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Reverse mentoring scheme sees BAME bar students share ‘experiences of racism’ with senior white barristers

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BSB launches pilot

Bar students and pupil barristers from Black, Asian and Minority Ethnic (BAME) backgrounds will share their “experiences of racism” with senior white barristers as part of a new reverse mentoring scheme being piloted by the Bar Standards Board (BSB).

The regulator says that by pairing individuals who might not otherwise come together, it hopes to address barriers to race equality and foster a more inclusive culture at the bar.

The first pairing will be between University of Law bar student Elisha Lindsay and Essex Court Chambers barrister Paul Stanley QC.

Commenting on the scheme, Middlesex Uni law grad Lindsay said: “Initiating a programme that brings together the concept of diversity in a tangible and practical way is something I never thought would be achievable.”

She continued:

“Seeing how receptive members of the bar are to hearing and learning about anti-racist practices and achieving true diversity within the bar gives me hope for a more inclusive environment.”

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The programme, unveiled today, is the brainchild of the BSB’s Race Equality Taskforce, a group of BAME and white barristers which advises the regulator on the development of strategy, policy and activity to improve racial equality in the profession.

Stanley, a commercial law specialist, added:

“It is a privilege to be able to be involved in this ground-breaking initiative. Being mentored by Elisha gives me a golden opportunity to learn from her experience and insight, and to challenge my own preconceptions and prejudices. I know it will make me a better anti-racist ally, and help me to change myself and the profession for the better.”

Earlier this summer, pupil barrister Lola-Rose Avery went viral on Twitter after sharing her own experiences of racism as a child, through law school and in the legal profession.

The BSB’s latest diversity report, meanwhile, shows that only 14.7% of barristers are BAME, with black people more underrepresented than their mixed race and Asian peers.

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