Covid-19 creating new challenges for social mobility at the Bar

updated on 13 October 2020

In September 2020, 10 new barristers from across England and Wales joined #IAmTheBar – the Bar Council’s award-winning social mobility campaign, which is now in its third year – as social mobility advocates.

Many of the advocates who joined the campaign come from deprived areas and faced challenges on their journey to the Bar, and all of them attended state schools and non-Oxbridge universities. Despite the advocates’ unconventional journeys to the Bar and the additional challenges that covid-19 has presented, their passion and commitment to the profession aims to inspire other aspiring barristers and improve awareness of the opportunities and challenges for those from underprivileged backgrounds contemplating a career at the Bar.

The Bar Council also recently launched its new Leadership Programme, which provides 36 barristers of between seven and 15 years’ practice with the chance to learn more about themselves as leaders, network with other leaders, and “gain the confidence, skills and insights to shape the current and future culture of the Bar, as well as reflect the public they serve”.

Chair of the Bar Council Amanda Pinto QC said: “Contrary to popular belief, members of the Bar come from all walks of life. In this way we better represent the society we serve which is crucial to keeping public confidence in our justice system. We want that inclusiveness to be a reality from top to bottom in the profession. Regrettably many barristers from different backgrounds have found themselves adversely affected by covid-19 and without any government support. The Bar Council is leading the charge and bringing together work across the profession to shape the Bar of the future.

“By sharing their own experiences, the impressive #IamTheBar social mobility advocates show what can be achieved, no matter what your background. The Leadership Programme provides a practical way for barristers who don’t currently see themselves reflected in leadership positions to change that in future. That is not just great for the individuals and the profession, but for the public too.” 

You can find the social mobility stories on the Bar Council’s Twitter.