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Bar Nursery North: Second crèche opens up for barristers’ babies in bid to boost gender diversity

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Leeds childcare scheme follows success of legal London venture

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The Bar Council is taking its barrister baby nursery up north, opening up a new crèche to lawyers’ offspring.

In a bold bid to help out its stressed out barristers, the Bar Council is now offering childcare services in Leeds. This will accompany the London-based Bar Nursery — which is just a stone’s throw away from the Old Bailey.

The Bar Nursery at Tiny Tree Day Nursery is located close to central Leeds and will be available to barristers at a discounted rate. Open from 7.30am to 6pm and providing childcare for kids aged six weeks to five years, the nursery hopes to ease the lives of lawyers, who are so often hit by stress and fatigue.

Speaking about the nursery’s launch, Chantal-Aimée Doerries QC — chairman of the bar — said:

The nature of a barrister’s career means that they work often unpredictable hours, are expected in court at short notice, or have to take a long break from their careers in order to be able to manage childcare. Most barristers are self-employed, which can make balancing childcare with your work challenging.

She continued:

Becoming a parent should not be a bar to a career as a barrister. The Bar Nursery is just one way the Bar Council is trying to make life easier for those practising barristers who are parents.

While the nursery will help all barristers with young children, the expectation is that it will be particularly useful for female practitioners — on whom childcare responsibilities typically fall.

Currently the senior ranks of the bar are dominated by men, with 42 out of the 50 chambers featured in Legal Cheek‘s Chambers Most List containing less than 25% women QCs. 26 out of 50 do not surpass a tenth female silks, and nine out of 50 chambers do not have a single one.

In the latest QC appointment round earlier this month 23% of new QCs were women.