An English Barrister Practice of law is typically overseen by either a government organization or independent regulating body such as a bar association, bar council, barrister society, or law society. To practice law, the regulating body must certify the practitioner. This usually entails a two or three-year program at a university faculty of law or a law school, which earns the student a Bachelor of Laws, a Bachelor of Civil Law or a Juris Doctor degree. This course of study is followed by an entrance examination (e.g. bar admission). Some countries require a further vocational qualification before a person is permitted to practise law. In the case of those wishing to become a barrister, this would lead to a Barrister-at-law degree, followed by a year’s apprenticeship (sometimes known as pupillage or devilling) under the oversight of an experienced barrister (or master). Advanced law degrees are also often pursued, though they are academic degrees and are not required for the practice of law. These include a Master of Laws, a
Master of Legal Studies, and a Doctor of Laws.
Once accredited, a lawyer will often work in a law firm, in a chambers, as a sole practitioner, for a government or as internal counsel at a private corporation. Another option is to become a legal researcher who provides on-demand legal research through a commercial service or on a freelance basis. Many people trained in law put their skills to use outside the legal field entirely. A significant component to the practice of law in the common law tradition involves legal research in order to determine the current state of the law. This usually entails exploring case-law reports, legal periodicals and legislation. Law practice also involves drafting documents such as court pleadings, persuasive briefs, contracts, or wills and trusts. Negotiation and dispute resolution skills are also important parts of legal practice, depending on the field.