Barristers – Who, What, When, Where, Why? Let’s get to the bottom of this! But, I need your help…

Episode 1 – That coffee at Beanbah Espresso last week…

Last week, mid cappuccino, an astute and thoughtful solicitor divulged,

“ I know this might seem strange, and, I can’t believe I am mentioning this, but sometimes I don’t know to go about …addressing a barrister…as in, what do I call them…is there a standard approach?”.

I told her I was happy with Talitha. It being my name, after all. We had a laugh.

Then she continued with her reflection. She said in some of her previous dealings with barristers, certain barristers had insisted on “Surname only” basis (with or without post nominals as the case may be) or, the more distant moniker, “Counsel”.

She also said that she did not know whether to contact a barrister directly, or via a clerk of chambers in the first instance. And if directly, whether email, phone or mobile was suitable or some other way. She asked whether it was normal for barristers to insist on conferences in “chambers” or whether venturing to the solicitors’ office was a step too far.

I told her that from my perspective, all modes of contact are open and the place of conference is more a matter of convenience. However, receiving cryptic instructions via Facebook messenger in the guise of a brief to appear at a consent directions hearing in Bankstown Local Court was possibly at the lower end of my preferences (it has happened once when I was a Reader in 2012).

It got me thinking. There are some prevailing uncertainties in the market about working with barristers. Things like, how to address barristers, how to contact them, and how a “brief” should look (and how brief it should not be!) are merely the first of these uncertainties. And, unless the topic chances to surface over a cappuccino at Beanbah Espresso, many of these uncertainties will continue to go unanswered.

The Plan

So, I propose to write something to disabuse some of the myths and address the uncertainties that people may have about the ins and outs of working with barristers, at least from my experience.

But, I do not know what these uncertainties and questions are. You do!

What you can do

To this end, I invite questions you may have on the topic, either directly to my LinkedIn (wall or message) or via my email

Naturally, your name will remain anonymous in my forthcoming article (unless you expressly wish otherwise)!

And, no question is too trite!

Fountain forth…

Thanks, Talitha


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