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Wed, 28 October 2020

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Covid-19 is creating new challenges for social mobility at the Bar

Covid-19 is creating new challenges for social mobility at the Bar

Nancy Williams, one of the Bar Council's Social Mobility Advocates, with Chair, Amanda Pinto QC | Credit: Bar Council

Bar Council

3 min read Partner content

This week, the Bar Council launch a new group of #IAmTheBar advocates and a Leadership Programme, to bring together work across the profession to shape the Bar of the future.

This week, 10 new barristers from across England and Wales, known as Social Mobility Advocates, join the Bar Council’s award-winning social mobility campaign #IAmTheBar, now in its third year.

All the Advocates attended state schools and non-Oxbridge universities; many from deprived areas and facing numerous other challenges on their journey to the Bar.

The new Advocates demonstrate their passion and commitment to the profession despite an unconventional journey and the new challenges posed to their careers by Covid-19.

Their stories aim to inspire those thinking about a career at the Bar and raise visibility of the opportunities and challenges for those coming to the Bar from underprivileged backgrounds.

The latest round of social mobility advocates comes as the Bar Council launches its new Leadership Programme, a unique opportunity for 36 barristers, who have between seven and 15 years of practice, to learn more about themselves as leaders, network with a cohort of leaders, and gain the confidence, skills and insights to shape the current and future culture of the Bar, as well as reflect the public they serve. 

The Leadership Programme provides a practical way for barristers who don’t currently see themselves reflected in leadership positions to change that in future.

Amanda Pinto QC, Chair of the Bar Council, said: “Contrary to popular belief, members of the Bar come from all walks of life. In this way we better represent the society we serve which is crucial to keeping public confidence in our justice system.

"We want that inclusiveness to be a reality from top to bottom in the profession. Regrettably many barristers from different backgrounds have found themselves adversely affected by Covid-19 and without any government support. The Bar Council is leading the charge and bringing together work across the profession to shape the Bar of the future.

“I am delighted that today we launch our new group of #iamthebar advocates and our Bar Council Leadership Programme. By sharing their own experiences, the impressive #IamTheBar social mobility advocates show what can be achieved, no matter what your background.

"The Leadership Programme provides a practical way for barristers who don’t currently see themselves reflected in leadership positions to change that in future. That is not just great for the individuals and the profession, but for the public too.” 

The social mobility stories are being revealed on the Bar Council’s Twitter this week. The Leadership Programme provides an opportunity for barristers to consider the role they can play within practice areas, chambers, the Bar and wider legal profession, and society in general to create a positive and inclusive culture.

The new Advocates are:

  • Zayd Ahmed
  • Samreen Akhtar
  • Sara Anzani
  • Chloe Branton
  • Charlotte Davies
  • Richard Honey
  • Angharad Price
  • William Sneddon
  • Jacqueline Thomas QC
  • Nancy Williams
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