New legal charity aims to widen access to the Bar

updated on 08 October 2020

Bridging the Bar (BTB) – a charity “committed to the promotion of equal opportunities and diversity at the Bar of England and Wales” – was launched in August this year.

BTB aims to support students from all underrepresented groups, including those from a low socio-economic background, Black, Asian and Minority Ethnic background, students who have a disability or long-term health condition, those who identify as being part of the LGBTQ+ community, and other communities who are “statistically underrepresented at the Bar”.

With three main objectives – equal access to opportunity, mentorship and transparency – the charity’s mission is to “bridge” the gap “between today’s Bar and the diverse Bar our society needs”.

By signing up and creating a BTB profile, aspiring barristers can apply for a variety of schemes, which address each stage of the application process. The programmes available to BTB members include:

  • the mini-pupillage programme, which will fast track candidates into a mini-pupillage with one of BTB’s leading partner sets;
  • the mentorship network, which will provide candidates with access to a broad network of mentors from a cross section of the Bar;
  • the work experience opportunities, which are currently being developed by the charity;
  • the skills and education programmes in partnership with chambers, Inns, as well as other trusts and organisations, which aim to help candidates develop critical skills, such as advocacy and interview preparation; and
  • the wellbeing programmes, which will encourage aspiring barristers to take care of their mental health.

The charity has received founding sponsorship from several chambers, including Blackstone Chambers, Keating Chambers and 4 New Square.

You can find out more about the charity via its website, Instagram, LinkedIn and Twitter.