Inner Temple became a trailblazer on diversity issues at the bar when in March 2012 it launched the Pegasus Access Scheme.
More than 50 chambers from across the Inns are now offering mini-pupillages through the social mobility scheme to candidates from underrepresented backgrounds.
Playing a central role in Pegasus is chair of Inner Temple’s outreach committee James Dingemans QC (scroll down for video interview), who has worked with recruitment and outreach manager Anthony Dursi to launch the scheme.
“The scheme grew out of our attempts to identify steps that ought to be taken to increase the excellence of the intake and its diversity,” Dingemans says. “On the back of the recommendations of Lord Neuberger [in his 2007 report on entry to the bar] that more should be done to try and make mini-pupillages available to all, we have tried to employ best practice and his recommendations.”
While Dingemans has done much persuading to get chambers on board, he says the response from the whole bar has been excellent.
“Chambers are entitled to justifiably say they are working hard to deal with these issues and are making an important contribution … without the support of chambers [Pegasus] would be nothing,” he added.
And Dingemans has continued to shine in his day job. He has been busy in court with visits to the Supreme Court in the “Atomic Veterans” case, to the Privy Council in the case of Simon v Helmont concerning the highest reported lump sum award for catastrophic injuries, and a visit to the ECHR in the religious discrimination case of British Airways worker Nadia Eweida.