Top chambers join forces to launch new diversity mentoring scheme

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By Thomas Connelly on

Targets bar hopefuls seeking to specialise in planning, property and public law

A group of leading planning and public law chambers have come together to help broaden access to the legal profession through mentorship.

The programme, launched in partnership with the Planning and Environmental Bar Association (PEBA), looks to encourage university students from underrepresented groups to consider becoming barristers.

Members from five sets — Cornerstone Barristers, Field Court, Francis Taylor Building, Kings Chambers and Landmark Chambers — will provide advice and guidance on the process of making it as a barrister, and specifically one specialising in planning, property and public law.

Suitable candidates will receive one-to-one meetings with a barrister mentor, a workshop on applications for pupillage (subject to Covid-19 restrictions) as well as the opportunity to attend social events with mentors and other mentees.

The group says it was inspired by a similar programme launched last summer by a group of top commercial sets.

The scheme will run between October this year and June 2022, with applications open until midday on 8 October 2021. It is open to all undergraduates and postgraduates that are underrepresented at the bar, and who are yet to secure pupillage.

Secure your place: The October 2021 UK Virtual Pupillage Fair

Groups which fall into the underrepresented category may include: women; people from minority ethnic backgrounds; people with disabilities; LGBT+ people; people who spent time in care; people from disadvantaged socio-economic backgrounds; people who attended state schools; and people who were in the first generation in their family to attend university. You an find a full breakdown of the application criteria here.

Commenting on the programme’s launch, Cornerstone barrister Robin Green said:

“The bar should be open to all who have the requisite ability. This belief pushed the group to create a programme that will not only drive equality, but also support those wishing to further a career at the bar.”

He continued: “We hope that the mentoring scheme will help talented individuals who might not think the bar is for them to understand what the bar has to offer and how to become a barrister, whilst assisting in the application process.”

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