Fountain Court Chambers is delighted to announce that it is working with five other sets of to create a mentoring scheme, which aims to support and encourage individuals from groups which are underrepresented at the Bar of England and Wales (and in particular the commercial bar) to pursue careers as barristers.  Those underrepresented groups include women; people from minority ethnic backgrounds; people with disabilities; LGBT+ people; people who spent time in care; and people from disadvantaged socio-economic backgrounds.

The scheme is called Mentoring for Underrepresented Groups: a scheme run by Commercial Barristers’ Chambers. The chambers participating for the academic year 2020-21 are (in alphabetical order):

  • Blackstone Chambers
  • Brick Court Chambers
  • Essex Court Chambers
  • Fountain Court Chambers
  • One Essex Court Chambers
  • Three Verulam Buildings

The scheme has the support of Combar.

The scheme will run between November 2020 and June 2021. It is open to all undergraduates and graduates from groups that are underrepresented at the Bar of England and Wales (and in particular the commercial bar) and who do not yet have a pupillage offer.

Successful applicants to join the scheme will be allocated a mentor, who will be a member of one of the participating sets of chambers. As part of the scheme, mentees will be offered:

  • Between three and five one-on-one meetings with their mentor.
  • A workshop on applications for pupillage.
  • Subject to developments in relation to the COVID-19 pandemic, one or more social events for mentors, mentees and members of the participating sets of chambers.

Bankim Thanki QC, Head of Fountain Court Chambers, said: “Encouraging a wider group of people to consider a career at the Bar can only be a positive development, not least in enhancing the Bar’s pool of talent, and we are delighted to be part of the initiative. We see this as a very positive step for the future of the commercial Bar.”

Rosalind Phelps QC, its Head of Pupillage, said: “Achieving equality and diversity at the Bar is so important. We hope this scheme will assist those from underrepresented groups – whether in terms of race, gender, sexuality, social background or other factors – to access experienced mentors who can help guide and advise them on their future careers, as well as giving practical advice around pupillage.”

Applications to participate in the scheme are now closed.

The application form can be found here (please note that you need to print this and complete it before scanning it back), with guidance for applicants available here.