Academy launched to help underrepresented wannabe barristers secure pupillage

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By William Holmes on

Training, workshops, internships and more, courtesy of charity Bridging the Bar

A social mobility charity has launched a new academy that aims to help 100 aspiring barristers from underrepresented groups break into the profession.

Bridging the Bar’s (BTB) new initiative will offer pupillage seekers access to advocacy training and pupillage-focused workshops as well as various internship opportunities with the Supreme Court, Court of Appeal, High Court and Government Legal Department. Participants will even have access to life coaching courtesy of ex-City lawyer turned performance guru Helen Gazzi.

BTB says this wide ranging support is designed to help underrepresented candidates obtain the “skills, tangible experience and mindset needed to secure pupillage and succeed at the bar”.

According to the latest stats published by the Bar Standards Board, 78% of barristers in England and Wales are white, whilst just 3% are Black and 7% are Asian. Just 4% are declared disabled and 3% are from the LGBTQA+ community.

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Since its launch over two years ago, BTB says it has “impacted” 4,709 candidates through workshops, seminars and work experience opportunities. The charity’s work experience tie-up with the Supreme Court has been particularly successful, with 85% of participants who applied for pupillage this year securing one at a leading set. One of those who took part in the scheme is St George’s, University of London graduate Olivia Bennett, who amassed a whopping nine pupillage offers following her stint in the UK’s top court.

Eleanor Tack, programmes coordinator at BTB, commented:

“The BTB Academy is not just about supporting 100 high quality BTB candidates on their journey to securing pupillage — it is also about giving our candidates the knowledge, mindset and tools to feel more confident, know their added value and champion diversity within the profession. These future barristers will pave the way for a more diverse and inclusive profession, and I cannot wait to see it.”

Applications for the academy close at midnight on 26 August.

If you are interested in finding out more about life as a barrister and meeting pupils and tenants from sets across the country, come along to our Virtual Pupillage Fair on Saturday 8 October 2022. Apply now.

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