Members of Brick Court Chambers, Harry Matovu QC and Kelyn Bacon QC, were extensively quoted in The Lawyer last week. The article,"The commercial bar has a BAME problem", is here.
Their comments complement current and forthcoming Brick Court initiatives to ensure an effective approach to diversity at the Bar.
At each stage of our recruitment process the gender and ethnicity of all applicants are monitored to determine whether any particular group is disproportionately under-represented amongst those selected for mini-pupillage interview, mini-pupillage, final interview or an offer of pupillage. We are also actively considering what use we can make of contextualised assessment in our recruitment process following a recent seminar organised by Freshfields.
We continue to participate in and promote the “women at the commercial bar” initiative, run by a number of leading sets: events have already taken place in Oxford and Cambridge, with another scheduled in London in October.
We are also introducing a mentoring scheme open to all under-represented groups (and will provide financial assistance to ensure that it is open to all). We hope to be able to publicise it throughout all UK universities and we are liaising with One Essex Court (which has already led the initiative) and other chambers with a view to promoting a joint scheme. 30 members of Brick Court have expressed their willingness to participate in the scheme.
In addition, we have decided to reduce our assessed mini-pupillages to three days in chambers (with an assessed piece of work being completed out of chambers) and to introduce financial assistance for accommodation and travel for those who do not live and do not have friends or family in London. The hope is to ensure that no one is deterred from applying for a mini-pupillage by financial restraints or considerations.