I earned £7k more as a barista, says criminal barrister
Garden Court North’s Rosalind Burgin makes depressing pay comparison as full-blown strike action looms
As criminal barristers prepare to go on an indefinite, uninterrupted strike next month, one has revealed how they earned more working as a barista.
Garden Court North Chambers’ Rosalind Burgin, 28, says she earned around £10,000 in her first year working as a junior. This, she claims, is some £7,000 less than she did grinding beans and frothing milk down her local café.
While accepting first year earnings tend to be on the low side, Manchester-based Burgin says criminal barristers “still need to be able to live”.
The lawyer’s comments come just days after criminal barristers across England and Wales voted overwhelmingly in favour of uninterrupted strike action in protest over government set fees for legal aid work. This is major escalation of the current programme of alternating weeks of strike action implemented in late June.
“I love working in criminal defence, and it’s heart-breaking that we have to do this, but there are no options left now,” Burgin told the Independent. “It’s not just about the pay, the work is really unsecure as well.”
Burgin, who was called to the bar in 2019, continued:
“At least working at a coffee shop you knew what you were getting and it was secure. I knew I would get paid for 10 hours work, whereas now I don’t know how much I’ll get for 10 hours.”
The government has offered a 15% uplift in fees from the end of September, which it says will see the typical criminal barrister earn around £7,000 more a year. But the Criminal Bar Association (CBA) says this is insufficient and is asking for a 25% rise in legal aid fees, following years of swingeing cuts.
Burgin isn’t the first barrister to draw comparisons in the pay department.
In 2019, Chris Henley QC, then chair of the CBA, suggested some criminal barristers may be financial better off if they turned their hand to flipping burgers in McDonald’s.
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Cry me a river. Instead of spending your time whining to the liberal media why not go out there and try to earn some more money. It’s what the older generation did. Nowadays everyone is a big kid crying for attention instead of getting on with it.
At this point I’m really not sure if “Alan” is just a professional troll, they seem to be commenting on every LC article with an insensitive comment that shows a total lack of empathy or understanding.
Oooh look at Alan, he’s”GeTtiNg oN wItH It” instead of asking to be paid fairly for a challenging and essential job.
I thought it might be the His Right Eminence the Lord Harlequin?
Maybe it isn’t…
A very sad comment that only says something about the commenter who took the time to write those empty and bitter words than anything else (and regardless of one’s views on the issue).
Pull-Ups Wearer of Counsel
“I’m a big kid now!”
Wow looks like the woke police is out in force, having forgotten to read the part of the manual which talks about free speech. I guess I’d better get my favourite pronouns and allergy preferences ready for my humanist prison sentence.
Troll Hunter Bunter
Oh the irony, Alan!
You have the freedom to post drivel.
Others have the freedom to disagree.
How is disagreeing with you an attack on your free speech? It isn’t.
Who’s the snowflake now?
I call you out as a troll and I claim my $5!
Free S Peach
Alan is a poo pants!
Oh Alan, my friend, why are you so glum?
Whilst you are here, lets have some fun.
If your defence is planned on a burger box,
Then cry me a river when you’re sent down from the dock.
Life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness,
Cannot be saved by a brief full of crappiness.
Working is court is a serious job.
You may not realise this, but don’t be nob.
Educate yourself on the time it takes,
To prepare, to present, for your clients sake.
And never forget that if you get in trouble,
It’ll be one of us that’ll be there on the double.
If that does happen, look me in the eye,
And ask me to abandon you to serve apple pie.
Good luck to you dear Alan, we wish you the best.
Your keyboard awaits, we won’t read the rest.
If you are a troll get some help because it’s not a healthy. If you’re not a troll get some help because you clearly have significant issues. Not here to comment on what you have to say, res ipsa loquitur, but it comes across as though you are a very angry person with limited reasoning and analysis faculties so would recommend you use your energy to address that rather than writing very silly things online.
I understand the sentiment of “if you don’t have enough money go an earn some more” and plenty of barristers do just that by diversifying their practice with housing or family law etc. People in other walks of life do the same by getting a job in a bar etc.
However, the point of the barrister strike isn’t just to get more money for existing barristers, it is to ensure it is an attractive option for graduates and pupils in the future. This will be obvious to some, but without criminal law being an attractive, or even viable, option, no one will become a criminal barrister and the criminal justice system will collapse. And unless you’re after some sort of Mad Max future, I’d suggest the CJS is something to protect.
Far too many people are forgetting that criminal barristers are an essential part of the justice system in England and Wales. Hearing stories about offensively underpaid and overworked barristers does nothing for recruitment, and the reason there is so much pressure is because there is a shortage. It’s a vicious circle. Pay barristers properly for the work they are doing and you won’t have this issue.
At least at Magic Circle and big US firms, you know that, whilst you are being overworked, you’re also being paid insanely well for it.
Bit difficult to ‘get on with it’ when you’re working all the hours god sends and can’t even afford to eat each mealtime.
I am alan.