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The first of the Bar Councils entry to the bar working party proposals got up and running last month (May), when schoolchildren became solicitors, barristers and jury members for a day.
The unique pilot project launched when around 15 school pupils aged 13-14 from John Bentley School in Calne, Wiltshire donned barrister outfits to take part in a mock trial.
The one-day event, organised by the Bar Council and the law faculty of the University of the West of England (UWE), saw the year-nine youngsters examine and cross-examine witnesses and be part of a jury for a case of alleged grievous bodily harm.
The Bar Council appointed a senior judge to oversee proceedings and the trial took place in the UWEs mock courtroom.
UWE law student Matthew Brown, who is studying for the Bar Vocational Course (BVC), came up with the idea for the So you dont want to be a lawyer? scheme and contacted the Bar Council, which took on his idea and worked with UWE on the pilot programme.
Brown said that the idea came to him due to his own untypical background, inspiring him to help other young people consider law as a potentially rewarding career.
A career in law was not an option for me until later on in my life, said Brown. Once I studied law, I found the thought of using my legal knowledge to solve other peoples problems very satisfying. I have found a career where I can live to work, rather than work to live.
Brown added: The aim of the So you dont want to be a lawyer? programme is to inspire students who would not normally think of pursuing a career as a barrister or solicitor. If we can make this pilot programme a success and it is rolled out nationally then we hope this will create a more diverse legal profession in the future.
The Bar Council working partys main emphasis is for a more diverse legal profession, and in its recent interim report it proposed to take the legal profession into schools.