Leading sets sign up to bar social mobility scheme

  • Print
  • Comments (7)

Readers' comments (7)

  • This is great and all but regionally very limiting. How are students, who are from backgrounds where they got free school meals, going to be able to afford a week's accomodation in London if they don't go to University or come from there?
    Simple, they can't and so this social mobility scheme will end up excluding a lot of people. A classic example of the London centric nature of the Inns of Court.

    Unsuitable or offensive? Report this comment

  • Anonymous | 12-Mar-2012 5:35 pm: "...and so this social mobility scheme will end up excluding a lot of people."

    You make a very good point, but I think a more positive way of looking at this initiative is that it is the first (small) step on the path to including a lot more people than previously, rather than seeing it as exclusionary in and of itself.

    The Inns of Court are always going to struggle not to be London-centric, not only because they are based in London but also because (as I understand it) the majority of barristers in private practice do so from London. I believe that the majority of the top-ranked sets are based in London (this is not a dig at non-London sets and I may have to stand corrected).

    Of course, the terms of this initiative do not absolve the Inns (or chambers) from the responsibility of eventually aiming to offer the same opportunities to both London and non-London based students but if the choice is between (say) offering 42+ mini-pupillages to people who can (or are lucky or resourceful enough to) find their own accommodation in London versus (say) offering 5 (or even 10) mini-pupillages + funded accommodation in London then I think the right choice has been made, at least in the first instance.

    I hope that the regional Bar gets in on this scheme, or something similar, although of course I appreciate that this would still not solve the problem of offering opportunities to those without London accommodation but who would like to practise here.

    Unsuitable or offensive? Report this comment

  • I agree with Anon at 7:18pm - the Inns of Court are based in London, so how can they be anything but London-centric? How can they offer placements in, say, Glasgow instead?
    I am slightly disappointed that going to a state school is one of the criteria though, this would automatically exclude students from underprivileged families who manage to win scholarships to non-state schools. These may be some of the most gifted and deserving students.

    Unsuitable or offensive? Report this comment

  • Litigateuse, I think you rather miss the point of social mobility. Students of underpriviliged families who manage to win scholarships to non-state schools very clearly are gifted and deserving, but they've already been lifted many rungs up the social ladder by dint of their scholarships. Why should they then get another advantage over all the other gifted and deserving children of underpriviliged families who haven't had that?

    Unsuitable or offensive? Report this comment

  • Mary - they have have not been lifted up the social ladder at all if they are then typecast and overlooked simply by virtue of where they went to school, when in fact on leaving that school they are still in need of assistance because they still don't have the financial means and advantages of their more affluent competitors. For example, how should such a person make themselves available to attend 2 week law firm summer placements when they need a full time job over the whole summer to help fund themselves through university?

    I don't think you can say people have truly been lifted up the ladder until the goal (qualifiying as a lawyer or whatever it may be) has been achieved. While I accept that a little progress may have been made if such a person achieves good A Levels, this is surely only the start of the process.

    As an aside, I also think it is important to try and change attitudes also need to be changed towards those who have worked before law school to save up, or who have carried out the study over a much longer period through distance learning while they work full time. Hardly any of these "mature students" seem to gain places at the top sets or law firms, although you do come across plenty of trainees who have never had a proper job before, but have had the opportuntity to pay a few thousand to do charity work in some exotic location or, to quote a widely reported recent example, to go on rugby tours in the Middle East. I am being a bit facetious and these are of course worthy CV-enhancing activities, but still completely out of reach of the type of students who are the focus of this article - once they have left whichever school they went to.

    Unsuitable or offensive? Report this comment

  • I'm slightly puzzled by the anonymous comments which include references to this all being about London. I can immediately see that 3 of the Chambers are not in London, including my own in Bristol. About 50% of the self-employed bar now practices from outside of London. Nonetheless there is a need to spread initiatives like this more widely.

    Unsuitable or offensive? Report this comment

  • Peter, 3 out of 42 chambers vs 50% of the self-employed does indicate a London-centric position.

    Unsuitable or offensive? Report this comment

Have your say

Mandatory Required Fields

Mandatory

Comments that are in breach or potential breach of our terms and conditions in particular clause 8, may not be published or, if published, may subsequently be taken down. In addition we may remove any comment where a complaint is made in respect of it. These actions are at our sole discretion.

  • Print
  • Comments (7)