Criminal barrister reveals emotional toll of life at the bar in candid tweets

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By Thomas Connelly on

‘We are expected to brush away the trauma of one case and pick up the next’

Fans of legal dramas will be forgiven for thinking that life at the criminal bar is one of glamour, wealth and non-stop excitement. But the reality is quite different: as evidenced in a recent Twitter thread by Richard Bentwood, a criminal barrister at London’s 23 Essex Street Chambers.

Kicking things off, Bentwood explains that he has just come to the end of a “nasty kidnap trial” involving a “violent London gang”. His client was convicted along with his two co-defendants, Bentwood writes.

The experienced barrister continues to describe how his 18-year-old client “demonstrated a bravado and nonchalance” throughout the trial, treating his legal team with “little respect”.

Bentwood goes on to say how his client’s demeanour quickly changed following his conviction. “The gangster façade had dropped”, he explains.

Accepting that there is no reason why he should feel sorry him, yet he does, Brentwood reflects on the chances he had compared to those of his now sobbing client.

In a series of further tweets, Brentwood describes how life at the criminal bar is “tough” and “emotionally draining”, explaining how barristers are expected to “brush away the trauma of one case and pick up the next”.

Rounding off his emotional thread, Brentwood tells his followers that the pay is “demeaning”, the hours are “long” and that he receives little thanks for his hard work. “I feel drained, he feels far worse”, he concludes.

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