Amrit Kaur Dhanoa (Chair), 4-5 Gray’s Inn Square
I became Chair of the Young Bar because I wanted to play a greater role in ensuring young barristers’ voices are heard on a range of issues, their concerns brought to the fore and that they feel confident that the YBC represents their needs and interests.
The early years of practice for a junior barrister can be fraught with opportunities but challenges too. It is essential that the YBC remains a vital voice for the Young Bar as they navigate those crucial early years and look forward to building successful practices.
Lachlan Stewart (Vice Chair), St Ives Chambers
Being a barrister is a rewarding but hugely demanding career – particularly for those at the Young Bar. I started practicing during the COVID-19 pandemic and I am acutely aware of the effect this period has had on the junior profession.
I will assist the YBC in engaging with the difficulties this has raised whilst also hopefully harnessing the benefits.
Ailsa McKeon, 6KBW
This is my third year on the YBC and my second as the Committee’s representative on the Bar Council’s Remuneration Committee. As a junior criminal practitioner, I have been confronted by a variety of challenges in the last few years, including court stoppages and increased remote working through the COVID-19 pandemic, and the recent CBA days of action. These experiences have strengthened my beliefs that the existence and vitality of the criminal Bar, in particular, is under threat, and that concerted action is needed to ensure that there is a future for a fair criminal justice system and for those who practice within it.
We criminal practitioners were fortunate to receive considerable support over the last few years from our colleagues across the Bar, and the YBC in particular was a major source of this support for those early in their careers, facing mounting uncertainty. I am proud to be part of the YBC, representing the interests of and advocating for junior barristers, with all the complexities that that entails. I am also excited by the outreach work that the YBC conducts with intending barristers, including through our recent engagement with the Kalisher Trust and Harris Federation schools.
The YBC is in a unique position to help shape the future of the Bar, and I look forward to continuing to play a role within that.
Anushka Kangesu, Three Dr Johnson’s Buildings
YBC has an important role in representing our peers at the Junior Bar and their interests, advocating for their needs, and highlighting the various challenges that young barristers face.
I am delighted to be part of the committee, and hope to make a meaningful contribution to the work of YBC and assist in making a positive difference to the working lives of junior barristers.
Cait McDonagh, Government Legal Department
This is my first year as a member of the Bar Council and I stood for election because I want to give something back to the profession.
I have already received a warm welcome and fantastic support early in my career and I would like to be part of ensuring that this is the case for everyone.
I am eager to promote the interests of the Young Bar – particularly where these intersect with matters of diversity – and to encourage the next generation to consider a career at the Bar.
George Bennett, Practice Manager, Twenty Essex
I joined the YBC through my membership of the Institute of Barristers’ Clerks. The YBC stuck out to me as I think it is important to give everyone at the Bar a voice.
Everyone should be allowed a forum to express their opinion especially if they feel it can aid the forward progression of the Bar.
I believe you notice and encounter very different challenges as a junior member and it is vital these challenges are addressed to ensure the retention of talent.
Joseph Hudson, Park Square Barristers
I practise primarily in criminal law on the North Eastern Circuit. I joined the YBC because I think it is important that committees of the Bar Council represent barristers from all over England and Wales, with a variety of specialisms. I have first-hand experience of the joys and difficulties experienced by young criminal barristers on Circuit. I will effectively represent the interests of the young bar and feed a vital perspective into the work of the YBC and in turn the Bar Council as a whole.
Sean Summerfield, 187 Chambers
I joined to YBC to address the many challenges facing young practitioners at the Bar, with a particular eye on those of us who derive much of our work from legally aided clients. Since joining the Bar, I have witnessed an exodus of talented juniors from diverse backgrounds, unable to continue in a job they otherwise love due to unreasonable demands placed on their time, poor working conditions, and – particularly for those in the legal aid sector – unacceptable rates of pay.
I am committed to always representing the interests of our most junior colleagues, and to ensuring the Young Bar is properly represented when policy decisions are made, and senior colleagues are held accountable for decisions that impact those less senior.
Shoshana Mitchell, Normanton Chambers
My primary motivation for standing in the Bar Council Election 2023 and joining the Young Barristers' Committee (YBC) was to ensure sufficient representation of Junior Juniors by promoting their interests and advocating for their needs. Having completed pupillage in January 2022, I understand first-hand the challenges of entering our profession at such a unique and unprecedented time, specifically post-Brexit and post-pandemic. As part of the YBC, I am looking forward to promoting the interests of the Young Bar, whilst striving for equality, diversity, and inclusion within our profession.