Bar puts diversity under the spotlight

Diversity at the bar was put under the spotlight at the weekend with two events taking place in London aimed at demystifying the industry and increasing access to the profession.

Diversity at the bar was put under the spotlight at the weekend with two events taking place in London aimed at demystifying the industry and increasing access to the profession.

This year’s seventh Biennial Minority Lawyers’ Conference, held on Saturday at the Law Society, was organised by The Bar Council in a bid to detail the profession’s efforts to widen access and diversity.

Chairman of the Bar Council Desmond Browne QC, who spoke at the event, said: “The conference comes at a time when the bar is doing more than ever before to ensure diversity in the profession. There are clear signs of progress, but the conference reminds us that there is still more which must be done.”

And to reinforce this message, a careers day for state-educated sixth form students interested in a career as a barrister was hosted simultaneously at BPP Law School’s Holborn branch.

The Bar Council together with the Social Mobility Foundation (SMF) and Aim Higher organised the careers day to give more than 70 students from 25 state-schools across London the opportunity to learn what becoming a barrister entails.

The youngsters got to take part in a series of discussions with young barristers as well as listen to presentations given by top legal minds including Helena Kennedy QC.

SMF head of project development Peter Boursnell, who organised the event at BPP, said: “There’s a great deal of mystery surrounding the bar for young students and coming to event like this gives them the opportunity to talk to young barristers from non-traditional backgrounds and see that becoming a barrister can be done.”