Barristers' flagship social mobility scheme heads North again

19 February 2019

This week, the Bar Council holds its fifth annual Bar Placement Week (North) in Leeds, Liverpool and Manchester.

 Chair of the Bar Council, Richard Atkins QC, said:

"The Bar Placement Scheme is a fantastic opportunity for talented students from non-traditional backgrounds to sample the unique nature of life as a barrister and hopefully to consider it as a career.

"I know first-hand the importance of social mobility. I came to the Bar with no connections, was the first in my family to go to university and am now lucky enough to chair the Bar Council. I hope my example will encourage others to join the profession, regardless of their background. Social mobility at the Bar is a long-standing, long-term commitment for us and for the chambers that take part in this initiative. Bar Placement Week North, together with Pathways to Law, Aim Higher, the Social Mobility Foundation, ARK, the BLD Foundation and Big Voice, plays a large part in ensuring we recruit talent from across the country, not just London - something I feel strongly about, given my Coventry and Birmingham origins.

"It is important that students considering becoming barristers see positive role models who have already overcome social mobility barriers and are successful in their chosen profession. The Bar Council's successful 'I am the Bar' campaign demonstrates how people from very different backgrounds have made a success of a career at the Bar. I hope that this message will encourage students from all walks of life to use the campaign's resources and actively pursue a career as a barrister."


Notes to editors

  1.  Further information is available from the Bar Council Press Office on 020 7222 2525 and

  2. The Bar Placement Scheme pairs talented sixth form students, from non-traditional backgrounds for the Bar, with practising barristers. Students spend three days shadowing their barrister in chambers across Leeds, Liverpool and Manchester, and in court. On the final day of the scheme, students attend talks by barristers and/or judges, and receive advocacy training from the Inns of Court College of Advocacy. Prizes are awarded for the best student advocates by a senior member of the Bar. To deliver the Bar Placement Scheme, the Bar Council works with Pathways to Law, Aim Higher, the Social Mobility Foundation, ARK, the BLD Foundation and Big Voice.

  3. I am the Bar is a social mobility campaign launched by the Bar Council in Summer 2018 to profile the experiences of those who have succeeded at the Bar from non-traditional backgrounds.  The campaign is designed to:

  • Raise the profile of social mobility and support fair access to the Bar, to encourage aspiring barristers from non-traditional backgrounds. 

  • Highlight efforts made to improve access to, and diversity within, the profession (a full list of social mobility schemes run by the barristers' profession can be found here)

  • Support efforts to improve insight into the profession by drawing together profession-wide social mobility efforts across chambers, Inns, other organisations and individual barristers.

4. The Bar Council represents barristers in England and Wales. It promotes: 

  • The Bar's high quality specialist advocacy and advisory services

  • Fair access to justice for all

  • The highest standards of ethics, equality and diversity across the profession, and

  • The development of business opportunities for barristers at home and abroad.

The General Council of the Bar is the Approved Regulator of the Bar of England and Wales. It discharges its regulatory functions through the independent Bar Standards Board