Six leading commercial sets have joined forces to launch a mentoring scheme aimed at people from groups which are underrepresented at the commercial Bar.
The chambers are Blackstone, Brick Court, Essex Court, Fountain Court, One Essex Court and Three Verulam Buildings, and the scheme is also supported by the Commercial Bar Association.
The scheme will run between November 2020 and June 2021. It is open to all undergraduates and graduates from groups that are underrepresented at the Bar – and in particular the commercial Bar – and who do not yet have a pupillage offer.
Those groups include women, people from minority ethnic backgrounds, people with disabilities, LGBT+ people, people who spent time in care, and people from disadvantaged socio-economic backgrounds.
Successful applicants to join the scheme will be allocated a mentor from one of the sets and receive between three and five one-on-one meetings, a workshop on applying for pupillage, and – subject to Covid-19 – one or more social events for mentors, mentees and members of the six chambers.
Sarah Abram. a barrister at Brick Court involved in creating the scheme, 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.
“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.”
Applications to participate in the scheme are now open, and will close at midday on 2 October.