

“This can include, from the solicitor, the intimate knowledge of the client and the matter, and the ways that matter can be resolved which a client will favour.

“Counsel bring their knowledge of the courts, the bench, their opponents, and intricate legal and factual argument style to the table,” she added.

“Together, there is a perfect harmony in the legal team in ensuring great success for a client’s matter.”