Fountain Court is pleased to announce that the Mentoring Scheme for Under-Represented Groups, originally founded by six commercial sets of Chambers including Fountain Court, will be taken forward by COMBAR from 2022 onwards.
The scheme was founded in 2020. In the first two years of the scheme, approximately 350 prospective applicants were matched with mentors. Going forward, the involvement of COMBAR will open the scheme up to more participating sets, so that more mentees can access practical information about becoming a barrister and what being a barrister involves.
The scheme is an important part of the Commercial Bar’s commitment to improving access and diversity in the legal profession. It pairs successful eligible candidates with practitioners for a series of one-to-one mentoring sessions. COMBAR hopes to organise a pupillage interview and application workshop and a social event, to which all mentors and mentees will be invited, in early 2023.
In order to ensure that as diverse a pool of potential applicants as possible is reached, COMBAR will advertise the scheme through the careers departments of all English and Welsh universities with a law department, together with a number of universities in Scotland and Ireland, third sector organisations such as the Social Mobility Foundation and Sutton Trust, and commercial publications such as Legal Cheek.
Applicants will be assessed by reference to their need for mentoring and their potential to pursue a career at the Bar. A deliberate decision has been taken to give equal weighting to both of these criteria to help ensure that the scheme reaches talented applicants from the most under-represented communities who would benefit most from mentoring and guidance.
Those wishing to participate in the scheme are requested to complete the online application form. Application forms must be received by 4pm on Friday 16 September 2022. COMBAR hopes that applicants will be informed as to whether or not they have been accepted onto the scheme within October 2022.
Bankim Thanki QC, Head of Chambers at Fountain Court, comments that “We are pleased that COMBAR is now involved in the mentoring scheme as this will enable us, as one of the founding sets, to offer more mentees the opportunity to be mentored. We see this as a very positive step for the future of the commercial Bar and look forward to working with COMBAR and with the 2022/23 mentees.”