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It is thought that more than 5,000 barristers work in the employed sector. Many more, however, are part of an invisible workforce. Because Bar Council rules outlaw multi-disciplinary partnerships, barristers who work in accountants’ firms are classified as non-practising. Many others who work in capacities such as company secretaries (or prime ministers) do not register with the Bar Council as employed barristers, and so their numbers are uncounted. The Bar Council itself takes in subscriptions (this is at least an indication of minimum numbers) from slightly under 3,000 barristers in employed practice. But the numbers are thought to exceed this by at least as many again. The proportion of those called to the Bar who end up pursuing an employed practice now represents one-third of all barristers in practice.

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