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Summary

Sarah Langford is a barrister. Her job is to stand in court representing the mad and the bad, the vulnerable, the heartbroken and the hopeful. She must become their voice: weave their story around the black and white of the law and tell it to the courtroom. These stories may not make headlines, but they will change the lives of ordinary people in extraordinary ways. They are stories which, but for a twist of luck, might have been yours. 

To work at the Bar is to enter a world shrouded by strange clothing, archaic rituals and inaccessible language. So how does it feel to be an instrument of such an unknowable system? And what does it mean to be at its mercy? Our legal system promises us justice, impartiality and fair judgment. Does it, or can it, deliver this? 

With remarkable candour, Sarah describes 11 cases which reveal what goes on in our criminal and family courts. She examines how she feels as she defends the person standing in the dock. She tells compelling stories - of domestic fallout, everyday burglary, sexual indiscretion and children caught up in the law - that are sometimes shocking and often heart-stopping. She shows us how our attitudes and actions can shape not only the outcome of a case but the legal system itself.

©2018 Sarah Langford (P)2018 Random House Audiobooks

Critic reviews

"I loved this book. It made my heart sing. Written by a woman in the law with compassion, wit and legal know-how, these true life courtroom stories tell it like it is." (Helena Kennedy QC) 

What members say

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One of the best audiobooks I’ve listened too in a while.

This book is a compelling insight into the life of a barrister. Every chapter features characters from all walks of life; in all kinds of situations at the mercy of the legal system with all its strengths and flaws. Beautifully written and expertly read.

3 of 3 people found this review helpful

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Stories about cases rather than the law

Some people might love this audiobook but I am more interested in learning about the inner workings of the legal system and what goes on behind closed doors etc. I found this book was okay but enjoyed The Secret Barrister more

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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Well written and highly entertaining

For once an interesting book with a pleasant narrator. I thoroughly enjoyed this book, so much so to write my first review.

Thank you to the author, what a fabulous woman.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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  • Chris
  • Asheridge
  • 01-09-18

Brilliant

This book is incredible, I only hope there are more form Sarah as I want to know more.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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Gripping and informative

Really enjoyed listening to this in the car - narrator has an easy, pleasant voice and the book is fascinating. I could listen to many more courtroom stories from Sarah Langford.

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Great book !

As a law student I highly appreciated the insight in the life of a barrister.
easy to listen and the reader has an amazing voice , great intonation and voice fluctuation that takes into the story.

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  • Nicky
  • Edinburgh
  • 24-10-18

More please!

Such an intelligent and compassionate memoir. Beautiful narration. I've been an audible subscriber for a number of years and have many 'favourites' but haven't been compelled to submit a review before. Well worth the time to enjoy.

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Couldn't Stop Listening!

I loved this book, truly insightful storytelling of this barristers experience with the law. Many poignant chapters with lessons to be learnt. I recommend!

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Not Only Good Stories of Law, But Good Stories

Being a reader of books of or about the law, I got what I expected & wanted from this collection of cases & trials, told as short stories. The law content was interesting, the cases and trials compelling, BUT there were two bonuses from this book.

Firstly the prose. Law, I know, for some people can be a bit dry and turgid. But the author's technique at turning each case/chapter into a short story, then stepping inside the scenario and then writing the legal events, was addictive.

The second surprise, was that with a decent knowledge of the law, there was little sensational outcome, or scandal that marked points in the story telling - that wasn't the style or intent. As I said, the legal elements were expertly explained, set out and easy to follow, but the bonus was Langford's human insight. Her language and ability to see behind the law of the case and understand how people reached the position they were in, what they likely faced as a result and what the aftermath of that would be. And also you were aware of her own life timeline, which fell short of having personal experience of many secnarios she faced and yet faced them with a marked humanity and clarity.

I found her understanding of her clients (and in one case her opponents clients) in two of the Family Law cases in particular, to be quite profound. The insight into why young struggling mums in appaling circumstances seem to regularly fall pregnant (no spoilers but the line Langford used was not much short of philosophical) and the all round empathy and despair she communicated in the divorce/custody hearings, was moving and provoking.

It is probably a better book if you have an interest in law, but it would be very enjoyable if you just like a good yarn, well written, with some distinct highlights that will likely cause you to challenge some long held assumptions.
Excellent read.

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Excellent in every way

As a law student I found this book both highly informative and thoroughly entertaining. The accounts of the various cases are well written and incredibly thought-provoking. I was gripped from start to finish and was deeply sad when the book ended.