Networking- an initially daunting task for any aspiring young barrister, but an essential endeavour for a career at the Bar. However, as a young woman, a student from a financially struggling working-class family or a young black or Asian male, networking can be even more daunting when no one in the room looks like you.
The majority of sets and small charitable associations, as well as the outreach teams in the Inns, are taking huge steps to make the Bar more accessible through scholarships and mentoring programmes. This has had success; the Bar Standards Board's research in 2017 demonstrates an upward trend in diversity, the percentage of women and Black and Minority Ethnic barristers increasing by 0.5% since 2016.
However, though efforts have been made to make the Bar more accessible, more needs to be done to change the impression young people have of the Bar and the image that the Bar promotes. Women, Black and Minority Ethnic and those of a lower socio-economic background will only feel welcome at the Bar if they can identify with those already in the profession and can thus see themselves as practicing barristers.
The Bar is already home to a diverse range of barristers, but this needs to be more widely publicised. Students from secondary schools through to final year law students need to actuallyseeandmeetbarristers who look like them.
KCL Bar & Mooting Society
This is why the KCL Bar & Mooting Society is launching a series of events designed to change the image students have of the Bar. Not only is the society hosting diversity focused events, but the team is making a conscious effort in all panel discussions and practice area networking events to have a diverse range of practitioners involved. The KCL Society is hence calling upon barristers who identify as a minority at the Bar to reach out to your old university or school and offer to judge their moots and attend their events or become involved in the KCL Bar & Mooting Society initiative. By simply being visible to students you are changing the image they have of the Bar.
If we reshape the impression young people have, thenallstudents can see themselves as barristers, encouraging a more diverse range of students to pursue a career at the Bar and realigning the statistics to where they should be.
If you would like to sponsor this Diversity Series or become involved with the KCL Bar & Mooting Society's initiative to reshape the image of the Bar by attending our networking events or featuring on a panel discussion, then please email Eleanor at firstname.lastname@example.org
Some of our upcoming events include:
Diversity Series Launch (Monday 1st October 2018)
"Diversity at the Bar" Panel Discussion (Thursday 15th November 2018)
Bar Pro-Bono Fundraiser (Thursday 6th December 2018)
Networking with Black and Asian Barristers (Thursday 31st January 2019)
Networking with Women at the Bar (Thursday 7th February 2019)
We'd love to hear from you.
Vice President for Events | KCL Bar & Mooting Society
King's College London