BPTC grads more likely to get pupillage if they’re white

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Ethnic minorities with same marks as white peers find it harder to get a place at chambers, figures show

Skin colour still makes a big difference to the career prospects of bar school graduates, the latest stats suggest.

White Bar Professional Training Course (BPTC) graduates are much more likely to get pupillage than those from an ethnic minority with the same grades, according to the Bar Standards Board (BSB).

For example, white BPTC grads with a first in their undergraduate degree and an ‘Outstanding’ grade in the BPTC had pupillage in 84% of cases. The figure for ethnic minorities who had pulled off the same feat was just 72%.

The same pattern holds across all grade levels covered in the report. Candidates with a 2.2 in their degree but managing a ‘Very Competent’ in the BPTC were three times more likely to get pupillage if they were white.

A lot of BPTC graduates are from Asia, and may not necessarily want pupillage in the UK, but these numbers allow for that by only looking at British and European graduates. The figures cover those graduating between 2013 and 2017.

The 2019 Legal Cheek BPTC Most List

In general, black and minority ethnic students were also more likely to fail or drop out of the BPTC than their white counterparts.

The dizzying array of data published yesterday also includes information on the pupillage rate by BPTC provider. BPP Manchester and City Law School came out on top, with over half of their barrister training graduates nabbing a spot at chambers over the last few years.

Overall though, as Legal Cheek has reported previously, well under half of BPTC graduates will ever get pupillage. Of the BPTC grads churned out between 2013 and 2016, only 45% had become a pupil barrister by March 2019.

The figures show that limited pupillage opportunities, whopping course fees and a high dropout rate are no deterrent to would-be barristers. BPTC application numbers have held steady and enrolment leapt by 14% in 2017, from 1,423 students to 1,619.

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A drink at the bar

The Bar will always come from Oxbridge and Russell Group Unis/top 30 i is to the end of time. Reality is it requires acumen and a 2:1 or 1st from said unis. The aim for inclusion and diversity purposes is to assist those from lower income/diverse backgrounds to achieve their fullest to get into said universities in the first place and then the support required to fund the BPTC. The reality is the 50 plus universities are not of the rigour for the job. There will be exceptions of course but by and large the bar will be an exclusive profession from an educational standpoint.


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