Top commercial chambers reveal mentoring initiative for aspiring barristers from underrepresented groups

updated on 11 August 2020

Six magic circle sets of chambers have collaborated to create a mentoring scheme for aspiring barristers from underrepresented groups, including women, people with ethnic minority backgrounds, people with disadvantaged socio-economic backgrounds, LGBTQ+ people and those with disabilities.

The Mentoring for Under-represented Groups scheme has been developed by Blackstone Chambers, Brick Court Chambers, Essex Court Chambers, Fountain Court Chambers, One Essex Court and 3 Verulam Buildings and will last seven months, running between November 2020 and June 2021. It aims to support and encourage aspiring barristers to pursue a career at the Bar and address its diversity problem.

Applications for the scheme are open until 2 October 2020, with places being offered to undergraduates and graduates who are underrepresented at the Bar of England and Wales, and who have not yet secured a pupillage offer.

The scheme will involve between three and five one-to-one meetings with an allocated mentor from one of the participating chambers and a workshop to support candidates with the pupillage application process, as well as social events (covid-19 dependent) with members from the six chambers.

Sarah Abram, a competition barrister from Brick Court who was part of the committee that set up the mentoring initiative, said: “The six barristers’ chambers involved in this scheme recognise that we all need to do more to improve diversity at the bar. Factors like your gender, social background and ethnicity shouldn’t make any difference to your chance of becoming a barrister. All six of the sets want to make it clear that a career as a barrister is open to everyone, regardless of who they are or where they come from.”

She added: “We hope that the mentoring scheme will help to make a career at the bar more accessible to people from a range of backgrounds, by putting applicants in touch with an individual mentor who is able to give information and advice, and offering a workshop to help with pupillage applications.”

More information on the scheme is available in these guidelines.