Top Commercial Chambers Join Forces to Launch New Social Mobility Mentorship Program

Individual advice, application workshops and more, with applications now open

A group of 20 leading commercial chambers have joined forces to launch a new mentorship program with the aim of encouraging students from underrepresented groups to pursue a career as a lawyer.

To qualify for the program, applicants must have started college, but must not yet be studying law and must belong to a group considered underrepresented within the commercial bar.

The group behind the program, The Commercial Bar Association (COMBAR), gives examples of applicants with a predominantly public school education, first-generation applicants, applicants with disabilities, women, black applicants, and LGBTQ+ applicants. They emphasize that this list is not exhaustive.

Places in the program will be allocated based on the needs and potential of the student, with both having equal weight. Assessment criteria include intellectual capacity, ability to write/speak convincingly, and evidence of a desire to pursue a career at the bar. Educational and social background will also be considered, as well as extenuating circumstances.

Those who are successful in their application will be assigned an individual mentor who will be a member of one of the participating chamber sets. During the program, the mentor and mentee will hold a number of one-on-one mentoring meetings, with mentees also being invited to attend a workshop on ward applications and a social event with other mentees and chamber members participants.

Commenting on the new mentorship scheme, COMBAR Chairman and tenant of Essex Court Chambers, David Joseph QC, said legal cheek:

“Promoting diversity within the commercial bar is one of COMBAR’s fundamental goals. It is essential that the commercial bar recruits among the most talented future practitioners, especially those from traditionally underrepresented backgrounds. This mentorship program is an important additional step in promoting access and demonstrating that the commercial bar is open to everyone with the ability to succeed.

The 2021 legal cheek List of the most

legal cheek is also pleased to announce that it will act as the programme’s exclusive media partner, ensuring that it reaches as many potential applicants as possible.

To apply, students must complete this application form by 4 p.m. on Friday, September 16, 2022.

In addition to the mentorship program, COMBAR also offers up to ten COMBAR scholarships (funded internships for students from less affluent backgrounds) per year through Inner Temple and Middle Temple, and two scholarships per year for black or mixed students. BCL at Oxford University.

The participating chambers are: Blackstone Chambers; Brick Court Chambers; Devereux Rooms; Essex Court Chambers; Fountain Court Rooms; gatehouse rooms; Henderson Chambers; Keating Chambers; An Essex Court; 7 King’s Bench Walk; 11 King’s Bench Drive; Moncton Chambers; 4 New Square; 4 Pump Short; Cour Serle; South Square; 2 temple gardens; Twenty Essex; 3 Verulam buildings; and XXIV Old Buildings.

You can meet many chambers participating in the mentorship program at The Legal Cheek Pupillage Fairs virtual fairs on October 8 and December 1, 2022. Applications for the October fair are now open.

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