Outreach provides essential access to a profession which many still see as mysterious and elitists. It provides us with an opportunity to show those who are interested (and need little encouragement), who we really are. Outreach gives us the power to inspire and motivate. It can be the catalyst to silencing the voice that says, “you don’t know any Barristers, you are not the same as them, it will be too hard”.   

This year the Bar Council’s Pupillage Fair takes place on Saturday 16th October 2021 and there isn’t a better chance to inspire, motivate and guide students who are considering joining the profession. Like last year, the Pupillage Fair is being hosted online. I represented both the Northern Circuit and my Chambers last year, and I was so inspired by the students I met I have no hesitation in taking part again and encouraging as many Chambers as possible to take part in the event.

Students are able to connect with Barristers using text chat, video and audio. There is certainly a convenience that comes with the online platform. More importantly, it encourages the students to be bold, to connect with more practitioners and ask the questions they really wanted to ask. The platform hosts a virtual exhibition hall where sets host virtual exhibitors’ booths. The booths enable the students to click and access pre-recorded videos, brochures and presentations as well as your Chambers websites and social media.

Perhaps the most exciting thing about the virtual format is that it provides the opportunity for a more diverse Pupillage Fair. Nine per cent of those who attended last year’s pupillage fair identified as disabled, 66% as woman and 40% of those in attendance identified as Black, Asian and minority ethnic. The pupillage fair is also our opportunity to sow the seeds for a more diverse profession.

Of course, the virtual format also means that the event is less London dominated. Only 36% of the student attendees where studying on the South Eastern Circuit. It is therefore essential that the Chambers from the Wales, the North Eastern, Northern, Midlands and Western Circuits are represented. There is no better opportunity to highlight the benefits of practice outside London and attract the best talent.

The exhibitor price will be £670 plus VAT. The Bar Council remains committed to offering pro bono and discounted booths to AETOs who:

  • Receive grants from the Council of the Inns of Court Pupillage Matched Funding Scheme
  • Undertake a significant amount of publicly funded work
  • Are newly established as pupillage providers

Furthermore, in recognition of the issues that the Bar is currently facing, the Bar Council will also be offering pro bono and discounted booths those AETOs who witnessed their finances fall by over 60% during the pandemic, and who are yet to recover from the loss.

Those who fall into any of the categories outlined above are invited to email the Bar Council’s Training and Events Team at [email protected] and set out:

  • Why you would like to participate in this year’s event, particularly if you have not joined a previous Bar Council Pupillage Fair.
  • Your reasoning for requiring a pro bono or discounted booth.
  • The amount that you would reasonably be able to pay for a booth. 

Applications will be assessed on an ad-hoc basis and must be received before close of business on Friday 16 July 2021.

For more information on how to ensure your Chambers has a stall at this year’s Pupillage Fair please click here.

Lena Amartey is an employment practitioner at 9 St John Street Chambers, Manchester. Lena is the Northern Circuit EDSM Officer and represented the Northern Circuit at the Pupillage Fair in 2020.