OccupyTheInns cautions against a "knee-jerk" reaction to a study that found ethnic minority students are at a disadvantage in the pupillage application process.
As somebody who abhors discrimination in all its forms, I was extremely disappointed to read of the recent Bar Standards Board (BSB) study that suggests there is prejudice against students from black and minority ethnic (BME) backgrounds in the pupillage application process. By all accounts great strides have been made at the Bar to rid it of the scourge of discrimination. Clearly there is more work to be done.
Before I proceed, I must say that I have never witnessed prejudice on racial grounds at the Bar. Indeed, my experience is that chambers are sometimes more disposed to the charms of a strong applicant with an exotic surname than a good old John Smith. However, I am not BME myself, and I am aware that racism works in subtle ways.
Consequently, the question turns to what we must do to fight discrimination. Complicated questions require complex answers. It is my submission that in this case we must refrain from the knee-jerk reaction of simply rushing more BME candidates into pupillage. This could cause a considerable culture clash for which I do not believe chambers would be ready.