Podcast: How barristers can make an impact on social mobility

Avatar photo

By Legal Cheek on

We gathered together Young Barristers’ Committee chair Hannah Kinch, Citizenship Foundation programme manager Paul Bower and Hardwicke barrister Charles Bagot — and grilled them about the Bar’s relationship with corporate social responsibility (CSR).

Pictured above, in order, from left to right, Legal Cheek editor Alex Aldridge, Kinch, Bower and Bagot.

Pictured above, in order, from left to right, Legal Cheek editor Alex Aldridge, Kinch, Bower and Bagot.

How do barristers find time to volunteer on projects like the Citizenship Foundation’s Lawyers in Schools programme and the Sutton Trust’s Pathways to Law? And how much of this sort of thing is it realistic for them to do?

Kinch, a criminal barrister at 23 Essex Street, explains how her focus has moved away from pro bono volunteering as a law student to greater involvement in CSR projects as her career has developed. “Sometimes it does feel that going to court is pro brono in itself on criminal legal aid rates,” she days, adding that she now channels her altruistic energies into the Citizenship Foundation’s Bar National Mock Trial competition and Bar Placement Week.

Personal injury specialist Bagot is involved in another leading CSR scheme, Pathways to Law, on which he works through his inn, Inner Temple. He explains that one of the factors which drives him to take time out of a busy practice is an enthusiasm to “dispel myths about needing connections to make a career at the Bar”. In doing this, he tries to make teenagers aware that being a barrister isn’t such a distant dream as they may think, emphasising the “transferable skills that they may have already that they can apply to becoming a barrister”.

Bower, who works with lawyers across the profession on a host of projects, is keenly aware of the value of such contributions. “A few hours of a barristers’ time can have a huge impact on kids with no legal connections,” he says. “It’s often a great surprise to them that this barrister who’ll be at the Old Bailey next week is talking to them and is interested in their lives.”

Listen to the full discussion in the podcast below — which was kindly hosted by the Bar Council.

This podcast is also available on iTunes.